I came across an old fairy tale book, today. My Grammie told me that the original Beauty and the Beast had some minor differences from the modern versions. Remember my post Be His Guest and the changed lyrics by one of the Carmelite sisters who had revamped the words from the original song “Be Our Guest?” Our Lord has always spoken through fairy tales to remind me that not only is He a Spouse, but a Prince. I think I have always been attracted to fairy tales because in a certain sense, the love is supernatural. It is never really a story that could actually happen in this world; it is a love that is eternal and just downright exciting! I get just as much out of fairy tales as I do reading the lives of the saints. Why is that?
I always knew deep down, even before I heard the divine call to be a bride of Christ that I had a yearning for something more. I was always dissatisfied with the love I found in human relationships and dating. I always thought there was simply something wrong with me for wanting an abnormal amount of love. My heart always went back to the fairy tales. I liked the predictable trend of a love having to be fought for, a battle with the villain and good conquering evil in the end. Belle (aka Beauty) wanting “so much more than this provincial life”; to seeing how true beauty lays within. In this fairy tale book I found an interesting dialogue between Belle and the Beast. She said:
There are many with the shape of men who have the heart of a monster. Better far to have the appearance of a monster and the heart of a man.
I loved how the beauty of the castle and all things in it were made perfect after the fight. I want a love worth fighting for. My favorite princesses were always Belle and Rapunzel. In Carmel, I had a lot of time to reflect on why that is. I still remember how excited I was when my Papa and Grammie surprised me and with seeing Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast; I WAS and AM a fan of surprises! I remember feeling like a princess that night. Rapunzel , in the Disney moving picture Tangled having the heart of royalty while not knowing she was the lost princess, was drawn to the beauty of the floating lanterns that appeared every year on her birthday. She was destined for something greater than she had in her tower. Those are the little signs (floating lights) that only Our Lord can give – to assure His chosen ones “He has so much more than they’ve got planned”. The divine hints that He will do things “only for you”. He always told Saint Faustina words of love, such as these:
I keep the world in existence only because of you. You bind My Hands with your love.
This brings me to the original version of Beauty and the Beast I found this morning. I am constantly moved by this story, because Our Lord always shows me details I never noticed when I come back to it. In Carmel, in honor of the Mother Prioress’ feast day, I changed the lyrics of Beauty and the Beast’s “Something There”, making it about Christ and His bride and sang it from the bride’s perspective. Later, that’s when one of the nun’s created the new lyrics for “Be His Guest” (if you have not seen those lyrics check out my blog post with that very title). It was as though I wrote a song for Our Lord and then He wrote a song for me from the same fairy tale; I was cast as Belle for that very feast day skit, and I was the one being sung to. So, when I read the details from the original story line, I was once again taken by surprise.
When Beauty (aka Belle in the modern version – “it’s no wonder that her name means beauty”) decides to take her father’s place, and while observing her new room in the castle, she sees a picture of a Prince with a golden frame hung on her wall. She reflects how she has never seen a prince so handsome and he is young. From that night all the way to the breaking of the curse she dreams of this Prince appearing to her, asking for her help. Before I remark any further, I will share some of these dreams of Beauty and the Prince’s conversation:
She dreamed that she was walking by a brook bordered with trees, when the handsome young Prince of the picture came to her and said, ‘ Ah, Beauty! You are not so unfortunate as you suppose. Here you will be rewarded for all you have suffered elsewhere. Your every wish shall be granted. Only try to find me out, no matter how I may be disguised. I am a prisoner here in the castle of the Beast. Find me, and set me free.’ ‘Tell me where to find you, dear Prince.’ said Beauty. ‘Find me with your heart.’ he answered, ‘and do not trust too much with your eyes. Above all, do not desert me until you have saved me from my cruel misery. Without you I shall die.’
Beauty goes in search of this lost Prince all through the castle rooms, not knowing he is trapped inside the form of the Beast. This particular version of the story goes into great detail about how she suffered great poverty before coming to the castle. What I found most striking from the Prince’s words was how she would be rewarded for her suffering and that she would find him with her heart. A love so strong, that he says “without you, I will die”. That cruel misery he mentioned reminds me of the Passion of Christ. He allowed Himself to become so disfigured that He resembled worst than that of a leper. Yet, not to be deceived by appearances – for He has the Heart of a Man. THIS is the love I desire! I have pondered, in all seriousness, if the vocation to be a nun can be combined with that of a princess.
Through the romance of Our Lord, I have found that to be just the case. Is not Our Lord known as a Prince? The glorious title of Christ the King and Mary as the Queen – is not heaven a Kingdom? Consider Jesus’ answer to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world”. I believe that fairy tales are nothing compared to what He has awaiting His brides, but I also believe these are those divine hints I mentioned; those floating lanterns of expectation, of what is to come – for what He has prepared for those who love Him! Lastly, what I find most symbolic is that in Carmel, the Mother Prioress prays for inspiration about your religious name; you have no choice in the matter. I was named Rosa, after “Rosa Mystica” from the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Beauty also said (in the old book of Fairy Tales) “the beast must not be so bad, if he likes roses!”
I read that the rose is considered the Queen of all flowers – fitting as Mary is the most glorious Queen in history. The word Rosa is where the Rosary received it’s title, meaning, “crown of roses”. It is symbolic that as the rose in the story is the very thing keeping the Beast alive, Beauty asked her Father to bring her a rose back from his journey. Towards the conclusion of the tale, the Beast allows Belle to return to her father for a week and gives her a rose. He tells her if she does not return in a week, the rose will wilt and he will die without her. It symbolized their love. This brings me to think of Our Lord being covered with roses in the tomb before the Resurrection. I told a friend of mine about my desires to be a princess, how all I ever wanted to do since I was five years old is marry a prince. She told me ‘I can see you on a “magic carpet ride”, passing out scapulars wherever you go!’ I guess you can also say “I’ve got a dream” (Rapunzel/Tangled) and while many may say what I am aiming at is “impossible”:
And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.