The Youngest Doctor of the Church, or . . . . . . How Can I Fear a God Who is Nothing But Mercy and Love?
I've been trying to write this post for 3 days or, to tell the truth, more like a week - well, perhaps not this post exactly, but one post after another has danced through my scatter-brain, and wouldn't you know Jesus and I enjoyed those imaginary posts, but this here is the exact message He had in mind from all eternity for me to deliver to you at last.
Are you ready? It's wonderful news on this 21st anniversary of Therese's Doctorate, and on the 2nd anniversary of her sending me Marcel's Conversations as a special rose in my mailbox in answer to the prayer I'd typed out earlier that day. Except that's not quite right. I shouldn't say she sent "me" that rose of Conversations, but rather, this is the 2nd anniversary of the day she sent us that rose, because like a ridiculously enormous care package sent to a college student from Home, there's way too much in this book for one person alone, and more than enough bursting out of this best-ever care package of Conversations for everyone to enjoy.
Today, for instance, marveling again over this golden rose, I came across something brand new to me, something I hadn't noticed before, but which perfectly sums up Marcel's and Therese's message. I found a passage explaining the singleness of their mission, but first, what we might call the Doctoral thesis of Therese, and this thesis came to me via Jesus' words to Marcel (and to us, through him). It helps that I read it wrong before I read it right, because wouldn't you know, once again our dynamic duo has flipped our spiritual life over like a child doing a tumble? (I was going to say like a child doing a cartwheel, then I thought no, a somersault, then finally I realized really a tumble suits the very little child that represents our spiritual life, so very little that he or she is likely not big enough for those fancy gymnastic moves.)
Here's what I thought I saw at (101) in Conversations:
"My child, stay on your knees . . ."
That would be a message for penance and prayer, nothing surprising in the history of the Church.
Ah, but that's just our point at Miss Marcel's Musings: Therese and Marcel are nothing if not surprising, so if something is not surprising in Conversations, we're probably reading it wrong! And sure enough, I was, because when I looked again, here are the real words Jesus gave us through Marcel at (101) - words that the holy and compassionate Fr. Antonio Boucher, CSsR worked hard to translate perfectly into French so that the kind and merciful Jack Keogan could later translate them into ideal English for us . . . Thank Heaven for second glances and second chances! Kind of like the second chance at martyrdom that the Church gave the great and merciful St. Jean de Brebeuf, whose feast we celebrate today with St. Isaac Jogues and the other North American Martyrs, courageous Jesuits who came from France to my country to convert us. Thank You, Jesus, for letting your eldest daughter France give to us from her fruits! May she return to You and cling to You, and may all her priests love You with their whole hearts!
But now, speaking of hearts, here are the words of Jesus' Heart to ours, the right words this time, the words He actually said to us through Marcel:
"For you, my child, stay on my knees and I will grant to you immediately all you wish to ask for . . . "
You will be happy to know that the ellipses (those three little dots at the end) are from Marcel's own text. I'm not leaving anything out, but rather, I believe there was a pause in Jesus' words, a silent moment for Marcel to ask Jesus for anything so that Jesus could give it to him immediately! Shall we take advantage of this pause to ask for what we need too, and ask for those we love as well? First let's climb onto Jesus' lap.
Ah, that's better! How cozy it is here! . . . Just as He wants us to kiss His holy Face, not His holy feet, so Jesus wants us not on our knees, but on His! As our darling and very clever Doctor Therese said: How can I fear a God who is nothing but mercy and love? He is so good! Let's ask Him straight off to take away our fear and fill us with confidence! Our dear sister said many marvelous things to earn her the title Doctor of the Church, but if we had to choose only one of her sayings (and if we didn't choose the one I just put in bold), I think this would be a good one:
How I wish I could make you understand all that I feel. It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love!
Yes, let's ask Jesus for our sister's confidence. It often occurs to me that she herself has no more need of confidence - she is seeing Truth face to Face! She knows now all that she once believed, and much more. So here on Jesus' lap, let's ask for her confidence - it's like our care package again, so big and containing so much that we can easily share it with plenty left over for those who join us later.
But here we are on Jesus' knees and I'm not giving you a chance to ask Him for your own heart's desires. (And I hope you don't mind my little computer here with us - it's quite small, I promise, and my clickety clacking isn't very loud, truly.) Shall we rest for a moment and pour out our hearts to Him? . . .
* * *
There, I prayed for you even if you've been naughty and just jumped the flowers to get to this next paragraph! Don't worry, I'm not scolding. It's my own fault for having so much to say, but on this happy day I can't contain myself, not to mention the overflowing mirth caused by my recent dearth of blog-writing and the last week of near suppression by circumstances and Jesus - though what a suppression! I got to go to another gorgeous Catholic wedding and visit with the extended family of the bride (whom I love so much! The bride and her family!), as well as meeting the good family of the groom. Marcel introduced himself to some new friends and visited with old ones, and all in all, these were grace filled, love filled days, so I'm not complaining, but forgive me if I can't stay quiet for long.
I was thinking about how Jesus surprised us with His invitation to sit on His knees rather than kneeling on our own. It reminds me of the old expression, "Stand on your own two feet" - the very reason Therese was so attached to her insight that we should remain little - she had no desire to stand on her own two feet when she could stand on her Heavenly Father's. Have you ever seen a child (or maybe been a child) standing on her father's feet to dance with him?
But I'm wandering (or dancing) away from the passage I most want to share with you. It comes from Conversations (108) which Marcel wrote on November 13, 1945. How I wish I had time to quote you the whole book! I'll be content, however, if Jesus lets me give you the heart of what struck me this morning, from His words to Marcel, words which explain the mission of Marcel and Therese, a mission which brings roses, consolation, and best of all confidence to our hearts. Jesus says to Marcel:
"My dear child, continue to follow your sister the little flower with docility in all the directions that she takes. I will make use of the union of these two little flowers as a witness that will unite these two countries [France and Vietnam] in my love.
"My dear child! In my love I am giving you the name of the second little Therese. The function I will give to you in heaven, little Therese, will be to help your older sister to spread confidence in my love throughout the world. Little Therese of my love, you wanted to enter Carmel and you asked me to admit you there; but I have not yet given you my reply. I am giving it to you now. Listen, my child . . . To be another Therese does not at all consist in being transformed into a woman . . . Continue, therefore, to pluck roses in very great numbers so as to fill my heart with them and later, in heaven, you will, like Therese, have only one occupation: to make roses rain down on your country and on the entire world . . . My child, I am kissing you . . . My child, offer yourself as a victim to my love. . . "
So there you have it! Therese, the youngest Doctor of the Church, has a protege named Marcel, a second self as well as little brother, one who helps her (now that he is in heaven too) shower us with roses, and who has been commissioned to assist her in filling our hearts with confidence.
Which explains why Therese sent me Marcel as a rose two years ago today, and why once I'd had a month or two to immerse myself in their Conversations, I couldn't resist starting a blog to share these Conversations with you!
There's something else I want to share with you, a secret I call "Something New with St. Therese," a book I've written (the book I finished two years ago today, and which today today - as opposed to 21 or 2 years ago today - I sent out yet again to see if it could capture a heart that may want to help it move forward into being a real live book for the whole world to read). You know that expression, "Only God knows"? Well, absolutely! Only the good God knows when and where and how He will publish this book. I keep doing my part, happily, peacefully, gratefully, and He keeps having me wait and then send it out again. Might I ask you to say a prayer that He will have even more mercy than usual and fill the new recipient of this book with an overpowering spiritual joy and delight in Therese's latest surprise? And then we'll see what happens.
Meanwhile, we're in the last few days of our 54 day Divine Mercy Chaplet novena, set to end on St. John Paul II's feast this coming Monday, October 22nd. That happens to be the same day I'm hoping my manuscript will descend like a rose into the hands of its latest recipient, so I'm feeling more fervent than ever in throwing every intention and petition we have (even petitions that are relative new-comers and eleventh hour desires) into the mix of this awesome and powerful Divine Mercy prayer. St. Faustina told us (after Jesus told her) that the chaplet could obtain anything and everything. And who else than JPII (with the help of the Marians) brought her into the public eye and elevated her Diary, Jesus' Feast of Divine Mercy, the Chaplet, and the whole kit and caboodle of Divine Mercy up to the heights of Catholic devotion? We can't lose, so let's be done with fear, and please God we will be filled with oceans of Therese's confidence leading us to Love!
Would I say more if I could? You betcha! But is my time up? Indeed it is. And so with great gratitude that I have the opportunity to celebrate Therese and Marcel with you on this happy anniversary, I'll give you in closing our signature prayer - oh, and then feel free to remain on Jesus' knees and chat for as long as you have the chance! Remember, He said He'd grant us immediately all we wish to ask for. No worries, then, but simply:
Draw me, we will run!
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