The Lord is waiting to show you His favor. He yearns to have pity on you, and happy are all who wait on Him.
As you all know, I have a special devotion to our dear St. Therese. I pray for her intercession often, but only a few times have I asked for a particular favor through a novena. Each time she has answered my novenas and sent me roses.
This past September I prayed another novena to St. Therese leading up to her feast day. I was asking God to grant me a healthy baby and a safe delivery for our little one that was due to be born around June 13th of this year. I finished the novena, but I never did receive a rose. The only roses I saw were those that others told me they had received and those pictured here on my blog, which don't count, right? Where was my rose??
Shortly after, I stopped "looking" for roses and ended up forgetting about that particular novena I had prayed. One month later I found out that our little one had died. I lost our little Gabriel on November 24th, the very same day that I lost my first baby (he was born and baptized on the 24th and went to heaven on the 25th), and at the very same hospital, which I have avoided over the years as much as possible.
I don't believe in coincidences and knew, as hard as it was at the time, that God must have had His reasons. He did! I have already noticed so many blessings that have come from our little Gabriel's short life. I won't share them all here on my blog since they are so personal, but I do want to share a little story about that "forgotten" novena.
Last week, when I was packing for the drive to California for my Grandfather's funeral, I grabbed a few books to read on the way. One of the books I brought along was Archbishop Fulton Sheen's St. Therese - A Treasured Love Story. I had read this particular book last summer, during my children's swimming lessons, but remembering how inspired I was by it (and how distracted I was while reading!), I thought it would be nice to re-read some of it. I opened it up to Chapter 3: Saint Therese and the Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Perseverance, where I had left a bookmark, and read about "Love's Delay."
I wish I could share the whole chapter with you! Fulton Sheen talks about how love is not immediate, and that Scripture often tells us to "wait on the Lord."
But to keep to the point. Here all through Scripture is the delay of love. If you start with great success you may be like a skyrocket. Go up with a lot of fire and noise and come down like a stick. Some of the hardest and cruelest words in Scripture are, "You have already had your reward." You wanted something? You got it. That's all you'll ever have. So the Lord sometimes does not give us all that we want. But even when we so not receive it, we can find a divine answer as she [St. Therese] did.
Fulton Sheen reminds us that "God sometimes does say no in love's delays." He tells us that if we are praying for certain favors to be prepared for love's delay, but keep praying.
So, never give up on your prayer, because the petition that you seek is distinct from the prayer itself. All prayer is dependence. Prayer is love. And you will find that as you love more you will be seeking less and less material favors. Maybe God is answering your prayers without our knowing it very often. In the divine intent, the day that Pope Leo put his finger over the lips of that fourteen-and-a-half year old girl, God had already decided that she was going to enter Carmel. And I am sure that when Pope Leo went to Heaven, the one thing that he was most sorry for in his whole life was that he told that little girl to keep still. Here we are praying to the Little Flower and not to Leo XIII. What a lesson that is! I am sure a few readers have said a prayer to Leo XIII, as great as he was, and he controlled the life of the Little Flower. You see, everything changes in the mind of God.
I went on to read the following chapter as well titled St. Therese and the Power of Intercession. In this chapter Fulton Sheen mentions that there are "actually three wombs. One is the womb of nature by which we are born physically, the second is the womb of grace, and the third is the womb of eternity."
By this point I was thinking about Gabriel, and recalled my novena, last September, to St. Therese. Even though I didn't receive the exact results that I was intending, or receive a rose from St. Therese, God did answer my prayer. Through the conditional baptism that we were able to give Gabriel, we were blessed with a spiritually healthy baby. And what more could we, as parents, ask for our children than a safe delivery into eternity!?!
Anyhow, we arrived home from our trip Saturday night, just in time to celebrate Lætare Sunday. I didn't have much time to post, so I quickly updated and reposted my post from last year. Lætare Sunday is also known as "Rose Sunday" so wouldn't you know that St. Therese would choose that particular day, with my novena for Gabriel last September so fresh in my mind, to send me my rose!!!
That very day I received a comment from a fairly new visitor, who did not know that I had had a recent miscarriage:
Happy Catholic Mother's Day! I found a really cute rose bookmark with a sweet smiling baby on it. I don't know why I feel like you are meant to have it but I do. Since I can't shake that feeling I would love to actually get it to you:o) (maybe it is from St. Therese or something!!) If it is not too off the wall, you can send me your po box and I'll mail it right away. Thanks for your great blog! Praise God for you and your beautiful family.
I, in total awe of God's grace and love, emailed her back with my address and mentioned my novena for Gabriel. I logged in yesterday to find another email from her:
I've seen rose after rose and never thought--gee I should send this to Jessica--but the rose and the sweet smiling baby seemed just for you. I'm sort of in disbelief that I really just contacted someone I've never met and with such a story. I was so certain that I should get this to you that I practically tripped over my feet today to get your special letter in the mail.I am now anxiously awaiting the arrival of my precious rose!!!! What great faith this new online friend must have, to recognize and act on a little prompting from God, like this!! I could hardly wait for hubby to get home yesterday to tell him this story, on his birthday and the traditional FEAST OF ST. GABRIEL!!!
God is good!
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.