I wrote last time about the Dark Side – an aspect of the spiritual that I don’t like to think much about. Today I want to write about the LIGHT. And since we’ve just finished Valentine’s Day, it’s appropriate to think of roses – and of all the little ways that the Universe (another of my thousand names for God) pours affection onto us.
One day I remember being blue. I wished for a sign that everything would be ok. A minute later, I walked out of the house (I lived in a house then), and there on the sidewalk lay a red rose. Laughing at myself, I took it as my “sign.”
It turns out that roses are often a sign of an answered prayer. St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-97) is the Roman Catholic saint of the rose. “What matters in life,” she wrote, “is not great deeds, but great love.” After her death, she promised to “shower roses on her little ones.” She believed that like a child we should be enamored with what is before us, totally attentive to all the expressions of love. I’m not Catholic but I have heard that if you pray a novena (nine days for one wish) to St. Therese, and if the wish is granted, you will receive
on the ninth day a rose. I wrote of many such stories in A Book of Angels. Here is a new one from my friend Charlotte. Notice that she says thank you afterwards. That’s important. The Universe adores to be noticed and thanked, and if you do that it will turn itself inside out to give you more.
My sisters and I made many novenas to St Therese in our childhood, and we always expected to receive a rose. Our uncle Charlie was drafted into the Army at age 40 despite the fact that he really couldn’t see well, even with his glasses. But it was the middle of the war and because the Army needed men, they lowered their standards! We children adored him. We wanted him home. We began our novenas to St. Therese, asking that Charlie be discharged and come home.
On the ninth day I was walking home from school alone. I was on the sidewalk, surrounded by concrete and the empty tarmac street. There were no cars at that moment, either, and no other people around, when suddenly a red rose fell from above me and landed on the sidewalk. It was a beautiful, fresh, full-blown, long-stemmed rose. I looked about. Where had it come from? The three-story apartment buildings on either side of me were set back a good 20 feet from the sidewalk; it could not have been thrown from a window. Moreover, I had glanced up and seen the rose falling straight down from the air above.
I picked it up and said “Thank you” to St Therese. I showed the rose to Mother and my sisters, and we all accepted it as our sign that Charlie would be home soon. We were very pleased and grateful. A short time later, he was released from the Army. I’ve had other rose episodes over the years. I just wanted to affirm that these ‘grace notes ‘ do occur.
First hand as a child, I was there for my sister Charlotte’s tale of The Little Flower’s sudden gift of the rose in answer to our prayers for our uncle’e release from the army. Because I was born on St. Therese’s feast day, she was extra special in our lives. Mary