Yet, which would you say is the more necessary—the crew that turns the wheels, pushes the buttons, or the hidden parts that these wheels, buttons etc. control? The invisible Crew is absolutely necessary to make the ship sail. It is a powerful union of parts properly put together and doing a wonderful piece of work. That Invisible Crew is the thing.
There is another Invisible Crew to which each of you can belong. It is more powerful than any other crew the world has ever known. This Invisible Crew will lead us to victory if we faithfully and carefully follow the instructions given for the sailing. But remember, there must be no veering either to the right or to the left. The line of action is straight ahead, a dangerous and narrow path, it is true. One slip, or pushing the wrong button, may prove fatal.
Just what is this Invisible Crew that will lead to Victory? It is the Church of God in heaven. It is an ex-elusive group. Yet each one of you has received an invitation to belong. First, however, you must serve a period of testing, to see if you are really worthy to be a member of the Crew. Just as every girl or boy who wants to be a Scout must proceed through several degrees of lower membership before being admitted as a full-fledged Scout, or just as every member of a Varsity Crew must have had long exercise and training before he can man the oars of a racing vessel; so girls and boys who wish to belong to the Invisible Crew, must prove themselves by deeds of heroism and skill, during life upon earth.
Who are the members of the Invisible Crew? If you have proved yourself worthy by your great deeds, Whom will you have as companions? The Invisible Crew has the greatest Leader the world has ever known—the Redeemer of the World, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. His Mother Mary, the most perfect and most powerful of all His creatures is the Queen of this Crew, for she is the Queen of the Church Triumphant, Queen of all saints. St. Joseph, whom the Church honors next to our Blessed Mother, aids her in piloting this Crew to victory.
To prepare to join that Crew you will need practice, just as a ball player does before he can apply for the big leagues. But before we speak of practice and the steps to full membership in the invisible Crew, let's meet a few more members. Just as every hopeful big leaguer is eager to know other players who made big league baseball, so, too, you want to learn the names and the deeds of the Crew to which you will belong.
You can easily see what claim Christ has to being the leader of this Crew, and why His Blessed Mother is its honorary Queen, but you are no doubt, wondering just what St. Joseph did to belong with the rulers of the crew. Just what did St. Joseph do? Holy Scripture tells us very little about him, for he did nothing glamorous, or big enough to make headlines in the daily papers. St. Joseph was a humble man of Nazareth, and because of his genuine humility, he was chosen by the heavenly Father to take care of Jesus and Mary. You know how he worked in his carpenter shop to provide for their daily needs. The Holy Family was poor, but, they were happy. You see, Jesus is God, and He could have had all the riches in the world if He wanted them, but He wished to teach us that we need not be rich in order to be happy and good. The Holy Family was the most wonderful family that ever lived. The head of this Family on earth was St. Joseph. He never grumbled or complained that he had to work so hard to provide for his family. He teaches us to sanctify our work and to labor diligently at our appointed
tasks, because we love God.
Besides being honorably poor, diligent, hard-working, a good provider and a devoted head of the Holy Family, St. Joseph was very pure and chaste. From the earliest times the Church realized how pure of mind and action, St. Joseph was. To impress it upon the minds of others, some lovely little stories or legends, as they are sometimes called—have grown up around St. Joseph. You may believe them if you wish. You do not have to believe them, for they are not dogmas of faith. In most of them, however, there is so much of the beautiful and seemingly true, that one likes to accept them as truth.
One legend told about St. Joseph, the pure man of Nazareth, is this:
When the High Priest insisted that the Virgin Mary, who had lived for years in the temple serving and praising God, take a husband, Mary bowed to his will. You see, the High Priest, was for her the representative of God. She knew that by obeying him, God would in His own way, take care of her. She had promised God to remain pure and chaste her whole life, and had made a vow to this end. She wanted, if she had to marry, a husband who would respect her vow and help her to keep it.
On the day appointed for the suitors to make their appearance and to claim the hand of the beautiful Mary, Mary asked God to designate the one He wanted for her. All the rods of the young men who wanted Mary for their own lovely bride, were put before the tabernacle. (You see, God wasn't present in the Jewish tabernacle, as He is in ours, but the people came there to pray, and He often let them feel how very close He was.) When the High Priest came before the Holy of Holies the next day, he found that one of the rods had bloomed into a beautiful lily. It was the rod of the carpenter of Nazareth, Joseph. Mary then honored Joseph by becoming his bride, since she saw in the lily, God's desire that the pure Joseph would respect her vow.
Since God so chose St. Joseph as the patron of purity, ask Him to help you remain pure and innocent, especially these days when it isn't easy to remain so. Purity is one of the conditions for membership in the Invisible Crew — there is no admittance without it. Suppose, however, that you did have the unhappiness to fail in the past. You can start over again, after asking the Lord to pardon you, and begging the Queen of the Crew and St. Joseph to help you in the future.
Now let us meet some other members of the Crew. It is really difficult to decide which ones to talk about, as each is outstanding for some particular virtue. There is one modern saint, however, whom you all love and whom you all can imitate. Every Catholic boy or girl has heard about Saint Therese the "Little Flower." Boys and girls go for her in a big way as she was very simple and childlike in her preparation for membership in the Invisible Crew. Anyone who really desires to be good and to lead a holy life, can do it by imitating the Little Flower. We are told that the most extraordinary thing in the life of the Little Flower, is the fact that she did nothing extraordinary. She simply did the ordinary things perfectly of pure love for our Divine Lord. She burned with the desire to do big things for God, but she knew that as a member of a Carmelite Order she couldn't go out on the mission field and help convert souls. She then worked out a little plan all her own. It is known as her "Little Way", and it is so easy that any child can follow. Now, this is what the Little Flower did. Everything that she was told to do, or that she did of her own accord, she offered to God as an act of love and petition for all those who were working in the mission fields and for the conversion of sinners. You know how the Little Flower suffered, don't you? Her intense sufferings were offered for her missionaries.
The Little Flower longed to be a martyr. She didn't have her head cut off, nor did she face a firing squad for Christ, or die in prison for Christ, but she really did become a martyr—a martyr of love. Her love for God was so intense that she died a Victim of Love. Her last words were, "My God, I love Thee!" The Little Flower became a great saint, an important member of that Invisible Crew by doing small things as perfectly as she could, and by doing all for love of the Captain of the Crew. Whether she washed dishes, swept the halls, weeded the garden, or did any of the other countless little things in a Sister's life, she did them for love of God.
She was pleasant and kind when it was hard to be so. She was always ready and willing to lend a helping hand in any kind of work. She was never heard to complain. Her obedience was perfect, and because of this perfect obedience God permits the Little Flower to do as she wants in heaven. She spends her time there "doing good upon earth." She showers her roses of love and service today on all parts of the world and on all peoples. She is a very active member of our Invisible Crew, and if you ask her to send you some of her roses, she will. She will obtain the graces you need to practice her Little Way, for she wants all to know and love the good God. Suppose you ask her for a red rose of love, that you, too, may become a worthy member of the Crew that has such great people among its members.
There is still another Crew-member to whom our Lord sent roses of love,—St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Though queen of the nation, she was still a servant of the poor, an angel of charity. God loved her charity and helpfulness of the poor so much that He worked a rose Miracle for her. One day when Saint Elizabeth was going on her usual errands of mercy loaded down with provisions for the poor, she met her husband, King Louis. The King didn't quite approve of His queen being what he thought was a slave, as she tended
to the needs of the poor. He said a queen should be mighty, should stay in the courts, and not go around the "slums" of the kingdom. So the King, thinking to stop her visits, asked to see what she had under her cloak. He pulled the queen's mantle apart, and then did he see things! Although it was midwinter, he saw that she bore a beautiful shower of red roses. The King was surprised. It was a miracle! A rose miracle! To show how pleased He was with Elizabeth's charity, God had changed the bread and food into roses. From that moment, the King never again interfered with the queen's work of love for the sick and the poor.
So you see, how this wonderful person, a queen, became a servant and lavished her love on those who were in need. You, too, can be ministers of charity, doing what you are able. Yo may not have much money or food or clothing to give to the poor. But you can help them in other ways. You can be kind to them. You can be kind and considerate of others, your teachers, chums, and classmates, as well as those at home and those you meet. All these little acts seem very small, but if you do them for God, and make life happier for others, you are helping Christ Himself. These acts are your roses.
What kind of roses are they? Well, you can say "thank you" to others for services rendered. It costs nothing to say this little word, but it gives such great joy to others. I remember someone telling me about an experience she had. An old Negro gentleman was the pilot of the elevator which took her to the top of a large skyscraper. He opened the door for her, bowed nicely as she prepared to leave at the top floor. She turned, smiled, and said "Thank you sir." The old gentleman looked at her, tears welled up in his eyes, as he said, "Lady, I've taken this car up for 16 years, and you are the first one to thank me. Thank you!" It was too bad that no one before had thought to thank him. If he had made some slip, or been careless, some accident could have happened in those years.
Yet, no one thought to thank him, even though the lives of so many, were, so to speak, in his hands. We should be more generous in the use of those little "Thank you." People do so many nice things for us. Why not repay them with the rose of "Thank You." Even though the social code may not call for this, our own desire to spread sunshine and joy in the world will tell us how we may give joy to others. We can make others so happy, and make the world a finer place in which to live, just by being thoughtful and helpful to others. It costs nothing. We can, in this way, strew roses like the other members of the Invisible Crew. The fragrance of these roses will reach the throne of the King of Love, and they will be marked as citations for bravery on your record towards membership in the Invisible Crew.
Saint Martin, the soldier saint, is another member of this Invisible Crew. He has a very special message for boys. To them he would say, "Share your cloak with your unfortunate buddies." You remember the story of how St. Martin gave half of his long flowing military cloak to a poor man whom he met on the roadside shivering with cold. That very night our Lord appeared to St. Martin in a dream, and told him that it was He, His Lord, His Master, Whom Martin had clothed when he shared his cloak with the poor,
cold man. Just think of the privilege of sharing your cloak with Christ. That is exactly what you do when you befriend that little buddy of yours who had fallen into evil ways. He seems to have gotten into bad company, is unruly, steals, tells lies, and causes all kinds of trouble in school. He is breaking his mother's heart. He just wants to be a "toughie," to make the big boys think he's hard as nails, and so he goes from one evil to another. Befriend him. Take him along with you. Throw the mantle of charity around him, as you take him into your gang. Show him that you are interested in him, and are eager to help him. Will he want to share your cloak? You bet he will! Just try it!
Are you having trouble getting those arithmetic problems, or getting the other lessons in school ? Call upon another valiant leader in the Invisible Crew— St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron of students. Beg him the help of Mary, Seat of Wisdom, our Lady of Light. The story of the life of St. Thomas is one of real adventure. Read it to learn about another of your future crew members.
Perhaps you may say, "Oh, I'll never be able to make that Invisible Crew. I've committed too many sins. I've abused grace. It's too late to start to try for it. I have so many evil habits that it surely would take a miracle for me to snap out of the state of soul in which I am." If this is your state of soul, then call upon another member of the Crew — St. Mary Magdalen. From one of the greatest sinners the world has ever known she became one of the greatest saints. And why? "Because she loved much and "love covereth a multitude of sins."
St. Peter was another member of the Crew who failed His Lord miserably, when he denied Him. Yet, see where St. Peter is—at the very helm of the vessel, because he, too, loved much, and showed his love for his Captain, Christ, by doing things to prove that love. All of us can become saints. We can all become charter members of God's Invisible Crew. But we must want it. "God wills it, so I will it!" must be our cry. The saints were human beings just as we are. They had human failings, too, and some offended God very seriously. But once they were consumed with the desire to love God, they began to fight the good fight with all the zest and zeal of a St. Paul. They sanctified their lives by living lives of virtue, prayer, and penance, and then followed the commands of their Leader. They nourished their souls with the bread of angels, and increased the Divine Life in their souls through the sacrament of Penance; in fact, they made use of every means to grow in God's love. Their ambition was to reach that degree of love to which they had been destined from all eternity. What about you?
How about it? Are you going to try for the first step toward admission into the powerful Invisible Crew? Then, having won your letter, try the second, then the third, and the fourth, and so on. If you do, some day, after a life of love and service for God and souls, you will hear the Captain of the Invisible Crew, His Mother, St. Joseph, and all the members of the Crew, at the helm of heaven, welcoming you into an exclusive circle, with a "Come ye blessed of My Father, take possession of the throne prepared for you from all eternity."
Source: Hello Halo, Imprimatur 1947