My mom and I began a rose novena to St. Therese 9 days ago.
Rose novenas to St. Therese have been a family tradition for some time, see my mom's post about it.
Anyway, we began the rose novena and my mom got her rose almost immediately. I, on the other hand waited. Normally the novena last 5 days but if you do not receive a rose, you can extend it to 9 days.
So I waited patiently for St. Therese to come through. "She'll come through, the little stinker," my mom assured me.
So, meanwhile I have been having a pretty difficult time, wanting to get away from my job, friend problems, neighbors who blare music until 4:30AM, the works. I have been feeling pretty beat up.
This morning, on the 9th day, as I was parking for BART and walking to the station, I saw something pink in the middle of the road. "That's my rose!" I thought excitedly. And sure enough, it was a fake rose in the middle of the street, looking just as battered and forlorn as I have been feeling.
I could not help but think, "Man it figures I would get a beat up rose." I considered the possibility that St. Therese was not happy that my mom called her a stinker :)
But I think St. Therese, in all of her wisdom was sending me a message about suffering by sending me a rose that has taken a few beatings.
In fact, it reminded me of a passage in her autobiography:
"I had offered myself to the Child Jesus to be His little plaything. I had told Him not to use me like a costly toy which children are pleased to look at without daring to touch; but as He would a little ball of no value, that He might throw to the ground, toss about, pierce, leave in a corner, or else press to His Heart if so it pleased Him." - St. Therese, Story of a Soul
So with the image of the ball and the battered but still beautiful rose, I wait for God to send me some signals about what He wants from me and how He wants me to serve Him. For now, I think He just wants me to embrace the suffering that I am feeling as a way to grow closer to Him. And the thing is - I love Him so much, I figure it will be worth it.