By Larry Peterson
Included in my extended Catholic family (besides you and all Catholics) are the saints. Regarding the saints, there are many of these family members of whom I have never heard. But, I do know that if I ever hear about one of them and seek them out, they somehow heed my call.
For example, a number of years ago I “met” St. John of God. I had never heard of him and one day sitting down in the pew for morning Mass, who was suddenly sitting next to me? Yup, St. John of God.. No, he was not in person, Rather he was looking at me from a prayer card that was on the seat. I picked it up and looked at it for several moments. He looked back at me from the card.
After going home and reading about him, suffice it to say that this saint was no longer extended family for me. No sirree, he became close family. I give him a ‘shout-out’ every day. (You can Google his name and a wealth of info comes up). By the way, St. John of God is patron to nurses, the ill and dying, and hospitals.
But what about an old family member who you were very close to and then, for some inexplicable reason, you more or less ignored them for many years? How do you finally get back together with them? I’ll tell you one way it can happen. They might hit you upside your head with a clear and unmistakable message.
Well now, guess who my latest message sender was? It was none other than St. Therese, the “Little Flower.” Many of you know what I am talking about. There is no subtlety when she is communicating with you. My disconnect from her started by taking her for granted and then ignoring her. SIGH! I did that, I admit it. So, she grabbed my attention as only she was able to do. The sudden realization of her being nearby (even though I had been ignoring her for so long) was powerful.
I have a small bedroom I converted into an office. Against the wall next to the closet is a narrow bookcase. It is about seven feet tall and one foot wide and has seven shelves. It is a great dust collector. Anyway, I had this sudden urge to “straighten up” the mess of papers and supplies I had so “neatly” placed on those shelves over the past few years.
I reached for the stack of old magazines on the third shelf. I placed one hand on top and tried to get my other underneath the stack. As if working together in synchronized dance, they all cascaded downward like a paper waterfall landing and sliding into the neatest pile on the floor. I shook my head and mumbled to myself, “Idiot.”
I bent down to begin picking up the magazines which are spread like dominoes across the floor. The mastheads are all showing as if they were put on display. In the middle of the pile I see a thin box. It does not belong. It is an interloper. I pick it up and see it is an old Xerox box, about one half-inch thick that held something called transparency paper. I was not even sure what that was and then the end of this box popped open and a bunch of religious photos slid out. I could not remember why they were there or where they had come from. But guess whose 8 X 10 photo is right on top of the pile, looking up at me with this satisfied smile? Yup–you got it, St. Therese, the “Little Flower” herself. My knees went weak
Two hours later that photo of my sweet, little friend (and your friend too), was in a very nice 12 x 15 bordered frame hanging on the wall a few feet away. Now I get to see her and have a little chat every day. She still is smiling gently. Since we have reconnected I have seen more ROSES than I can count.
To finish off how St. Therese likes to prove a point, the next day I found the booklet, “Mary Day by Day” in the garage (don’t ask me how it got there) but that happens to be Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s favorite book. I also received an e-mail from someone named Theresa. I might add that our stillborn daughter’s name is Theresa Mary and my granddaughter’s name is Theresa Marie.
I shall end this now by simply asking St. Therese to please pray for all of us and by promising her (in front of all you readers) that she can stay smiling at me from up on that wall for the rest of my life. Thank you St.Therese. I also promise to smile at you too…every day.
Copyright© Larry Peterson 2023