Monday, January 26, 2015

Warm thoughts on a cold day

First, the cold. I have a small complaint for Dave Phillips, Senior Climatologist at Environment Canada. Here is what he said (CTV News) on Dec 1, 2014:

“Not as long and as brutal a winter as we had last year … for all Canadians,” said Phillips. “We won’t have to be migrating and hibernating like we did last year.” Phillips says Canadians can thank the phenomenon called El Nino. Dave, my complaint is in the form of a question: it is -14C here in Kingston as I write, with same temps forecast for the next several days. How is that milder, shorter, El Nino thing working for ya?

On a much happier note, I became aware as I was preaching at our 5 Masses this past weekend - there are a LOT of 20 and 30-somethings here! Young parents with their kids, as well as singles and other young couples. I am moved by that, in a world that touts its no-need-for-religion philosophy. I am humbled as well, because we who lead the liturgies could so easily drive them away. Is it ever nice to know that a significant group of our younger population want to be nurtured in a faith community at prayer. Pray for them, pray for us!

Finally, a note on Ste. Therese of Lisieux. I talked about her in my last posting, and how she inspires with her faith and her devotion to Jesus. No wonder she has the world-wide following she does. Before she died her agonizing death at age 24 (suffocating from the effects of tuberculosis -same disease my Dad got in 1954, and was cured of with the new drugs), she said this:

"My mission - to make God loved - will begin after my death...."  "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses." Roses have been described and experienced as Saint Therese's signature. (Website, Society of the Little Flower)

There are thousands of people who have trusted her a lot longer than I have. I am new to this devotion, and she has come through very large in two circumstances I have prayed for. Not only that, the confirmation of the roses was present in each case.

Here is the thing I have discovered about the roses. You can't go around looking for them or doing something like putting a picture of a rose on your desktop. I have seen lots of roses and pictures of roses, and have had no reaction to them. The ones that are convincing following a prayer or novena, are the ones that you did not expect and did not see coming, but hit you in a way that you know immediately what it is. And on the two occasions I refer to, Therese was very creative. In the first, I was asked to meet a young girl who was ill. Her name was a variation on the word 'rose.' That did not evoke anything in me until I met her and saw that she was a red-head! I knew, and I just smiled. The second was actually in a dream. In the dream I was walking through our kitchen and there was a vase with two roses in it, on our island. I turned and looked at them, and said, 'How did they get here?', and kept walking. When I woke up later, the image was clear as a bell, though I could not remember anything else about the dream.

Both of these came after particular prayers. The whole business is a matter of personal faith, and the Church teaches that my experience imposes no obligation on anyone. Indeed, there are all kinds of alternate explanations, starting with the one of sheer coincidence. I used that one for years. Not any more.