"Jesus, King of love, may the reign of Your love be deeply rooted in the hearts of priests."
--prayer taught by Jesus, King of love to little Marcel Van, spiritual brother of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, on the Feast of Christ the King, 28 October 1945
From Conversations (with Jesus, Mary, and St. Therese) by Servant of God Marcel Van
translated from the Vietnamese into French by Fr. Anthony Boucher, CSsR, (Bearded Jesus)
translated from the French into English by Jack Keogan, BFF (Best Friend Forever)
28 October 1945
(Feast of Christ the King)
Marcel: Jesus, today on the feast of Your universal kingship, I ask that You reign in the hearts of all men. Does that please You? That's all I know how to say. I cannot find anything better.
Jesus: You will repeat this prayer throughout today: "Jesus, King of love, may the reign of Your love be deeply rooted in the hearts of priests."
The work I expect of my spouse is that she will go in search of souls. Even if this gives you a lot of pain in writing all the words that I am dictating to you and praying all your life in order to save a single soul and offering it to Me, I will welcome this soul with all My heart as I would do for a million other souls who would come back suddenly to Me. My little apostle, never allow yourself to be afraid by the effort that you must impose on yourself to write. Even if the words I am saying to you were useful only to a single soul, that would already be sufficient.
The behavior of My spouses in their relations with Me must also be the same in their relations with My Mother. Mary, being My Mother, and My spouses being but one with Me, it follows that My Mother is equally the Mother of My spouses. It seems, however, that many of My spouses show evidence of indifference towards My Mother. Little friend, listen carefully to what I am going to say to You: do not be distracted. It is thanks to Mary that My spouses can unite themselves to My love in an intimate and lasting fashion. My little friend, never forget it: you must love My Mother just as I love her Myself.
Marcel: Jesus, are You sad sometimes because of me?
Jesus: My child, if that ever happens it is only when I see you sad. When you are happy, how could I be sad? So, be happy always. A single one of your joys suffices to console me very much.
Marcel: Jesus, does it ever happen that I cause You pain?
Jesus: Why not? Nevertheless, your negligences are like grains of dust in My eyes which tarnish your soul a little, but which disappear completely as soon as they have passed through the fire of My love. That is why I said to you: "The soul which burns interiorly by the fire of My love is always white with purity in My eyes."
Marcel: Jesus, my sister Saint Therese gives You the name of banker.
[In St. Therese's Letter 142, 6 July 1893 to Celine: "Your Therese is not in the best of form at the moment but Jesus teaches her, 'to profit from all the good and the bad that she finds in herself.' He teaches her to play at the bank of love, or rather, no, He plays for her without telling her how. He does so because that is His business and not Therese's; what concerns her is to abandon herself, to give herself without holding anything back, not even the pleasure of knowing how much the bank yields to her."]
Marcel continues: So, do men confide to You many spiritual treasures every day? I love You a lot, dear Jesus, and my only wish is to confide huge spiritual treasures to You every day, while asking You to distribute them to souls. I admit that my spiritual goods have neither any importance nor any worth; but be happy, however, to accept them since that is all I possess. I know that, already, You understand me very well without my having to speak to You of it.
Jesus: Little child of My love, listen to Me. In truth the tabernacle in which I reside resembles a telegraph room where news from everywhere arrives continually. And I, like the chief telegrapher, I must stay there all the time, always listening. News comes to Me every day, some sad, some happy; and although the latter are often of no consequence, they are still able to please Me to such an extent as to make Me forget all the bad news.
Let us suppose that news from sinners comes to My ears from everywhere; some blaspheme My love, others address hard reproaches to Me and speak all the evil they can of Me. But if at the same time the words of My spouses come to Me from diverse places, these words make Me forget all the blasphemies, they even make me forget to punish the sin of the blasphemers. As if under the spell of a charm, I am unaware that they have offended Me, so that I give to them all the graces of which My hands are full. My child, do you know what these words are which charm Me so much? They are none other than parcels of sighs of love which are sent to Me by My spouses. This is fortunate for sinners since, if I had not received these words making My heart happy, I would have chastised them already.
* * *
I dare not turn the page of my well-loved (second copy) of Conversations lest I tire you or we forget (as I already half have) all that Jesus has said so far! O Love! How is it possible that You are full of so much Love? You are Love, Your beloved Apostle John has told us this - and yet, and yet . . . How is Love so full of Love? We have not known Love! We have not known You! We have no clue as to the infinite treasures and depths of Your compassion, Your tenderly solicitous attention to us, Your delight in our nothingness, Your salvific use of the least of our sighs - all of which are sighs of love, because what else is there in this silly valley of tears and occasional laughter?
Dear reader, if you have read this far you have read that "A single one of your joys suffices to console Me very much." Your joy consoles Jesus, that is, but I assure you it consoles me too! Think of the laughter of a baby, a child, a teenager, a twenty-something, a young married couple, and so on up to the laughter of an elderly person. I can think of the laughter of my 87 year old mom and my nearly 94 year old mother-in-law. Oh how their laughter makes me laugh too! My mom is a bit forgetful, and my mother-in-law, in contrast, has a memory to beat all - but neither of these matters of memory matter when we are laughing together. Joy, like love, conquers all and emerges triumphant in the bright sunshine or on a cloudy day, in the wee hours of the night or early hours of the morning, amidst stars and moonlight, or even in the seemingly darkest of places.
I read something recently that got me almost reconciled, almost understanding, almost happy about suffering. And then, thanks be to God, I forgot what I read. For the life of me I can't remember where or what I read that gave me this happy realization that the Cross is not our mortal enemy.
Don't get me wrong - if Jesus is on that cross, I accept it. But it would be a bit much to say, as I was about to, "If Jesus is on that cross, I am content." No, not exactly content. Wriggling and restless, longing for a hot chocolate with marshmallows or a more comfortable outfit or some warm socks on my cold feet, and on and on . . .
And I'm kind of relieved that I've forgotten why we can be, at least hypothetically, theoretically, and in the depths of our will if not at the top of our game, happy about suffering. Because if I lost my lament of "Woe is me - I HATE THE CROSS!" where would my charming relatability be?
There must be other blogs or online sites or books to read by Saints who champion the glory of the Cross. There are lots of big people who love Jesus very much. But I am here to represent the little ones, to speak as a little one to little ones, to speak for St. Therese, and because she got BIG in Heaven, to speak for her little spiritual brother, the Servant of God Marcel Van who is not even venerable - well, sorry Marcel, I mean there is venerable, and there is Venerable, and in both senses (aged and worthy of our piety or having had one's heroic virtues acknowledged by the Church and thus entitled to the name Venerable), you aren't there yet!
Thank You, Jesus, that our dear brother Marcel remains little even while he helps our sister Therese shower those innumerable roses that the angels keep handing them from the no doubt very beautiful and sparkly buckets of roses they have in Heaven. Because where would we little ones be without our fearful leader Marcel? (Okay, now he's fearless, but when he was in exile, he was often quite fearful and yet still hilarious because You, Jesus, were there to comfort him.)
Where would we be without Marcel since we find it so much trouble to believe Therese - and, holy smokes, may You forbid it - we often have trouble believing, or perhaps it's trouble remembering, even YOU, dear Love - telling us that littleness is The Key to Your Heart, the Key that opens the doors of the Kingdom, the Key to Heaven. I'm such a bad Protestant, always forgetting, or better yet never having known Chapter and Verse, but didn't You say quite authoritatively that "Unless one becomes like a little child, one cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven"? That question mark ruins the effect, but yes, You did! And then Therese repeated Your teaching by her life and doctrine, and she confirms this Little Way now by her Shower of Roses upon us . . . but it is Marcel Van, the littlest Redemptorist brother, the complaining, teasing, laughing and crying Marcel who lives out this littleness before our eyes when we read Your Conversations with him.
But let's stop yammering (that would be me), and get to the point:
Marcel: Jesus, are You sad sometimes because of Me?
Jesus: My child, if that ever happens it is only when I see you sad. When you are happy, how could I be sad? So, be happy always. A single one of your joys suffices to console Me very much.
I knew that. I had read those words a hundred times over a four year period, and still depression and anxiety and insomnia descended upon me and seemed to well up from within me, and they didn't finally leave for two whole years. Then thanks to the love of God and His angels (earthly and heavenly), and thanks to miracles and a big Miracle around the Feast of the Assumption this year, all that is past and I am joyful again. Full of renewed energy (please pray for those in my path - it is hard not to knock them down on my way to fulfill all of Therese's little tasks for me), full of laughter, and grateful for what turns out to be a freedom from fear that I want to say I've never experienced before, but I might more truly say I've rarely experienced before.
So. Why do I tell you all this?
Because if you find yourself wishing you could follow Jesus' advice and simply "Be happy always," thus making not only yourself and those around you happy, but making Jesus Himself happy (and this is our goal, after all) - and not even by any mortification, but simply by enjoying that ice cream cone or glass of wine (to each his own, I say!)(and there is absolutely NO accounting for taste, that's for sure) . . . but if amidst this desire to be happy for the sake of yourself and the universe, not to mention because Jesus just requested it of you (Oh glory be! - who could not love these Conversations between Jesus and Marcel?), as I say if amidst this desire to be happy you find yourself just as humdrum, ho hum, or even down in the dumps as any person might feel in this Valley of Tears (I hate to harp on the tears business, but in my experience it isn't called a Valley of Tears for nothin) - well, I get it. And I want to say this: Please don't feel guilty about it. If you could make yourself happy, you would! But you can't, only God can, so let me pray for you, and feel free to pray with me -
Jesus, we trust in You! Please accept every single one of our sighs (even if they start out sounding like sighs of annoyance or frustration or anger or every other type of sigh) as sighs of love that will charm You and make You forget all the blasphemies and forget to punish sins, and let our sighs submerge You in joy so that You will be unaware of offenses against You and give to the whole world all the graces of which Your hands are full!
And then, when You have had enough of pretending that our sighs of ennui and our sighs of upset are sighs of love, please miraculously turn our every breath into a sigh of love and then - THEN! - give us some of those kisses we've read about - You know, like, "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth" - and then may these kisses cheer us up so that we forget our sorrows and have plenty of joys to cheer You in return, to console You as You promised Marcel a single one of our joys would!
We are fast approaching Advent, which means we are fast approaching Christmas, and a new dear friend cracked me up by talking (two weeks ago or so) about the next six weeks and how she was dreading them. What? A million things to do? And then the added pressure that we are the cognoscenti and if we don't live Advent as a season of penance, who will?
Okay, I need to wrap this up so you can have your cupcake or wine, your snuggle under a warm blanket or your trip to the beach (depending where you are as you read this!) - and here is the scoop:
1. Happy Feast of Christ the King! To those in Virginia who taught me to love this feast so much (and I thank you with tears in my eyes) - and to those everywhere who would like to learn to love this feast, I can only sing: To Jesus Christ, our Sov'reign King, Who is the world's salvation, All praise and homage do we bring, And thanks and adoration!
2. May your Advent be a season of joy! It may also be a season of shopping (penance and joy), a season of preparation (for meals and parties as well as for the coming of Jesus to our hearts once again), and a season of sighs - you don't even need me to explain those in a parenthetical remark - and let's admit it is unlikely to be a season of silence, but I pray now asking the intercession of our Blessed Mother and our guardian angels, Padre Pio and his angel, Saints Raphael, Gabriel and Michael, and St. Juliana: Dear Jesus, grant us a holy hour, just one holy hour if not more, in this coming Advent, a holy hour where we might exchange hearts with You and find ourselves in the womb of Mary with You, waiting Your first breath of the air You created . . . Thank You, little King of Love, for coming down for us! Thank You for everything, and may this Advent above all be a season of JOY because You, little Jesus, King of all hearts, can't resist visiting us again right in the thick of things. Thank You, Love, for Advent hymns and Christmas carols, and if they are all mixed up over the next several weeks, let us sing them with equal amounts of nostalgia and anticipation, earnestness and childish delight like Yours.
3. Meanwhile, we were saying a novena, and I forgot all about it - thank goodness we said Little Flower in this hour show your power 9 times in a row!
4. Because now we have a new novena! By all that is joyful and good, here in the Santa Barbara region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, today we have a new Polish bishop, Sławomir Szkredka, being installed at a Mass at San Buenaventura Mission. A friend who loves novenas even more than I do (impossible, you say! But don't forget: with God all things are possible!) wrote: "I was thinking it would be beautiful if we could say a novena together for Bishop "Swavek" as he begins his ministry here, starting on his first day. He'll have a challenging task, and the possibility to do much good -- let's help our new shepherd out with our prayers! Bishop Swavek has a devotion to St. John Paul II and is being installed at the last mission founded by St. Junipero Serra. So we're praying specially to those two great saints for his ministry here."
Well, this dear praying friend then wrote: "Please share with anyone you think would like to join in praying for our new bishop!" And so, here is our prayer for those who would like to pray even for a moment with us for the newest bishop in the Church!
Dear Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, St. John Paul II, and St. Junipero Serra, we ask for Your special blessing on Bishop Sławomir.
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Your servant our Bishop Sławomir, and order his goings according to Your mercy in the paths of eternal salvation, that by the gift of Your grace he may ever seek such things as to please You and with all his strength to lead his flock along the path of salvation. Give him a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he at last share with them in the joy of seeing Your face forever in your Kingdom.
Mary, mother of the Church, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. John Paul II, pray for us.
St. Junipero Serra, pray for us.
St. Bonaventure, pray for us.
St. Barbara, pray for us.
Draw me, we will run!!!
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