I am working on a piece on The Shrine, which I will have up before bed tonight or by tomorrow morning. In the meantime I came across this lovely piece on St. Therese and purgatory. I am not familiar with the author, so I have no comment on her blog site or the book she wrote, but this piece is very nice.
I started today with adding links at right to “Patron Saints.” I have had a lot of help on my pilgrim way – and I figured it would be nice to have some ready links to some of those from the other side who have helped me and walked with me.
In 1997, I prayed a Novena to The Little Flower (for non-Catholics here, that is an affectionate nickname for St. Therese). I promised her if my intention was granted, I would plant two rose bushes on either side of my front door. After a couple of days, I felt bad about that rather crabbed and presumptuous approach. So I told her I would get the rose bushes and plant them immediately – and that she should dispose of my intentions as she saw best, for I know my heavenly friends always want our good – and that I would embrace whatever came of it as coming from God.
I had dug a bit more than a foot down to place the one that would be to the right of the doorstep when my trowel snagged on something. I gently eased the dirt away to see what it was. It was a Brown Scapular – the one with the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on it – the type of scapular Our Lady of Fatima recommended we wear. St. Therese was a Carmelite Nun. I regarded it as one of those little caresses heaven sometimes sends. For years, I was very possessive about it. But then I came to a time when I really thought hard about being attached to things. So what I did was, any time someone gave me a new Brown Scapular, I took it as a sign that someone else needed one – and I would give away the one that I was wearing and put on the new one. I am on my fourth or fifth now.
Now, Our Lady made several promises to all who wear the Brown Scapular…and I think I should comment on it, for I find too often people like to make magic totems of Sacramentals as if they were ‘power-ups’ in a video game. Remember that a Sacramental is only a symbol. It is not the grace, itself, anymore than a picture of a person is the person, himself. What I wear around my neck beneath my shirt is a just a lovely piece of brown cloth. Ideally, it should keep me present to the promise to live the spirit of what it calls for. But unless it is spiritually draped over my heart, though I wear the cloth, I am not wearing the Brown Scapular. You must live it.