Crouching Spider, Little Bird

frodo-phialIf you are a Lord of the Rings fan, then you know that Shelob is the ancient, giant spider that almost killed Frodo when he entered the land of Mordor.

Few of us would want to encounter such a creature. Nonetheless, it is fun for any afficionado of Middle Earth to visit Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture. The truculent iron spider is currently in front of the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington.

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"Crouching Spider" on Independence Avenue

icthus…The Lord Jesus said: “Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”

St. Therese of Lisieux wrote:

I look upon myself as a weak little bird…I am not an eagle…In spite of my extreme littleness, I still dare to gaze upon the Divine Sun, the Sun of Love, and my heart feels within it all the aspirations of the eagle…

story-soulO Jesus, I know and so do You that the imperfect little creature, while remaining in its place (that is, under the Sun’s rays), allows itself to be somewhat distracted from its sole occupation. It picks up a piece of grain on the right or on the left; it chases after a little worm; then coming upon a little pool of water, it wets its feathers still hardly formed. It sees an attractive flower and its little mind is occupied with this flower. In a word, being unable to soar like the eagles, the poor little bird is taken up with the trifles of earth.

And yet, after all these misdeeds, instead of going and hiding away in a corner, to weep over its misery and to die of sorrow, the little bird turns toward its beloved Sun, presenting its wet wings to its beneficent rays. It cries like a swallow and in its sweet song it recounts in detail all its infidelities, thinking in the boldness of its full trust that it will acquire in even greater fullness the love of Him who came to call not the just but sinners.

Jesus, I am too little to perform great actions, and my own folly is this: to trust that Your Love will accept me.

–St. Therese of Liseux, Story of a Soul, chapter IX (Manuscript B)

November Pilgrimage of St. Therese

st__therese_of_lisieuxSt. Therese of Lisieux is a Doctor of the Church, which means she is a pre-eminent teacher of Christian wisdom. When her death was imminent, her superior ordered her to write an autobiography. Story of A Soul contains her sublime doctrine, applied to herself.

The book recounts that, shortly before Therese entered the convent, she went on pilgrimage to Rome. She went with the Bishop of her diocese, her father, her sister, and other Catholics from her part of France. She was not quite fifteen years old. On November 4, 1887, they departed by train from Paris. They visited Assisi and other towns in Italy. On November 20, they went to the Vatican to see the Pope.

Is this, dear friends, an uncanny coincidence? Your humble servant and his 35 fellow pilgrims will be going to see the Pope on almost the exact same day! (God willing, we will see Pope Benedict next Wednesday, November 19.)

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We do not believe in coincidences. St. Therese is watching over us. This is part of a Plan.

Can we hope that the Holy Doctor Therese has special graces for us pilgrims when we follow in her footsteps AT THE EXACT SAME TIME OF YEAR?

We can hope for this. And you, dear reader, can hope for a share of these graces, no matter where you may be next week. The Preacher and Big Daddy team intends–with the help of Almighty God–to bring the pilgrimage to your computer screen.

If all goes as planned (which is, as we know, a very big IF), we will be blogging from Assisi and Rome. We have brought a trusty photographer on-board for this ambitious project.

Our first stop on pilgrimage will be the ancient hamlet of the Troubadour of Christ, in the heart of the province of Umbria. Did you know that there is a Litany of St. Francis? We will pray it as we make our way to Assisi to visit the tomb of the most beloved saint of all time, after our Lady. May he intercede for us, along with St. Therese. May heaven smile upon all of us!