indifference

“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.
And this happens although the praise of God should know no limits.
Let us strive, therefore, to praise him to the greatest extent of our powers.”

St. Maximilian Kolbe


(a lost moth wing / Julie Cook / Julie Cook /2021)

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

Elie Wiesel

God’s mercy

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin.
All hope consists in confession.
In confession there is a chance for mercy.
Believe it firmly, do not doubt, do not hesitate,
never despair of the mercy of God.”

St. Isidore of Seville


(Southern summer evening sky /Julie Cook / 2021)

“When we are living in the world, we can easily take on the
mindset of a secular society. It is important for us to cultivate
in our lives, with great care,
God’s way of looking at things and life in general.
His Word guides us.”

Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, p. 22
An Excerpt From
Inspirational Thoughts for Everyday

Incarnation

The fact that theology also considers the body should not astonish or
surprise anyone who is aware of the mystery and reality of the Incarnation.
Theology is that science whose subject is divinity.
Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh,
the body entered theology through the main door.

St. John Paul the Great


(bumble bee on sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Christ took upon himself this human form of ours.
He became Man even as we are men.
In his humanity and his lowliness we recognize our own form.
He has become like a man, so that men should be like him.
And in the Incarnation the whole human race recovers the dignity
of the image of God. Henceforth, any attack on the least of men
is an attack on Christ, who took the form of man,
and in his own Person restored the image of God in all that
bears a human form.
Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord,
we recover our true humanity,
and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism
which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with
the whole human race. By being partakers of Christ incarnate,
we are partakers in the whole humanity which he bore.
We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity
of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means
that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others.
The incarnate Lord makes his followers the brothers of
all mankind.
The “philanthropy” of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation
is the ground of Christian love towards all on earth that bears
the name of man.
The form of Christ incarnate makes the Church into the Body of Christ.
All the sorrows of mankind fall upon that form,
and only through that form can they be borne.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

How do you forget our Nation’s greatest sacrifice? You don’t! Inexcusable Mr. Biden

“Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor,
a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization,
and to set free a suffering humanity”

Franklin D. Roosevelt


(American cemetery/ Normandy, France / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Utah Beach coastline / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Utah Beach coastline / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Utah Beach coastline / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Bullet marks / Normandy /Julie Cook / 2018)


( all images /Julie Cook /Normandy, France / 2018)

How does President Biden forget to commemorate the 77th anniversary of D Day???

There is no excuse.

He shouldn’t have forgotten…his administrative staff shouldn’t have forgotten…
and in turn, we know without a doubt, we have grave problems.

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to
Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
and noble undertaking.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Spirit of God rather than your own…

“Do not be anxious: go straight on, forgetful of self,
letting the spirit of God act instead of your own.”

St. Julie Billiart


(magnolia /Julie Cook / 2021)


(soon to be sunflower/ Julie Cook / 2021)

“As St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to
remain children in intelligence: on the contrary.
He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’,
but also ‘as wise as serpents’.
He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.
He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate,
and teachable, as good children are;
but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job,
and in first-class fighting trim.”

C.S. Lewis, p. 77
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

warm weather color

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form,
can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

Oscar Wilde


(goldfinch / Julie Cook / 2021)


(purple Iris /Julie Cook / 2021)


(daisy’s / Julie Cook / 2021)


(gardina–a southern classic / Julie Cook / 2021)


(purple aster / Julie Cook /2021)


(Sunflower…all pics taken from my daily walks or backyard / Julie Cook / 2021)

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—
and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Ephesians 5:13

the devil is indeed a liar

If a man say, ‘I love God,’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar:
for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,
how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
And this commandment have we from him,
That he who loveth God love his brother also.

John the Apostle


(Satan from the Passion of the Christ)

I’ve often heard folks state, “the devil is a liar”…
and I honestly think I’m beginning to see this expression much more clearly
with each passing day…Satan is indeed the master of lies.

He coerces, massages and manipulates what we think we know..caressing it into
something all together entirely different,

And you may or may not have figured it out yet, but we are living in the midst of
his lie.
The current rending of our nation’s very being is case in point.

Divide and conquer is his modus operandi—divide the fold…
send in the wolves to disrupt the heard…
send the fold scattering…scattering in every which way…
and then…begin to devour…one by one.

I recently picked up Bob Woodson’s (Robert L. Woodson Sr) book,
RED, WHITE, AND BLACK
Rescuing American History
from Revisionists and Race Hustlers

I’ve referenced Mr. Woodson before.

Here is Mr. Woodson’s dedication:

No nation is perfect, but America–more than any other–
is a place where people from every imaginable background have been able
to pursue their dream and realize their potential.
Americans have never met a problem we are afraid to tackle or a challenge
we can’t overcome.
I fact, those of us who have faced the most formidable challenges in life
often become our strongest leaders and our greatest patriots.

This is as true of black Americans as it is anyone else.
During the worst of Jim Crow, we built thriving communities full of families,
churches, businesses, and countless civic institutions.
On the very soil where we once toiled in forced labor,
we found the seeds of our liberation.
At a time when many are trying to pull us apart by stoking grievances
and sowing discord, the overwhelming majority of Americans remain
devoted to our founding principles and to one another.
This book is dedicated to this countless millions who love our country,
despite it’s flaws, and long to live together in peace.

Mr. Woodson’s words…”at a time when many are tying to pull us apart by
stoking grievances and sowing discord, the overwhelming majority
of Americans remain devoted to our founding principles and to one another…”

Mr. Woodson speaks of Americans…those of all races and backgrounds.
He does not believe in the lies of divide and conquer.
He does not believe in the lies of critical race theory.
He does not believe the lies of separating and belittling
one race over another.
He does not believe in the lies of rewriting what once was into
something much more palatable.

Rather Mr. Woodson extols us all to cast aside those same lies.
Seek the betterment…seek a collective and unified sense of hope…

We are one nation under God…no matter how much Satan wants us to
believe the opposite…that we are a divided nation while there is no God.

Hold fast America…do not believe the lies.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:5

Memorial Day 2021

“But freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.
The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if
we fight for it, protect it,
defend it and then hand it to them with the well-thought
lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same.
And if you and I don’t do this, then you and I may well spend
our sunset years telling our children and our children’s
children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

Ronald Reagan


(the mayor enjoying a face painting / 2021)

This new community that we now call home hosted a Memorial Day family
community pool party and cookout bash.

And so naturally we had our son and daughter-n-law bring up the Mayor
the Sheriff for the festivities.

There was great food, good music, face painting, balloons along with a much
cooler day than desired in order to spend one’s time in the pool
with the grandkids.
But we do what we must right?!

Last night I noted out loud how much I had enjoyed this year’s Memorial Day…
the other most memorable Memorial Day was the time when we went to Savannah
to scope out our son and at the time, future, daughter in law’s wedding.

This weekend was actually what I would call normal.
Meaning, I readily and unconsciously fell into a sense of what we call
normalcy…life as we once knew it to be.
There were no masks, no social distancing…no limitations…
only kids and parents enjoying a kick-off day to summer.
There were real visible smiles.

Kids lined up to get their faces painted.
Adults stood in line to ‘build’ their burgers and hotdogs.
Balloons were shaped into animals.
Ice cream was plentiful.
The sun peeked in and out from behind the clouds.

And whereas our family celebrated like many American families celebrated
this opening weekend of a new summer…celebrating with cookouts and dips
in the pool…the real meaning of this day has not been lost on my heart.

Years ago when I was teaching, our high school usually had graduation on
the Friday night of the Memorial day weekend.
We’d then start our post-planning on Monday…the official day for Memorial Day.
The nation was observing Memorial Day while our faculty was busy closing
out the school year.

We had a football coach, a man who I still consider myself very fortunate
for having had the opportunity of calling colleague, who was a former
Army officer.

I can remember this ball coach standing up to address the entire staff
on that somewhat fateful Monday morning following graduation…
that Memorial Day morning that we, as a school system, was gathered
together working verses celebrating.

He offered a blistering admonishment.

Many of us had groused at not being able to spend the day
being with our families to help usher in summer…
however this football coach, this former Army Officer and West Point
graduate, took his colleagues and administration to task.

He reminded us why we really should not be at work this particular day.

That our being at work was rather a slap in the face of every armed
service member who had ever served our Nation.

What was wrong that we could not pause for a single day
in order to simply say thank you….

Suddenly it seemed as if the air left the room.
It was a struggle to breath the heaviness that hung in the room.

There was a sense of guilt racing through the room.

Whereas the teachers felt badly for simply wanting to be off with their families
to enjoy a day of cookouts and swimming…I could only imagine that our
administration team was really feeling a sense of oppressive guilt.

Needless to say, for as long as I continued working at the school, we
never worked another Memorial Day.

My daughter in law sent me this lovely reminder of where our thoughts
should actually be on Memorial Day….

John Guy writes:
“What God did at Pearl Harbor that day is interesting and I never knew
this little bit of history.

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii
every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes.
I went into a small gift shop to kill time.

In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled,
“Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941— Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a
concert in Washington, DC. He was paged and told there was a
phone call for him. When he answered the phone,
it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.

He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the
Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.
He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.
There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–
you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of
the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.
Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters
everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock,
the young helmsman of the boat asked,
“Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”

Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.
Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes
an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.
Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked,
“What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes
an attack force ever made?

Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one:

The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning.
Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.
If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–
we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two:

When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row,
they got so carried away sinking those battleships,
they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships.
If they had destroyed our dry docks,
we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.
As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised.
One tug can pull them over to the dry docks,
and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have
towed them to America.
And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater
of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill.
One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest
mistakes an attack force could make or, God was taking care of America.

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book.
It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it.
In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan,
born and raised in Fredericksburg, Texas — he was a born optimist.

But any way you look at it —
Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation
and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job.
We desperately needed a leader that could see silver lining
in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.

Why have we forgotten? PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY! IN GOD WE TRUST.”

I want to go look for America

Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly,
than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and
circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank
among the Nations;
The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age
of Ignorance and Superstition,
but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood
and more clearly defined, than at any former period,
the researches of the human mind, after social happiness,
have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge,
acquired by the labours of Philosophers,
Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years,
are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily
applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government;
the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce,
the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality
of sentiment… have had a meliorating influence on mankind
and increased the blessings of Society.
At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence
as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely
free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

[Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 – Writings 26:484–89]”
George Washington, Writings


(Bald eagle in flight over the James River/ Parks Rountrey)

Is it just me???

I suddenly have a great desire to hop in the car and take off.

Taking off into the great unknown.
I want to go off on some grand American adventure.

I want to go find America.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that this nation of ours has been shut down
for basically a year and a half…and in many parts,
she is still shut down.

Maybe it’s because this nation of ours is now at
some surreal war with itself…

I want to see for myself if we are still out there…is this great nation
I’ve always known, still out there…alive and well?

Or has she become a mere ghost of herself?

Many years ago, when our son was little, we decided to take him on
our small version of the great American family vacation.

Sadly we all know how such family vacations often play out.
The parents are typically enthralled while the kids are usually bored
to tears.

And that’s pretty much how it played out for us.
The pictures of smiling parents with a smug kid in tow.

However we wanted our son to see things we knew that were the wonders of
this great nation of ours.
Wonders such as the Grand Canyon, the rugged coast of Maine,
Yellowstone and Old Faithful, the Great Salt lake,
the lands of the American western Indians,
true free spirited roaming buffalo, the settlements of Jamestown,
The Outer Banks and Blackbeard, the painted desert, the petrified forest,
the Grand Tetons, the Snake River, the raw lands of Alaska,
the endless corn fields of Nebraska, the Rocky Mountains…
So we got in the car over the course of several summers and drove..
and in some cases, we flew then drove.

We wanted our son to see parts of this nation other than his own
home in Georgia.

During those formative years, we took him to the west,
the southwest, the north, the northwest, the northeast, the southeast,
while traversing the middle of this great land.

I suspect as parents, we might have enjoyed these trips more than our
preteen son but in the end, we knew he needed to see our country outside
of his own narrow world—all because one day, he would appreciate that
he had seen all these things…he would have a reference point when
thinking about this country as his home.

I know that not all kids have such opportunities…
nor do all adults…
But getting in a car and driving just seemed to make sense.
He probably would have been happier to just spend time at the beach..
but there was just so much we wanted him to experience.

We did what we could as his parents to expose him
to as much of this country as possible—because we wanted him
to see America.
We wanted him to see what our forefathers knew was worth fighting for.
Why a Revolution was fought, why a Civil war ensued, why we have sent young men and women to various wars all in order to preserve this somewhat “perfect union”.

And perhaps to understand this current struggle with our past.

In my little bio on the “About” page of this blog I mention
that I enjoy traveling.
“I also possess a tremendous passion for travel as I feel traveling
helps to make an extremely large and diverse world a little friendlier–
as it calls for understanding and empathy which are results of spending time
in someone else’s “world”—
as all of us on this planet share a very similar human history and relationship—
the things that make us more alike than different are those ties that bind
together rather than separate…”

Spending time in someone else’s world…
Isn’t that what makes those little connections with others?
We begin to see others not as different but as more alike.
Connections that allow us to understand one another??

Yet today sadly, I know that we can’t just hop in the car and take off.
Not today, not now.

Gas prices are on the rise, the pandemic still holds some states
as prisoners while others are being liberated.
And despite being vaccinated, masks are still required,
social distancing is still a thing and freedom of movement
is actually not so free…it is limited at best.

Throw in a mass influx of illegal immigrants and the notion of safety,
in some of our border states, becomes a serious issue.

Add in the continued violence from Marxists and Anarchist groups
such as Antifa and BLM overflowing in many or our Nation’s major cities..
and so visiting some of our major cities is not even an option.

So hopping in a car while hitting the wide open highways,
in order to go see America, is simply now a pipe dream…

However I wonder…if I did get to go out and see this America of mine,
I wonder what exactly I would find…

Most likely a rewritten history of a nation’s past along with
a now very uncertain future.

Is this land really your land and my land…

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things”

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things.
Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand
what true, selfless piety is.
Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which
may still taint it.
Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety.”

St. John Bosco


(Notre Dame pre fire / Julie Cook / 2018)

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a Catholic priest from Wisconsin,
Fr. Altman, who is being relieved of his duties by his bishop.
The bishop states that Fr. Altman is both “divisive and ineffective.”

The real reason for his removal is due to his publicly stating that
one cannot be a true Catholic while supporting abortion…
one cannot be a true Catholic and a democrat.

That was a comment directed to both then presidential candidate
Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Two politicians who espouse to be practicing Catholics yet
are both very vocal regarding their support for abortion.

Support for abortion is a stance that is in direct opposition
to the teachings of the Church.
Or so we thought…

Fr. Altman was also very critical of fellow prelates who would deny their flock
communion during the course of the pandemic.

Father Altman doubled down on his stance despite the threats from the Church
hierarchy.
“Jesus warned the Apostles and us that if the world hated him,
it would hate us, just because we are trying to be faithful.
In other words, the world will be divided by the truth,” he continued.
“There will be we who are faithful, who follow the truth,
divided from those who are not faithful and who oppose the truth.”

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-fr-altmans-bishop-has-asked-him-to-resign

My post brought about a powerful comment from our biology leaning friend IB
(aka Insanity bytes)

I don’t think she will mind if I share that comment here:

Good stuff, Julie! This really triggered me,
“other shepherds are offended because I simply state
the fact that they abandoned their sheep in a time of need.”

Yep!

My church stayed open, never wavered even when things got heated,
so I was really blessed!
Just the same, every church around me shut down and some are
still shut today.
It’s been such a huge betrayal,
such a feeling abandonment that goes all the way down to my toes.
I had always thought the church would be there for us,
the church is our refuge when an asteroid is heading right for us
or a global pandemic comes.
I did not expect to see so many collapse and abandon their
people immediately.
A church who is not there for her people during hard times
is not a church. A two week quarantine is understandable,
forgivable.
But more than a year?
Get off my planet!

Obviously I got some powerful feelings about all this. 🙂

My response was a resounding AMEN!

It is a betrayal really.
A betrayal by those who’s calling has been to be the very
shepherds and polestars…those who are charged with directing souls
to the risen Savior.
And as IB states so succinctly, it has been a total collapse.
A collapse of the very institution that has been charged
with spreading the very Word of Salvation.

My response to IB:
“Indeed IB— if the Church—as in our sanctuaries, our places of refuge,
our earthly tangible connection to Jesus himself…
if they lock us out during our very hour of need—
if they remain(ed) silent when seniors were shut away from all family
with many dying isolated and alone,
if they refused communion to a spiritually hungry fold or if they
side(d) with death rather than life—
that is not the Bride of Christ as we know her.
Shepherds of the world or shepherds of Christ—
they need to truly ask who it is they serve!!!

When I think of our Church, our bulwark never failing,
I am always reminded of the scene from that classic 1939 movie
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with the cries of Quasimodo “SANCTUARY”…
meaning one is safe and protected within the walls of the Church…
the Church will protect those who seek her aid…

Here is a scene from one of the greatest films of the 1930s.
The gypsy girl Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara) has been sentenced to
hang for witchcraft in front of Notre Dame cathedral by
the Chief Justice (Sir Cedric Hardwicke).
She is saved from certain death by the cathedral bell-ringer Quasimodo
(Charles Laughton) to the delight of Gringoire,
who loves her (played by a young Edmond O’Brien) and given sanctuary.

And so if the Church now decides to side with the world…our
sanctuary… our help in ages past and hope for years to come,
has become just another victim, lost to the cancel culture wars…

“Whenever that sacrifice of Christ is memorialized in the Church,
there is an application to a new moment in time and a new presence
in space of the unique sacrifice of Christ Who is now in glory.
In obeying His mandate, His followers would be representing in
an unbloody manner that which He presented to His Father in the
bloody sacrifice of Calvary.
After changing the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood:
He gave it to them (Mark 14:22).
By that communion they were made one with Christ,
to be offered with Him, in Him, and by Him.
All love craves unity. As the highest peak of love in the
human order is the unity of husband and wife in the flesh,
so the highest unity in the Divine order is the unity of
the soul and Christ in communion.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, p. 401-2
An Excerpt From
Life of Christ