St. Anthony’s finally

For years the small church off Highway 44 on the drive to and from Corpus Christi, TX fascinated me.

Then, at a dinner hosted by St. Joseph Church in Port Aransas, TX in 2009, we happened to sit at a table with some really nice folks from that little church.

“Y’all need to come visit one of these days soon,” they said.

Wish in progress

This past Sunday we took advantage of Steven’s not serving at St. Joseph’s and headed out to St. Anthony Church in Violet between Corpus Christi and Robstown.

Early in the week Steven had checked Parishes Online and found two Sunday morning Masses listed— eight and ten— so we’d agreed on the latter.

We arrived at nine-thirty-eight, and what did we see?  A parking lot full of cars and no one in sight!

“Looks like Mass is in progress,” Steven said.

“Oh, my, gosh!  Did we get the hour wrong?”

Since the day was very cold, we checked the schedule nearby before daring to get off the vehicle.  Only nine o’clock Mass was listed.  What to do, what to do.

“There’s St. Anthony’s in Robstown,” Steven offered.

“Or St. Michael the Archangel in Banquete, and we can surprise Fr. Tito.”

While Steven accessed Parishes Online on his phone, I took photos.

“My heart’s been set on this place for years, but I think God has another plan for us,” I consoled myself out loud.  “Wherever we end up is where we’re meant to be.”

“I hope the listings for St. Anthony’s in Robstown are correct,” Steven said.  “If not, we’ll have to come up with another plan.”

“It’ll all work out.  You’ll see.”

Looking for St. Anthony

Locating the church wasn’t as easy as we’d thought.  We had to stop for Steven to consult his phone again.  We were so concerned about Mass times that we didn’t even think about using Onstar for directions.

Then we saw the church.  The parking spaces were full all around, so we started feeling anxious again.  What if we were late again?  What if we’d missed the last Mass?

We agreed to wait however long we had to for the next Mass— there had to be noon Mass— so Steven parked the vehicle as close to church as possible.

As we made our way to the entrance, we noticed the man on the corner.  Is he waiting to pick up someone after Mass? we wondered.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Good morning!” I smiled.

Walking past my doubts resurfaced.  What if we’re late again?  What if the man thinks us silly for walking to church when Mass is about to end?  “I hope we’re not late again,” I said to Steven.

Entering St. Anthony of Padua, we saw a church full of parishioners through the glass doors in the vestibule.

“Oh, my gosh!  We’re late again!  How can this be?  What time did you say Mass was starting?” I asked with my heart in my hands.

I thought about my students and the magic of threes that added excitement to their written stories.  Is this to be a story to remember?  One to look back on and learn from, as in, next time call ahead to confirm Mass times?

Overwrought with conflicting emotions, I didn’t even think to look for a bulletin when we entered church.

Oh, the drama of it all!  Maybe we should’ve gone to St. Joseph’s instead?  Then my inner voice chided me.  No!  I don’t think so!  It’ll all work out somehow.

I was greatly concerned.  We don’t like to be late for Mass, much less miss Mass.

“We could head back to Flour Bluff,” I suggested.

“We wouldn’t make it in time for eleven o’clock Mass,” Steven replied.

We opened one of the glass doors, slinkered in, and stood in the back waiting for the usher to lead us to our seats.  Only he didn’t acknowledge us!

“May we walk in?” I asked quietly, almost pleading to be allowed in.  Clearly, Mass was in progress and we were very late!

The man smiled calmly, almost like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.  Or like the Mona Lisa.

What does he know that we don’t?  Why did he simply nod and gesture with his hand for us to proceed?  I felt so foolish!

The closer we slithered to the nearest pew with two seats along the center aisle, the more I panicked.  We sat and, with eyes fixed on the priest, I removed my coat.

Oh, my gosh!  How could this be?  The priest was cleaning the cup!  Again we’d arrived too late!  To make matters worse, the Mass was being taped, and the camera was on the church goers— with us prominently in view!

Horror of horrors!!!  We’ve really done it this time!  Wide-eyed and freaking out, I turned to Steven and calmly whispered, “The priest’s wrapping things up.  We’ve arrived late yet again.  Shall we go?”

For a cool cucumber, Steven looked distraught!

We’d wanted so much to be on time, so how could we have messed up so badly?  We quickly and quietly— no doubt sticking out like a sore thumb— got up and, as noiselessly as humanly possible, made our way into the vestibule.  But why was it much fuller than when we’d arrived?

Bulletins

I was beyond dismayed but not about to pass up a golden opportunity.  My third eye had too much to photograph!

Steven rolled his eyes but waited nonetheless by a small table near the exit where a woman stood holding papers— bulletins maybe— in her arms.

I took photos as usual and then, turning toward Steven, noticed a few bulletins on the corner of the small table.  Mass times!  I reached out for one, showed Steven the schedule, and then turned to the woman on my left.

“Is there a Mass after this one?”

“Yes,” she said softly.

Late but early

“So we haven’t missed Mass then?” I asked incredulously.

The woman smiled.  “No.  Nine o’clock Mass is running late, but ten-thirty Mass will start on time.”

“Oh, my, gosh!” I laughed.  “We were so worried we’d missed it!  You see, we drove in from out of town and had no idea what was going on.”  Not feeling shy at all, I told the woman about our brief time in Violet.  “I’m Deli,” I said, extending my hand to shake hers.  “This is Steven.”

“I’m Noemi.”

“We’re friends with Fr. Tito Ayo.”

Noemi’s eyes lit up.

She knows him! I thought, before continuing.

“After we met Fr. Tito last May, I searched online for Catholic churches in Robstown.  I thought he might be at St. Anthony’s, but he wasn’t.  He said that other SOLT priests were in residence here, but I’ve wanted to attend Mass at this church ever since.  Is it okay to take photos?”

St. Anthony’s finally

“Today’s ten-thirty Mass is special,” Noemi explained.  “The children’s Mass happens just once a month.  Twelve o’clock Mass follows right after.  Sunday mornings the first Mass starts at six; the last one, at twelve.  If you want to take pictures, there’s not much time in between so you’ll need to hurry.”

“I’m so glad I asked!  Thank you so much!”

That little confidence eased our waiting.  As parishioners exited and newcomers filled the church, we settled down to enjoying the inclusive ambiance.  I took photos before and after Mass until right before noon when we braced ourselves to endure the damp cold outdoors as I took the last of my photos.

We’d enjoyed ourselves among the wonderful parishioners despite our initial struggle to find Mass earlier, first in Violet, then in Robstown.  Still, we’d ended up where we’d needed to be— at St. Anthony’s, finally.

               

               

               

       

               

               

               

               

               

               

               

                

        

       

Links of interest…  Franciscan Mission Associates: prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / seasonal devotions…  Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  SOLT…  St. Anthony (Hwy 44): Discover MassGCatholic / Oktoberfestold church / Violet, TX…  St. Anthony of Padua (Robstown, TX): facebook / parishes online / school

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Familiar yet new…  Holy relics…  Pink divinity…  Prayer…  Quiet prayer time…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony
…  St. Anthony chaplets…  St. Michael chaplet…  Tony’s big day

St. Anthony chaplets

Days before the New Year 2012, I requested five St. Anthony relics from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates; so I was thrilled to tears when I received them January fourteenth.

Five relic chaplets

Mary Ellen and Steve were supposed to accompany us to Stella Maris for Mass on the twenty-first, so I beaded her relic chaplet first.  Two days later, Olivia was having surgery, so I had hers ready by then.  The ones for Junebug, Neli-Beli, and the Lovely Ning waited until January twenty-ninth.

Since Steven wasn’t scheduled to serve at our church, we attended Mass at St. Paul’s, met up with the gang afterwards, and celebrated over lunch.

I was able to present each chaplet personally, but I gave Neli’s to Ning, since we thought she hadn’t yet returned from visiting her family in the Philippines.  Then off we went to Alice and Roger’s house for the pilgrim rosary that afternoon.

“Little booklet”

Imagine my surprise at seeing Neli looking more radiant than ever as I entered Alice’s house!

Before I even had the chance to say anything about her chaplet, Neli-Beli with her Mona Lisa smile handed me a blue tote.

“There’s a little booklet in there for you,” she teased.

Reaching into the bag, I found the novena booklet from her recent trip.

Wow!  Perfectimundo!

Right away I knew that I’d be adding some of the prayers to this post.

St. Anthony chaplets

Unlike my Franciscan Crowns, which are all different from each other, these St. Anthony relic chaplets are not only very much alike, but also almost identical to the prototype.

               

               

Prayer card

Accompanying each relic chaplet was the card that Steven printed for me.  The prayers are from my “Si quaeris miracula” post; the photos, those taken of the statue Steven bought for me at the Oblate gift shop right before Christmas.

               

Prayers

Before study…  O light of the world, infinite God, father of eternity, giver of wisdom and knowledge, and ineffable dispenser of every spiritual grace, who knows all things before they are made, who makes the darkness and the light, stretch forth your hand and place your spirit, O Lord, in my heart that I may understand and retain what I learn and meditate on.  Do lovingly, mercifully, and gently inspire me with your grace.  Do teach, guide, and strengthen the thoughts of my mind and let your discipline instruct me to the end and the council of the most high help me, through your infinite wisdom and mercy.  Amen.

Grace of dying well…  Great St. Anthony of Padua, sweet hope of all who implore you, [please help me obtain] by your powerful intercession the greatest of all blessings, the grace of dying well.  Do not allow [that I should die in] mortal sin.  By your intercession obtain for me that, at the last moment, I may experience the most profound sorrow for the sins of my whole life; that I may be [filled] with love for Jesus; [and that I may have] confidence in the power of his blood which was shed for me.  May my hands’ last movements be to carry the crucifix to my lips; my last words, the names of Jesus and Mary.  In [your embrace may I] have the happiness to see God, to love him, and to possess him with you for all eternity….  Amen.

Grace of God…  O glorious St. Anthony, God has given you the power of miracles, a power you have exercised for centuries.  Since God has given you… the power of finding that which is lost, I come to you with the confidence of a child….  By your intercession obtain for me… the grace of God, if I have had the misfortune to lose it.  May I also find my former fervor in [both] the service of God and the practice of virtue.  As a pledge of these graces so important for my eternal salvation, may I also find what I have lost [so that I can] experience… your goodness and increase my confidence and my love for you.  Amen.

To the Infant Jesus…  O sweet Jesus, best and only hope of afflicted souls, I prostrate at your feet and beseech you, through the immeasurable love and grace with which you visited, comforted, and embraced your blessed servant, St. Anthony, come to me at his intercession and let me taste how sweet your presence is in the souls that trust in you.  Amen.

Zeal…  Glorious St. Anthony, who by your sanctity and your eloquence triumphed over the hardest heart, obtain for us the grace to follow faithfully the divine call….  Amen.

Contact information

To request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

Links of interest…  Franciscan Mission Associates: contact / devotions / prayer requests / quarterly newsletter…  Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials)…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  St. Anthony: bread / hymn / life / nine Tuesdays devotion / relic / S.A.G. (miraculous mail deliveries) / shrine / tongue’s feast

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Franciscan experience…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Tony’s big day…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies

Two letters

Every New Year’s Eve without fail, I remember what my maternal great-aunt, Tía Quina, told me when I was seventeen.

“Whatever you’re doing as the old year passes sets the tone for what awaits you in the new year, so be sure your house is clean and all else is in order.”

Setting priorities

Last year during the holidays, I decided that I wasn’t cleaning house and doing laundry as usual before the new year.  I’d experienced such great success with my letter writing experiment from New Year’s Eve 2010, that I wanted to focus on my correspondence instead.

In 2011, I’d wanted to touch base with Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates but missed the opportunity when he was succeeded by Father Primo in October.  Plus, I hadn’t requested two more St. Anthony relics from him as I’d intended.

       

Similarly, I’d wanted to share my thoughts on Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc, 1979) with Sister at the Flower of Carmel monastery in Australia, since she’d emailed twice early in the year; but I just hadn’t made the time.

With 2011 fast coming to an end, I couldn’t put off either communication any longer.  I got busy writing and finally mailed the two letters with time to spare.

Letter to Sister

27 December 2011

Dearest Sister,

It’s been a very long time since I last wrote and/or emailed; but it’s been a year of bearing my crosses quietly on my own, too.

When I last wrote to you, I was so worried that I was frustrated, tired, and disappointed.  I typed a very long letter and attached it to my email to you.  And then I felt badly, guilty, for having shared my woes….

I took a hard look at the situation which, believe it or not, grew progressively worse; [so] I chose to step away….  to simply let go… and begin my journey.

Long story short, I discovered Teresa of Avila; and, oh, what a difference she’s made in my life!

It’s funny how things happen, but I truly believe that God has his own very personal timeline for each of us.  And wouldn’t you know it?  I started shucking extraneous habits.  Not bad habits but things that kept me from focusing inwardly.

I don’t know how it happened, but I lost interest in emailing and in other things as well.  And I began to discover some pretty amazing stuff.

Every day since you and I have known each other I’ve thought of you, and I’ve been faithful about praying the chaplet you sent me in 2010.  It’s something that’s taken root in my life, [something] that’s as natural as my dialogues with the Infant since before Segy… and I visited Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague (July, 1998).

I think that the more I’ve recited the chaplet prayers the more I’ve learned how to bear my crosses, how to focus my attention on what’s really important, and how to deal with adversity in my life.

Certainly, I’ve had a lot of ta-dah moments: epiphanies that make me laugh or cry or both.  I’ve enjoyed writing about my experiences and [posting] them on my personal blog ‘cause I want others to learn about St. Teresa as well.

It’s amazing how I’ve been able to connect bits and pieces from my life leading to when I read Teresa of Avila and have found that I was readying for her messages [all along].  Her book is such a joyful treasure from God!  A pick-me-up when I need uplifting.  A friend when I need a smile and a sweet hello.

So, yes, bad things have continued to happen; but God’s allowed me to remain focused on what he wants for me to see, to think about, to do.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  As I said, I wrote five posts about St. Teresa’s book for my personal blog [and] found that her messages have been exactly what I’ve needed since I was a child.

St. Teresa has become my mentor, a very loving close friend who’s with me to share her teachings… beautiful, heartfelt… so that I don’t feel alone and/or lost.  She’s helped me understand what it means to tell the Infant that I accept all the crosses he wants to send my way.

Somehow I can make it.  Despite the pain and the sorrow, despite the disappointment and the frustration, despite the anger that I feel against injustices… still… I welcome the crosses.

Mind you, [when] I’m having a tough time… not doing well at all with my crosses… I simply tell the Infant,

Please forgive me.  I’m having a really tough time today.  I’m sorry.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I’ve found inspiration in a little book that’d been waiting on the shelf since April, 2008.

Untouched, forgotten, it called out to me one morning; and, when I began to read it, I couldn’t set it down!  I’ve reread it countless times.  It’s an awesome read!

[So, yes.]  Lots has happened since I last wrote….

Mom died November 29….  She [believed] in prayer, and she loved the Sisters she communicated with.  [She gave] me her oldest sister’s Infant [statue] in 1999 [after my aunt died].

Since I’d faithfully used the chaplet you’d initially sent me, I placed it in mom’s hand before the casket was sealed at the funeral home.  My thinking was that she knew I was devoted to the Infant, so she [can] now join me in prayer from heaven whenever I spend my special time with the Infant….

I’m now praying with the [second] chaplet you sent [even though it was meant for our daughter], and I’m thinking that you’re fine with it.

I also want to thank you again for the six candles you sent with [the second] chaplet.  I lit one… early this year….  [Then] I gave away three [to the couples in] our Why Catholic? group….  The two I have left… are keeping me company until I have a very special reason to use them… or until I gift them to someone.

So you see?  Your gifts have gone a very long way!  The very same way that your prayers have continuously embraced us all this time!

We love you!  Thank you!

Letter to Father Primo

29 December 2011

Dear Father Primo,

In the 1980s, Father Roderick sent me three relics.  Then in the 1990s, Father Robert sent me two.  However, I always manage to give them away to someone who’s in need of everyday miracles and friendship from our beloved St. Anthony.

At this time, I’m asking… please… that you send me five, as there are three couples in our Why Catholic? family and another couple, Olivia and George, in dire need.

I’d like to bead some chaplets for them and print out the prayers so that they, too, can know St. Anthony as I have since age thirteen.

If you could do this for me, I’d be ever so [happy], as I’ve included myself in the five.  You see, I feel… lost without my relic; but, as I said, I gave my last one away when I beaded two chaplets to give to Ruth and Sabrina… at [the] doctor’s office.

Please know that I understand if you can’t send me the number I’ve requested.  It’s fine.  But I do really need one for Olivia because she’s [undergoing surgery, January 23], and I’d like to make her day by giving her a promise of hope through St. Anthony’s intercession.  Plus, George worries a lot about his three adult kids….

Thanks ever so much for all you do.  Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers… the same way Father Roderick was, the same way Father Robert was.

God bless you and your Franciscan associates abundantly!

Prayers

God of all time, on this New Year’s Day we place the days and months of the new year into your hands and we pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Fill our days with the blessings of family, friendship, laughter, and love.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Show us ways to spend our time serving your children in need.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Help us appreciate the time we have to listen to your Word and to talk with you in prayer.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer” (R. L. Benziger, 2016).

In the year ahead, Lord of New Beginnings, stretch our souls and move us into new awareness of the human family, their needs and their longings.

Make these into our needs, our longings so [that] we move more confidently from our small selves to a deeper sense of community where our resolutions reflect our interdependence.

Help us recognize the possibilities you have offered to us as a people, so we can commit to practice the hope that happens when we gather gratefully n your name and we hold up to you this fragile, precious world.

Grant us all the grace in this year ahead to sow the seeds of justice and to gather peace in our day.  Amen (Capuchin Communications: Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, 2016).

August 3, 2012

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” (Phyllis Theroux).

December 31, 2016

The past is no longer yours; the future is not yet in your power.  You have only the present wherein to do good (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

Links of interest…  Child Jesus: chaplet (more) / history / little crown / petitions…  Flower of Carmel (Goonellabah): contact info / home / prayer…  Franciscan Mission Associates: prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / seasonal devotions…  Help from heaven…  Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua…  Journalism as an act of grace…  Letters of note…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  St. Anthony’s Guild: devotions / ecards / prayer requests / prayers

WP posts…   Budding relationships…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Franciscan experience…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  On being Christian…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Prayerful ways…  Santo Niño…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

Saint of miracles

Just recently, as I was looking through my stash of prayer booklets and such, I came across Prayers for today to St. Anthony of Padua (Franciscan Mission Associates, B5/09).

The leaflet includes not just eleven prayers, but also a heartfelt introduction that appeals to one’s sense of proactive engagement that gladdens this teacher’s heart.

The printed prayers are a guide only.  If you prefer, you may use your own words in addressing
St. Anthony, just as you speak freely to a friend.  Better still, you may pray to him, wherever possible, without any words at all, but from the heart alone (p. 2).

Prayers to St. Anthony

Before a journey…  Dear St. Anthony, today I greet you as the special guardian of those who must travel, or go on a trip.  I appreciate your continued interest in my welfare and your unfailing help.  I am sure you will keep aiding us.

You were constantly on the move from one country to another— Sicily, France, Spain— and in all the cities of Italy.  So you know the perils of being on the road.  You have seen the troubles along the way.

In the journeys my family and I make please guide and guard us.  Let us move with caution even while we rely on your assistance.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, told us, “I am the way.”  Pray to him for us to keep us always on the right path.  Amen.

V.  Pray for us, St. Anthony.
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Before Mass…  Dear St. Anthony, I greet you today with reverence in the knowledge of your special love of our Lord in the Eucharist.

Today I ask you to help me appreciate better the graces God gives us at holy Mass, and in receiving the sacred Eucharist.  I think of you especially when the liturgy speaks of “the saints who have done your will.”

With your aid I will be more reverent and worshipful during Mass, more careful in preparation for holy communion, more grateful in thanking god for the graces He gives us in the holy mysteries.

Let me be always well fed at the sacred banquet not only by the bread of life but by the word of God spoken for us and explained to us at Mass.  This favor, I ask of you, in Christ’s name.  Amen.

V.  Pray for us, St. Anthony.
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

For an understanding heart…  Dear St. Anthony, I salute you as my powerful patron before God.  You know how much we yearn for happiness, and how often and how stubbornly we seek it in the wrong places.

Please ask our Lord for us the grace he gave you so abundantly.  Thus, we may not vainly seek happiness in God’s creatures, but only in God himself, the source of all good.

Beg for us, powerful St. Anthony, the grace of an understanding heart.  Then, we will see the image of God in all those we meet and in every creature.  Let our hearts always be fixed on the true source of our joy, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

V.  Pray for us, St. Anthony. R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

For continued help…  Dear St. Anthony, greetings!  I count on you as a special friend.  Now that I have personal experience of your help, I can thank you best by imitating you for, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

May I select one virtue of your, then, that I most admire?  Perhaps, I choose this trait of yours because I so much lack it.  I’d like to imitate your goodness to the poor and those in need.

I shall start with those nearest to me, my own family.  I will do something for them whenever I can, and try to anticipate their needs.  Then I’ll look for a chance among those who live next door.

Please help me to persevere in this good intention, to progress from kind words to good deeds, and not to be discouraged if my intentions are misunderstood.  Please pray for me to God; this I ask of you in the name of Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

V.  Pray for us, St. Anthony. R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

For peace…  Dear St. Anthony, yet again I greet you and thank you.  Throughout your life you always tried to be a peacemaker.  You were always reconciling enemies, getting factions to work together, smoothing and composing differences.

Our world is now upset with wars abroad, with violence and dissension at home.  Everywhere in our cities and towns, in our colleges and schools, even in our churches, a spirit of strife too often prevails.

These are all, as you know better than I, the fruit of sin, a sign of human instability and insufficiency.  Help us by your power before God to be peacemakers.  Help me especially to pray and work for peace in my family and my neighborhood whenever I can.  I ask this favor in the name of our Lord, the prince of peace.  Amen.

V.  Pray for us, St. Anthony. R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

In time of trial…  Great St. Anthony, I thank our Lord for the benefits he still gives us today in your honor.  I thank him, too, for the graces he gave you during your brief span on earth.

God can give us, his creatures, no greater gift than himself.  This is what Jesus, our Lord, did when as the divine infant, he embraced you.  It is also a symbol of the love he holds for all his people, the love he longs to share with each one of us, even me.

Dear St. Anthony, help me in my anxieties, troubles, and afflictions, particularly (here mention your request).  Please intercede for me with God in my necessities.  This I ask through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

V.  Pray for us, St. Anthony.
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Contact information

               

If you’d like to request prayers and/or a third-class St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

April 15, 2015

Be natural in your meditation.  Use up your own stock of piety and love before resorting to books….  Our good Master prefers the poverty of our hearts to the most sublime thoughts borrowed from others (St. Peter Julian Eymard).

Links of interest…   American Catholic…  Basilica in Padua, Italy…  Dear St. Anthony
…  Do you need a miracle in your life…  Franciscan Mission Associates: prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / seasonal devotions…  Help from heaven…  Hymn to
St. Anthony of Padua
…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  St. Anthony: 1195-1231 / biography / Franciscan / life / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / stolen relic / wonder worker…  St. Anthony’s Guild: devotions / ecards / prayer requests / prayers

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Franciscan experience…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Tony’s big day

Budding relationships

SJC4311-95      SJC4311-93

Growing up, I knew about God, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph but not really about the saints.

Jesus, son of God and son of Mary, bless our family.  Graciously inspire in us the unity, peace, and mutual love that you found in your own family in the little town of Nazareth.

Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother, nourish our family with your faith and your love.  Keep us close to your son, Jesus, in all our sorrows and joys.

Joseph, foster-father to Jesus, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm.  Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety.

Holy family of Nazareth, make our family one with you.  Help us to be instruments of peace.  Grant that love, strengthened by grace, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.  May we always have God at the center of our hearts and homes until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with you.  Amen.

Other than developing a lifelong personal relationship with St. Jude and St. Anthony along the way, I didn’t delve into the lives of the other saints until I created our church website, May 2008.  So maybe I was supposed to learn about them on my own?

St. Martin of Tours

As a child I often wondered about the picture high up on the wall above the front door.  Since we didn’t have photos of anyone on the walls of our house, I always thought that the man over the door had to have been someone special.  But why was he slashing his red cloak in two? 

Never mind that he was atop his horse as a barely clothed man sat on the ground below.  I just didn’t get it.  Who was he? 

Although I never thought to ask about him then, I now know a bit more about St. Martin of Tours, as he’s “one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints… a spiritual bridge across Europe… a patron saint of soldiers and horses” (Wikipedia, 2011).

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant, Martin, the soldier, with the spirit of sacrifice and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the Catholic faith.  Give us grace to follow in his holy steps that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.

St. Jude Thaddeus

When I was nine or so, mom heard about a church in Pharr, TX that had an outdoor shrine devoted to St. Jude; so off we went after work one evening.

I still vividly recall mom’s fascination with St. Jude.

“Look.  He has only one horn left to show that his evil gave way to good,” Mom said.  “St. Jude betrayed Jesus, but God’s unconditional love transformed him.  Now he’s the saint of impossible causes.”

Even at my young age the story didn’t make sense.  One horn?  How can that be?

By the time the topic of St. Jude’s horn came up again, I was an adult who’d learned that Judas Iscariot is sometimes mistaken for St. Jude Thaddeus and vice versa.  Additionally, “Saint Jude is depicted with a tongue of fire over his head to signify that with the other apostles he was present at Pentecost” (Eparchy of St. Maron, 2008).

I gently shared this information with mom but she didn’t quite believe me, and I was fine with that.

What matters is that I’ve come to know St. Jude as a powerful intercessor.  One I call on only when I’m facing a truly exasperating dilemma beyond my problem solving capability, as with the kids and/or grandkids.

St. Jude, through prayer you praised God for the wonderful works of Jesus.  You asked God for the strength to meet the challenges of your apostolate.  You put your trust in God’s mercy, believing firmly that God loved you and understood your joys and sorrows, your hopes and fears, and your triumphs and failures.  You understood that nothing is impossible for God.  We ask you to pray for us now before the Most High so that we, too, might be filled with God’s saving power, understand God’s will for us, and faithfully place ourselves in God’s loving hands.  Amen.

St. Anthony

On the other hand, my unfaltering companion since age thirteen has been St. Anthony.

Always patient, loving, kind, and willing to help, St. Anthony’s devotion to the Holy Infant has inspired me not only to look for the Infant whenever we visit a church for the first time, but also to return occasionally to familiar churches… St. Paul the Apostle Church in Flour Bluff and the Cathedral in Corpus Christi, TX… where the Holy Infant is venerated.  “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt. 6:21).

O Holy St. Anthony, your deep faith in Jesus Christ comforted your heart, especially during times of trial and distress.  Help me to grow in faith, so I may experience peace of mind and heart in my present needs.  (State request.)  Free me from undue anxiety, needless worry, and burdensome fears.  Grant me sure confidence; unfailing trust in God’s loving mercy, and daily serenity.  Amen.

St. Thérèse

Over the years, too, I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon for St. Anthony to be displayed near St. Thérèse, since they’re both closely affiliated with the Holy Infant.  The church in Budapest, Hungary, for instance, has the two saints facing each other from opposite sides of the center aisle as one enters the seating area.

St. Thérèse, teach us how to open our heart without reserve to the Holy Spirit.  Help us to seek and find God’s will not only in the crises and choices, but also in the joys and disappointments of our lives.  Gain for us the grace to do God’s will with courage and untroubled hearts so that we can radiate joy and  gladness like yours in the service of our Lord.  Amen.

Moreover, parishes I’ve frequented that honor St. Anthony, St. Thérèse, and the Holy Infant include Sacred Heart Church and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville, TX; Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church in Corpus Christi, TX; St. Pius V in Chicago, IL; and two churches that Segy and I visited in Gyor, Hungary and Prague, Czech Republic.

                    

                    

                    

Budding relationships

Of course, had Segy and I not been parishioners at Sacred Heart, I never would’ve made the connection between St. Anthony and St. Thérèse, much less traveled to Europe to see the original Infant Jesus statue at Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague.

Divine Infant Jesus, I know you love me and would never leave me.  I thank you for your close presence in my life.  Miraculous Infant, I believe in your promise of peace, blessings, and freedom from want.  I place every need and care in your hands.  Lord Jesus, may I always trust in your generous mercy and love.  I want to honor and praise you now and forever.  Amen.

The way I see it, God’s master plan for me has included not only a heartfelt devotion to the Holy Infant, but also budding relationships with his beloved saints who are always ready, willing, and able to intercede for us any time we choose to call on them.

November 1, 2012

“When we commemorate the saints, we are inflamed with another yearning: That Christ, our life, may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

November 11, 2014

“Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord”
(St. Martin of Tours).

October 31, 2015

“The saints have not all started well, but they have all finished well” (St. John Vianney).

November 1, 2015

“On the feasts of the saints, consider their virtues and beseech God to deign to adorn you with them” (St. Teresa of Ávila).

November 11, 2015

“O God, who sees that we exist by no power of our own, mercifully grant that, by the intercession of blessed Martin, your confessor and bishop, we be strengthened against all adversities”(Unknown source, n. d.).

March 19, 2016

If we falter, let us turn to Holy Mary, who loves us and teaches us how to pray; and to St. Joseph, our father and lord, whom we venerate so much.  In this world he was the one who was closest to the Mother of God and, after Mary, to her Divine Son.  Together they will bring our weakness to Jesus so that he may turn it into strength (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

October 30, 2016

“Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most” (G. K. Chesterton).

November 11, 2016

Lord, if your people need me, I will not refuse the work.  Your will be done (St. Martin of Tours).

April 13, 2017

The calendar of saints should remind us of the unreliability of appearances.  Theirs is a greatness grander than size and a prominence more cogent than popularity (Rev. George W. Rutler in Hints of Heaven).

November 1, 2017

“The saints were just like us… with one difference: they strove, in everything they did, to discover Jesus and to live as signs and servants of his presence” (Fr. Joseph Esper in Saintly Solutions to Life’s Common Problems).

November 11, 2017

The Church has given us the gift of the saints to show that God does great things in people’s lives.  The saints, after all, were ordinary people, too.  They needed to call on the Lord for help.

By actively praising God and giving thanks, our hearts will find the resting place that we so desire (Jeff Cavins in Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys to a Joyful Life).

November 1, 2018

The light of [the saints’] example shines down on us and makes it easier sometimes to see what we ought to do.  They can help us with their prayers— strong prayers, wise prayers— when ours are feeble and blind.  When you look out on a November evening and see the sky all studded with stars, think of those innumerable saints in heaven, all ready to help you (R. A. Knox).

St. Benedict Church – San Benito, TX

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St. Joseph Church – Port Aransas, TX

Links of interest…  Alban ButlerLives of the Saints…  Ancient, secular reason why saints are shown with halos…  Apostles, major saints, & feast days…  Artist John McCoy paints the saints for Michigan parish…  Being spiritually active in everyday life…  Church of Our Lady of Victory…  Does praying to the saints mean they’re gods…  Four soon-to-be saints…  Friendship with the saints / with Christ Jesus…  Four saints who weren’t consecrated religious…  Holy Week & Judas…  Introducing the saints to your children…  Jesus, Mary, & the saints…  Living the motto of the saints…  Love that lies beneath…  November 1st: All Saints & 2nd: All Souls / communion / solemnity…  Patron saint of missing socks, pray for us…  Prayer to the saints: One in the body…  Sainthood isn’t for the strong…  Saints: better than superheroes / calendars & feast dayscrises / ever wonder how a saint is made / for Pentecost / friendship / ordinary people driven by great loveour friends in a really high placeovercoming boredom / patron saint list / still being made / teach us how to trust God / who is a saint / why we love the saints…  Society of the Little Flower…  Stories, traditions keep devotions to the saints alive…  St. Anthony: about (more) / biography / devotions / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / wonder worker…  St. Jude Thaddeus: tongue of fire / who he is…  St. Martin of Tours: about / feast (Nov 11) / history / monk / novenapatron saint / prayers / profile…  St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus & the Holy Face: 1873-1897 / about / Carmelite / celestial roses / centenary / chaplet / history / inspiration / invocation / life / oblation / feast (Oct 1st) / little way / novena / petitions / prayer (YouTube) / relic / story (YouTube)…  Story of a soul (1898; free): audio / ebook…  Strange gods before me: Do Catholics worship saints & statues…  There is still no patron saint for pizza…  With confidence & trust

WP posts…  Beautiful sacred space…  Connected tangents…  Disquieting moments…  Heart of hearts…  Heart’s desire…  Kindred acorns…  May flowers…  Noon visit…  A real church…  Si quaeris miracula…  St. Anthony…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena  Sweet Jesus…  Venerable Margaret

Making meaning

Reading Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1979) was like eating that exploding candy popular some years ago.  Couldn’t get enough, couldn’t stop the ricocheting, couldn’t describe the experience.

Then I reread the book off and on: In the usual sequence, back to front, front to middle, middle to either end, skipping around, revisiting parts with relish, reviewing my notes in the margins, comparing and contrasting with what I know, figuratively adding the book to my friends list.

Clear message

With all the mental pingbacks I’ve received since reading the book, the ol’ pea brain’s been so full that sharing has been delayed for lack of knowing where to start.  Still, words and phrases from the book persist, and the message is clear.

Through prayer, humility, and perseverance one can embrace the cross, surrender to God’s will, and receive God’s favors.

Connections

Teresa of Avila reminds me of St. Dominic, whose prayerful ways centered on God— mind, body, heart, and soul— and St. Anthony, whose chaplet is based on the Miraculous Responsory.   On a more personal level, too, the book provides illumination for my evolving spirituality.

Awareness

Days prior to finding Teresa of Avila on the hallway shelf, I’d been praying St. Anthony’s chaplet when, quite unexpectedly, I was filled with great awe and understanding.

Oh, my, gosh!  I get it!  I finally get it!  I know what prayer is!

I love my Franciscan Crown, and I’m greatly appreciative of the Child Jesus chaplet that Sister sent me from Australia; but my St. Anthony chaplet is so powerful that I can’t get through the prayers without tearful emotion.

While my Franciscan Crown and my Child Jesus chaplet are alike in that they commemorate special times in the lives of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Infant— some of the mysteries are even the same— St. Anthony’s chaplet is quite different.

Based on the thirteen favors of the Miraculous Responsory, the chaplet builds commitment to God with St. Anthony’s help and requires not my passive recollection, but my proactive engagement.  Its purpose is to help me become a better person, centered on God as the ultimate prize, as
St. Dominic would say.

                

Timely lesson

What a revelation to be enlightened by the power of prayer!

Was this God’s perfect timing yet again?  Did he, in his infinite wisdom as teacher extraordinaire, prepare me for Teresa of Avila?

Based on prior knowledge and experience, God’s sense of humor is too weird and too timely for me to think otherwise.

What is prayer then?

St. Dominic planted the seed.  St. Anthony nurtured it.  And St. Teresa harvested the crop.

Prayer isn’t asking God for something.  Prayer is embracing the cross.  Prayer is loving God and doing for God without giving thought to what he can do for us in return.

God grants graces to ease the pain, manage the suffering, address the injustices.  He also grants favors to whomever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants.  But not because we ask. 

This is why St. Dominic believed that we should center on God alone, not on petitioning for ourselves and others.

God knows what we need, and he provides accordingly.  In his own time.

Making meaning 

Think about it.  How many times have we asked for something and never received it?  Or we received it but not right away?  Or we received something totally different?  Or we received everything beyond our wildest imaginings along with heavily weighted crosses to bear?

I can think of one prayer I carried in my heart for more than two years.  And, oh, the agony I endured until I finally gave it up.  Completely.

Dear God, you know what’s in my heart.  You know the pain I feel.  But I love you more.  You know best.  I give it up to you.  You know what to do.

It took a lot to let go but, little by little, I was okay again.  Then, within less than a year, I received God’s wonderful surprise.  I was so happy that I couldn’t even remember the misery I’d inflicted on myself for worrying all that time before.

Sadly, I know that I can easily revert to wanting my way again.  Only now I understand better than I did before.  Prayer is loving God unconditionally, entrusting our all to his care no matter what.

Prayer

I beg you, O Lord, give me the fidelity I need to persevere with humility and constancy in this path of continual adherence to your will.  With your help I will make this practice the center of my interior life.

O my God, shall I ever fall again?  Yes, for I am frailty itself; but I know that you will be even more eager to help me rise again than I shall be prone to fall.  My firm resolution and my perseverance will be to “begin again” every day, every instant, humbling myself profoundly for my weakness, but having utter confidence in your will to sanctify my soul (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD in Divine Intimacy, 2013, p. 19).

St. Dominic’s blessing

May God the Father who made us bless us.  May God the Son send his healing among us.  May God the Holy Spirit move within us and give us eyes to see with, ears to hear with, and hands that your work might be done.  May we walk and preach the word of God to all.  May the angel of peace watch over us and lead us at last by God’s grace to the kingdom.  Amen.

April 30, 2011

Father Robert, OP at the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago shares his Daily Inspiration.

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8).

Jesus said over and over again: “Be not afraid.”  Ambivalence can make life difficult.  [Being] irresolute, uncertain, indecisive… can create… anxiety.  Knowing what to do, how to judge, when to decide are all questions that can be the source of much concern and doubt.  Fears can be immobilizing to needed action.  Often our hearts are ambivalent.  In examining and evaluating one’s lifestyle, we can easily perceive that changes are in order.  This certainly is true in our relationship with God.  Spiritual writers tell us that to grow in the spirit we must let go, abandon things with which we feel most in control.  We need to break free and simplify our lives.  We are advised not to cling to things and patterns of behavior but to “let go” and cling to God.  As we move freely forward in life, trust helps us venture out, holding on tightly to God’s hand.  Trust and confidence in God’s loving care and protection are the assurance we need to move ahead in the new and exciting adventure of loving him more.

June 25, 2011

Jesus, I surrender.  I give you all of my sickness, all of my wounds, all of my grief.  You are my only hope, Lord.  Stretch out your hand and touch me with your love (the Word among us, June 2011, p. 44).

July 5, 2011

Father Robert, OP adds this Daily Inspiration.

One of his disciples said; “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1-4).

Sometime when you want to find new meaning in saying the Lord’s Prayer consider the advice of St. Teresa of Avila by saying “The Our Father” backwards.  Start from the end verse.  Mediate on each line and thought as you move toward the beginning.  It starts simply by asking God to help us fight against evil, then proceeds to asking for the needs we have to sustain our lives each day— our daily bread— this is “all that keeps us going,” physically and spiritually and then ends with the grand praise of praise, seeking God’s kingdom on earth in our hearts and in all we do.  It closes with the loving title addressed to God the Father, Abba, calling God our loving, “darling” father.

July 10, 2011

Welcome, Master of the harvest!  Sow your word in every part of me.  Grow whatever crop you desire.  I want to know you and love you more each day (the Word among us, July/August 2011, p. 31).

August 3, 2012

“The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear us, but that we will finally hear God” (William McGill).

August 17, 2012

“Pray for the grace” is an excerpt from The Ignatian Adventure (Kevin O’Brien, SJ;
E-Magis).

Ignatian spirituality taps into our deepest desires.  In them we can discern God’s noble desires for us.

Thus, at the beginning of each prayer period, Ignatius advises that we pray for a certain grace, or gift from God: “Ask God our Lord for what I want and desire” (SE 48).  Simply naming what we deeply desire opens us to receive the gift God wants to give us.  Moreover, praying for a grace helps us to notice when we actually receive that gift later on.  In this way, we realize that the grace is not of our own making but is the result of God’s generosity to us.  Finally, praying out of our desires grounds us in the present, keeping our prayer “real.”

August 12, 2014

“If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven”
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

October 16, 2014

“Prayer is ‘a conscious turning to the invisible friend who is always near'” (St. Teresa of Avila).

March 20, 2015

“It is essential to begin the practice of prayer with a firm resolution of persevering in it” (St. Teresa of Avila).

April 22, 2015

Faith believes, hope prays, and charity begs in order to give to others.  Humility of heart forms the prayer, confidence speaks it, and perseverance triumphs over God himself (St. Peter Julian Eymard).

May 19, 2015

“To speak heart to heart with God, you must love to be with him alone” (St. Peter Celestine).

May 22, 2015

Just as God, by the ministry of nature, gives to each animal instincts needed for its preservation and the exercise of its natural properties, so too, if we do not resist God’s grace, he gives to each of us the inspirations needed to live, work, and preserve ourselves in the spiritual life (St. Francis de Sales in Finding God’s will for you).

June 5, 2015

When praying to God, we can only ask for God since he is everything and, in giving himself, he gives us all.  In asking for him, we ask for all.  When we possess him, we can wish and ask for nothing more (Dom Augustin Guillerand in The Prayer of the Presence of God).

August 8, 2015

“We must sow the seed, not hoard it” (St. Dominic).

August 29, 2015

“No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

August 30, 2015

Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel.  Go and find him when your strength and patience are giving out, when you feel lonely and helpless.  Say to him: “You know well what is happening, my dear Jesus.  I have only you.  Come to my aid….”  And then go your way.  And don’t worry about knowing how you are going to manage.  It is enough to have told our good Lord.  He has an excellent memory (St. Jeanne Jugan).

November 13, 2015

If God seems slow in responding, it is because he is preparing a better gift.  He will not deny us.  God withholds what you are not yet ready for.  He wants you to have a lively desire for his greatest gifts.  All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart (St. Augustine).

November 18, 2015

“We cultivate a very small field for Christ; but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self” (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne).

June 16, 2016

“To love God is something greater than to know him” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

August 20, 2016

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity.  There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity.  There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is love (St. Bernard).

September 19, 2016

God answers every prayer, but sometimes the answer is no.  And, if it is no, we’re better off— if we love God.  That’s why Jesus wants us to say “thy will be done” in the Our Father.  That is the sure way to happiness— the will of God (Fr. T. G. Morrow in Overcoming Sinful Anger).

January 22, 2017

God is my longing.  In whatever way God comes.  In every form, through every experience and circumstance, painful or otherwise.  God.  Only God (Paula D’Arcy in The Divine Spark).

June 15, 2017

Jesus wants us to trust him to take care of all our yesterdays and tomorrows.  He looks for souls who are willing to see the Father in every happening, then give that circumstance to him to solve, justify, make right, or straighten out.  It is not easy but it is peaceful, for we are bearing good fruit.  God is bearing fruit within us (Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout).

June 28, 2017

The only thing that matters in life is doing the will of God.  Once you are doing the will of God, then everything else matters (Hubert van Zeller in Holiness for Housewives).

June 30, 2017

I will attempt, day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s holy will, not my own (St. Gabriel Possenti).

July 11, 2018

We must not gauge our devotion by what we feel, but rather by what we are ready to endure.  Indeed, it often happens that God tries the most advanced by letting them experience a coldness and deadness in prayer such as ordinary people seldom experience and none could endure in such times if their love for God were not very deep and strong, ruling and sustaining the will (Fr. Basil W. Maturin in Spiritual Guidelines for Souls Seeking God).

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Links of interest…  Carmelites…  Dominican heart from the beginning…  Fight or flight & the wings of prayer…  Focus on holiness: Rejoice & be glad…  Hidden grace of unanswered prayers…  Humble French priest is teaching me to find peace & growth in suffering…  Jesus asks a question…  Letting go…  Love is a call to action (homily)…  Meditations (book review)…  Prayer: petition / six things necessary…  Simple five-step strategy to figure out what you really want…  St. Dominic: about (more) / & the living word (seed) / contemplation / prayer: biographical documentsblessing (song) – feast day – for various virtues – for vocation – litany – nine ways (more) – novena…  St. Jeanne Jugan: 1792-1879 / about / beacon / blog / books / canonization (video; 2009) / contact / Little Sisters of the Poor / memorial (YouTube) / sayings…  Teresa of Avila: 1515-1582 / about / author / biography / bookmark / books / bread recipe / chaplet prayers / convent (Avila) / doctor (1970) / feast (Oct 15) / history / interior castle (1921 book online) / patron / poems / prayer / profile / reformer / quotes / saint / timeline / works…  Teresian Carmel…  Wisdom from a 93-year-old singing nun…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Dear God…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  In good time…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  My Franciscan Crown…  One prayer…  Prayerful ways…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Venerable Margaret

In good time

Late April 2008, I accompanied Steven to a conference he was attending at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Teresa of Avila

The beauty of staying across the street from campus meant that I had access to the bookstore, which I visited daily for hours on end.  And, much to my delight, Follett had a seemingly endless sale on books throughout the store.

Among the many I purchased were three copies of Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1979) based on selections from The Interior Castle (Avila, 1577), which I intended to give to Sam and Ning, Junebug and Gary, and Neli-Beli.  However, on inscribing the books at home, I noticed that one copy had an ever so slight irregularity; so I kept it instead.

Mind you, Teresa of Avila didn’t strike me as particularly interesting when I first noticed the books on sale.  The brown, black, white cover was so nondescript and the colors so sedate that I wasn’t the least bit intrigued.  Besides, I had no idea who Teresa of Avila was!  Yet, knowing how much our Why Catholic? group members had enjoyed discussing our read-alouds, I’d thought that the book might appeal to them enough that they’d want to share their perspectives with the rest of us.

Special time

For almost three years, the book remained unnoticed and pretty much hidden on the shelf with other books on spirituality.

Then, a couple of months ago, I awoke with a burning question prompted by The book on St. Anthony’s miracles.  More and more, my wanting to know escalated to my having to find out. 

But how?  Where?

Walking past the hallway shelves, I stopped without realizing what I was doing.  Running my fingers along the book spines, my eye caught sight of a little blue book, so I marked the spot and pulled out the book to read its back cover and its table of contents.

Anthony of Padua: Saint of the People (Wintz, 2005) was the answer to my question.  Only, another book beckoned from near the shelf’s end.

Within moments I had a second book, Teresa of Avila, in tow as I proceeded to my workspace here.

As with so much that happens in life, timing had everything to do with my finding
St. Teresa’s book that Saturday morning.  Over the years, I’ve come to realize that things happen in their own special time.  It’s my Train A / Train B theory, although it could also be called God’s good time.

Dendrite connections 

As Segy was growing up we had lots of really interesting conversations, but the one I revisit most stems from his middle school days.

Our brains are sponges, he said.  They’re forever collecting information left and right, trivial and meaningful, tidbits and tomes.  Our brains get so full that information can’t all be tagged and categorized right away.  It’s like standing in the checkout lane at the grocery store.  Information is processed only as the brain’s dendrites are able to make meaningful connections between the newly acquired and what’s already there.

Listening to Segy, I recalled my Kroger experience.  Since only one lane was open, I couldn’t check out right away.  Standing in line, I actively perused the books on display to make the most of my wait time.  So, yes.  I could easily visualize what Segy was talking about.

The brain’s always ON.  Even when we’re quiet, our senses and our thoughts are still at work.  Even when we forget, the brain remembers what’s etched in long-term memory.

Like a good battery gone dead, all the brain needs is a jumpstart, a sensory experience, that allows it to intuit and remember thoughts lost that had no real value when they were forgotten.

In my case I had a burning desire to quench my thirst, so… ta dah… my hands reached into the bookshelf and effortlessly located the books on St. Anthony and St. Teresa.  Just like that.

By finding what was lost, the old became new with meaningful implications.

In good time

Time and again, I serendipitously connect with people, places, things, and/or ideas that propel me to another level of understanding.  It’s all so bizarre yet so refreshingly awesome.

Like, oh, my, gosh!  So God’s actually paying attention?  Listening?  Helping me retrace my steps, so I can finally have a worthwhile encounter with something I’d previously overlooked?

It’s what I’ve come to call my Easter egg hunt in life. 

When the time’s right, I find the means to advance to that which awaits; that wonderful, glorious knowledge that I so eagerly seek; that awareness that I’ve been oblivious to; that special moment that fills me with wonder and makes me giggle with delight.  So why worry?  

In God’s good time I’ll have the answers to all of my questions.

St. Teresa’s book

And so it’s been with Teresa of Avila.

BW4511-91The book was within reach for almost three years, but I had much to learn and experience before I was ready to savor its richness.

If anyone had told me that Teresa of Avila had really been meant for me to read and subsequently share, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Yet God has his ways of helping us discover what he wants us to enjoy when the time is right, the very same way he gifts us with the perfectly timed lily blossoms in our garden during the Lent and Easter season every single year.

Prayer

God of all time, you call us out of the ordinariness of our everyday lives to see the world anew in your time.  Help us to respond to your call to see in all things: both a completion and a new beginning; both an end and a renewed start; both sadness and joy….  Your time is a time of fulfillment that makes little sense to the world, for what is logical is replaced by what is kingdom-oriented….  Give us the strength to keep your time, where relationships take priority and we start over again and again to serve the least among us.  Amen (Daniel P. Horan, OFM in The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering).

March 3, 2014

It is a lesson we all need— to let alone the things that do not concern us.  He has other ways for others to follow him; all do not go by the same path.  It is for each of us to learn the path by which he requires us to follow him, and to follow him in that path (St. Katharine Drexel).

August 12, 2014

“If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven”
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

June 2, 2015

“The will of God is not a fate which has to be endured, but a holy and meaningful act which ushers in a new creation” (Fr. Romano Guardini, 1885-1968).

November 13, 2015

If God seems slow in responding, it is because he is preparing a better gift.  He will not deny us.  God withholds what you are not yet ready for.  He wants you to have a lively desire for his greatest gifts.  All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart (St.  Augustine).

April 12, 2017

It can be difficult to tell the difference between beginnings and endings.  Perhaps one of the strongest lessons in Jesus’s words from the cross is that we must not be as concerned about our time as we are about God’s time.  In God’s time beginnings and endings are one in the same because God’s time is not so much a matter of minutes, hours, and days as it is about a way of living in the world.  The way we mark the passage of our life is not the same way that God marks our time.  It is when washing the feet of others, the giving of ourselves for the sake of our brothers and sisters, that we live according to God’s time (Daniel P. Horan, OFM).

July 14, 2017

“Since it is through Jesus that everything must be accomplished, the more I let him do, the more the work of grace will be beautiful and perfect” (Fr. D’Elbee in I Believe in Love).

September 7, 2017

In today’s world, we seek immediate gratification.  We want what we want, and we want it now.  If it doesn’t happen on our timetable, we become discouraged and give up, or impatient.  When we turn our lives over to God’s timing, we find peace, and we may be pleasantly surprised at what he has in store for us (Melanie Rigney in Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration).

Links of interest…  Fr. Romano Guardini: about (more) / Art of praying (more)…  God’s perfect timing…  Old Dominion: bookstore / university…  St. Anthony: about (more) / biography / mail deliveries (S.A.G.) / miracles & traditions / shrine / wonder worker…  St. Teresa of Avila: 12 interesting factsabout (more) / biography (more) / book (more) / chaplet / doctor (more / first woman) / feast day / foundress / frases / friendship with Jesus / headacheshistory / holiness & works / interior castle (more / video) / litany / memorial / mystic / novena / poems / prayers / quotes (more) / saint (more) / tribute (movie) / unexpected humorvideos

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  On being Christian…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Prayerful ways…  Santo Niño…  Seven dwelling places…  Soulful…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret