Beautiful hope is found in the weeds

“You are like a chestnut burr, prickly outside,
but silky-soft within, and a sweet kernel,
if one can only get at it. Love will make you show your heart some day,
and then the rough burr will fall off.”

Louisa May Alcott


(a thistle prepares to bloom / Julie Cook / 2020)

Thistles, to me, are most alluring.

To Eeyore, they are a tasty ‘smakeral’ or so Pooh would observe.

They begin, in the early spring, as a spikey mass or clump, of uninviting serrated leaves
emerging oddly from the ground.

Trust me, don’t use bare hands in an attempt to pull them up in order to rid your space
of this most unwanted visitor.

They will eventually send forth one, or even several, shoots sporting a purplish fringed bulb.
As this odd bulb unfurls its full glory, the bloom is almost regal in a crown-like
explosion of texture.


(a thistle crown / Julie Cook / 2020)

And like all earthly glories, these odd blooming weeds eventually fade, turning themselves
back to seed.


(a field of thistles gone to seed /Julie Cook / 2020)

And yet the fact that these plants are considered useless and invasive and even noxious
weeds, there is a beauty found in their blooming and a bit of
respect found in their tenacity.

Saturday I was reading Kathy’s post over on atimetoshare.me —
Kathy was offering some waxing thoughts regarding our world’s current pandemic situation.

I found one passage most enlightening…

Our current younger generation are those who will not experience the pageantry of
a real graduation – those who will not go to their Senior prom –
those who have been through the good, the bad and now the ugly –
those who will be running our country in the next few years.

These unique young people will become a generation of problem solvers,
creative thinkers, money managers, inventive and innovative thinkers all because
their world was turned upside down by a little germ.
They will be the second greatest generation, because they have experienced plenty or at least enough.
They have been on the cutting edge of technology.
They have seen their nation at its worst and at its best.

SATURDAY SOUND OFF

Kathy noted that this current class of seniors, be it high school or college, are presently
experiencing a great many firsts in the way of loss.

Losses of certain rights of passage.

No Spring sports.
No state championships.
No Spring breaks.
No year-end award ceremonies.
No trophies.
No classes
No proms.
No senior days.
No graduations.
No graduation trips.

Only a seemingly unending sense of loss, isolation with more questions than answers.

And yet Kathy notes that this will be the group to become our next class of problem solvers.
They will be our newest innovators and creative thinkers…in part because
such a role and responsibility has been thrust upon them.

They have been handed a mantle of burden and responsibility despite not necessarily seeing
such coming their way.
And it is perhaps not truly a burden they have wanted…but they have been handed such nonetheless.

And so in this time of surreal losses and misses, there is a generation
that will have to rise to the occasion of problem-solving.

They have the tools at their fingertips as a pandemic has now spurred them on–
be it out of frustration, resentment, or simple curiosity…
hope now rests in the beauty of a blooming generation…

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

running thread

Like Peter, the modern world has denied Christ.
Contemporary man is afraid of God, afraid of becoming his disciple.
He has said, “I do not want to know God.”

Robert Cardinal Sarah


(a sad little dried acorn in a very dry land / Julie Cook / 2019)

The other day I caught a lead-in title to a story by journalist Sam Sorbo
Conservatives must wade into [the] cultural fray –
yes, even making their own movies – to expand base

Meaning conservatives are more or less losing the proverbial culture war…but
the good news is that a complete loss is not yet a guarantee.

Sorbo notes that “while conservatives are leading in the battle of ideas,
they have all but surrendered the culture war.
Academia, entertainment and high- and low-culture are completely dominated by liberals.
Conservatives must enter the cultural fray if they’re going to expand their base.”

I think we might all agree that words such a conservative, morality, and Judaeo / Christian
run hand in hand while running against our ever-rising post-Christian progressive liberal world.

There is a war…and there are many of us who might agree that it seems
as if the ‘good-guys’ are losing?

If you consider yourself a Christian, a conservative, a Jew, a person of high moral principle…
then you have some sort of understanding of this “war…”

It is a war on both faith and values.
It is a war on the traditional family.
It is a war on the sanctity of marriage.
It is a war on the sanctity of life.

And thus those of you who visit cookieland know that I don’t believe in coincidence but
rather I believe in the urgings of the Holy Spirit.

There has been a word…a single word that is considered to be also an action…
That word, that action, is ‘prayer

I’ve noticed that the idea of prayer, or simply the word prayer,
has been a running thread recently here in the blogosphere,
as well as popping up in the things I’ve been reading and even in average conversations…
be they books or various on-line sites.

Prayer… the act of petition, asking, addressing, worshiping, praising…
a conscious practice of either or all mental, vocal or physical actions.

One of the quotes I shared the other day was a quote by St. Angela Merici.
The quote was actually more of a command.
A command she offered to others in the early 16th century…however it is a command
that is most timely and relevant these many centuries later.

St. Angela Merici, a religious educator and according to Wikipedia,
‘founded the Company of St. Ursula in 1535 in Brescia, Italy,
in which women dedicated their lives to the service of the Church through the education of girls.
From this organisation later sprang the monastic Order of Ursulines,
whose nuns established places of prayer and learning throughout Europe and,
later, worldwide, most notably in North America.

St. Angela Merici extolled her young female charges just as she extols us today to
“Pray, and get others to pray, that God not abandon His Church,
but reform it as He pleases, and as He sees best for us,
and more to His honour and glory.”

Most of you know I’m currently working my way through a powerful book by Catholic
Robert Cardinal Sarah, The Day Is Now Far Spent

It is a powerful rallying cry of the faithful—not simply the Catholic
faithful, but rather a cry for the entire global Christian faithful.

Cardinal Sarah is very candid about the ills of our current state of affairs…
ills both in and outside of the Chruch body.
The Cardinal shares that both fasting and prayer are the two crucial weapons that he
relies upon during this spiritual battle, we now find ourselves facing.

He reminds us that…
“We have abandoned prayer.
The evil of efficient activism has infiltrated everywhere.
We seek to imitate the organization of big businesses.
We forget that prayer alone is the blood that can course through the heart of the Chruch.”

And so today I echo the words I read yesterday on Kathy’s post at atimetoshare.me
“What lies below”
“I pray that God will hear the prayers of the faithful and once again intercede.
We need Him now more than ever.”

WHAT LIES BELOW

Just as I echo Fran’s comment she offered to me when I commented on her post
Showers of Blesings:
“Julie, the Spirit fills us with praise for what He is doing, though we cannot see it.
As the unseen God of all life, He works behind the scenes within the heart and spirit of man
to accomplish all His will.
We need to pray for more of His Spirit to do His work in our own hearts and lives as
He continues to work in others. Blessings for your day.

Showers of Blessing

Calls for fasting.
Calls for revival.
Calls for prayer.
Calls for a Nation to fall upon her knees.

The thread keeps running.
Will we heed the call?

“Without union with God, every attempt to strengthen the Chruch and the faith will be in vain.
Without prayer, we will be clanging cymbals.
We will sink to the level of media hypesters who make a lot of noise and produce nothing but wind.
Prayer must become our innermost respiration.
It brings us face to face with God.
Unless we place our head on the heart of Christ, like Saint John, we will not have the strength
to follow him to the Cross.
If we do not take the time to listen to the heartbeats of our God,
we will abandon him, we will betray him as the apostles themselves did.”

Robert Cardinal Sarah.