A humble soul

A humble soul does not trust itself, but places all its confidence in God.
God defends the humble soul and lets Himself into its secrets,
and the soul abides in unsurpassable happiness which no one can comprehend.

St. Faustina
from The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalski


(tufted titmouse /Julie Cook / 2020)

“Always give good heed to the Word of God, whether you hear or read it in private,
or hearken to it when publicly preached: listen with attention and reverence;
seek to profit by it, and do not let the precious words fall unheeded;
receive them into your heart as a costly balsam; imitate the Blessed Virgin who
‘kept all the sayings’ concerning her Son, ‘in her heart.’
And remember that according as we hearken to and receive God’s words,
so will He hearken and receive our supplications.”

St. Francis de Sales
An Excerpt From
An Introduction to the Devout Life

a study in tense

From Holy Saturday 2017:

“To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but,
the more I reflect on it,
the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life:
we are still awaiting Easter;
we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.”

― Pope Benedict XVI, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977

“Bible teaching about the Second Coming of Christ was thought of as “doomsday” preaching.
But not anymore.
It is the only ray of hope that shines as an ever brightening beam in a darkening world.”

Billy Graham

One cannot and must not try to erase the past
merely because it does not fit the present.

Golda Meir


(the beginning cracks of life in the robin’s nest / Julie Cook / 2017)

Past
Present
Future

He was born and He lived.
He died and He was buried.
He rose and He will come again…..

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that,
just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the
body ruled by sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead,
he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives,
he lives to God.

Romans 6:3-10

using our time to the fullest

“I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those
who do not know Him or have forgotten Him.”

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini


(tufted titmouse sits on budding blueberries in the rain / Julie Cook / 20120)

“In truth, if the earth and all it contains must one day disappear by fire,
the goods of this world are no more to be esteemed than wood and straw.
What point is there, then, in making them the object of our desires and cares?
Why seek to build and leave marks of our genius and power where we have no permanent abode,
and where the form of this world will be removed,
like a tent that has no travelers to shelter?
It may be said that it will be a thousand years before this frightening cataclysm takes place;
but Christ has said that a thousand years are but an instant compared with eternity,
and when the moment comes—-when, from the land of the future life,
we are the witnesses and actors in that supreme drama—the whole span of humanity
will seem so short to us that we shall scarcely consider it to have lasted a single day…
Christ tells us to meditate upon these great teachings,
for it is certain that we shall be taken by surprise, and that the time will
come sooner than we think.”

Father Charles Arminjon, p. 28
An Excerpt From
The End of the Present World

From our turkeys to yours


(wild trukeys caught on our trail cam / Gregory Cook / 2019)

From our turkeys to yours…..

A most blessed and peace-filled Thanksgiving!

The Mayor and the Sheriff wish you all happiness…

crisis of faith or living faith…a choice

In a speech to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2011, Benedict XVI
reflected that
“The essence of the crisis of the Chruch in Europe is the crisis of faith.
If we find no answer to this…then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”

The Day is Far Spent / Cardinal Sarah


(a lone turkey feather lost in the woods / Julie Cook / 2019)

When Joseph Ratzinger speaks about a “crisis of faith”,
we should understand that he is not talking in the first place about an
intellectual or theological problem in the academic sense of the word.
He means a “living faith”, a faith that imbues and transforms life.
“If faith does not take on new life, deep conviction and real strength
from the encounter with Jesus Christ,” Benedict XVI added that day,
“then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”

This loss of the sense of faith is the deep root of the crisis of civilization
that we are experiencing.

As in the first centuries of Christianity, when the Roman Empire
was collapsing, all human institutions today sem to be on the
path of decadence.
Reflections between people, whether political, social, economic, or cultural,
are becoming difficult.
In losing the sense of God, we have undermined the foundation of all
human civilization and opened the door to totalitarian barbarity.

Human beings, separated from God, are reduced to a single dimension—
the horizontal—
and this reduction itself is one of the fundamental causes of the various forms
of totalitarianism that have had tragic consequences in the past century,
as well as the crisis of values that we see in the current situation.

By obscuring the reference to God the ethical horizon has also been obscured,
to leave room for relativism and for an ambiguous conception of
freedom which, instead of being liberating, ends by blinding
human beings to idols.

The temptation that Jesus faced in the wilderness before his public ministry
vividly symbolize which “idols” entice human beings when they do not
go beyond themselves.
Were God to lose his centrality man would lose his rightful place,
he would no longer fit into creation, into relations with others

Pope Benedict XVI
Nov 14, 2012

the daily ritual of a plover

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
― Robert Lynd


(all pictures by Julie Cook / 2019)

Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.
Psalm 104:12 ESV

“the ocean of God’s infinite vision”

“Consider God’s charity.
Where else have we ever seen someone who has been offended voluntarily paying out
his life for those who have offended him?”

St. Catherine of Siena


(A pack of plentiful piping plovers /Rosemary Beach, Fl / Julie Cook /2019)

In every contemplation, this double movement occurs:
the longing for God is fulfilled and at the same time enlarged to more consuming longing.
Any word of the Lord is sufficient to kindle in us this fire.
And this fire is the form in which human contemplation hands itself over to the Lord’s contemplation;
the small vision pours itself out into the ocean of God’s infinite vision.

Adrienne von Speyr
from Water and Spirit

The intolerance of tolerance

“Our Western Nations have both forgotten God and forgotten where they have come from.
Now they are attempting to complete the process of severing the roots of Western civilization,
destroying its root system poisoning its soil and ruining its entire spiritual,
moral and social ecology”

Os Guinness

Only a renewal of Biblical Christianity will save Western civilization…
otherwise, we are doomed to go the way of the great Roman and Greek civilizations.

David Robertson


(gulls enjoying a morning looking for fish / Rosemary Beach, Fl /Julie Cook / 2019)

It seems that our favorite cleric from down under…
you know the one…the one who use to be from merely across the pond
but who is perhaps technically now under the pond rather than across it,
has recently offered some wonderful insight into our latest cultural woe…
that being Cultural Marxism.

We’ve talked about this before.

And we’ll just keep on talking about it because it is a real and present evil..
one that is currently burrowing its way into our lives…and please note
that is a fact and not merely right-winged hysteria.

You may recall that the Rev. David Roberston resigned his post as head pastor
at St Peter’s Free Chruch (reformed Presbyterian) in Dundee, Scotland after
27 years in order to move to Sydney Australia.
He continues to write, preach and blog away just as he continues to be
what I like to call a modern-day Christian soldier…

The post that I’m referencing today is actually a post that is based on the notes used
for a recent talk, David gave at the New South Wales Parliament Round Table Forum.

He opens the post with a small disclaimer to his readers…

David states that he is a white, middle-aged male who hails from a historically
imperialistic nation.
He notes that he also has, and most likely still, considers himself a socialist
as well as a Christian.
He also extols that he went to school not to merely get a degree in hopes of
procuring a job, but rather that he went to school in order to learn.

“I think education is in and of itself a good thing and should not be about
social engineering in some kind of Brave New World dystopia.”

So I will state my own disclaimer.

I am a white, late middle-aged, woman who hails from a leading
world power, democratic nation.
I am a Christian.
I am college-educated.
And I am from the South of this said democratic nation.

I think folks like to call where I hail from the Bible belt of the Nation.
But I don’t know if that is still applicable as no one seems to be a local
anymore but rather imports.
Imports who don’t give two hoots about Bibles or belts.

I am not a socialist but rather a moralistic conservative.
I don’t know if that’s a thing or not, but it pretty much sums me up in a nutshell.
Moralistic.
Conservative.
Oh, and don’t forget, a woman.
All that girl power out there should give me points where the
moralistic and conservative aspect take points away…
or so say the current culture gods.

David pulls heavily from a couple of books for his notes.
One of the books is actually a book I’ve alo pulled heavily from as well,
Melvin Tinker’s book The Hideous Strength

I learned of this little book actually from David and his posted review of
the book some time back.
It was written in 2018 and is based on the fictional a work of C.S.Lewis of
the same title, That Hideous Strength.

The other book David pulled from is Rob Smith’s book Concocted Conspiracy or Revolutionary Reality
A book I am not familiar with.

And so yes, before we begin, we all know that I’ve written about the ills of Marxism
before just as has David…
however, David is offering us a bit of an updated timely reminder as he also throws in
the recent dangerous push of identity politics.

David notes that
“Marxist theory leads to three aims –
the abolition of private property, the abolition of the family
and the abolition of the Church.”

I think most of us over the age of 50 will agree,
all but maybe Bernie Sanders, that Marxism is a scourge.

However a scourge it may be, sadly our youthful progressive liberal culture seems
hell-bent on implementing it and won’t rest until it does—

This misguided and out of touch with reality post-Christian, progressive
youthful culture is equally supported by many of our own Democratic hopefuls
running for President of the United States, along with their fellow House
Democratic members who seem equally hell-bent on the Marxism quest.

Why am I now thinking that the word pandering must be somewhere behind all of this??

Think the Fab 4…but again, we digress.

Marxism, as history has so blatantly demonstrated, does not work– end of sentence.
Nor will it ever work in a conventionally democratic nation.
Again, end of sentence.

And once again, as previously stated, history emphatically teaches us this.

And yet we are apparently such slow learners, as well as products of amnesia,
that it appears we’ve all but forgotten our own history lessons.

Think the Soviet Union and Karl Marx.

Think 1987 as President Reagan tells the current sitting leader of
the Soviet Union, ” Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”….

It took from about 1917 until 1987 but that wall did indeed come tumbling down.
However, I fear most of our youthful progressives wouldn’t be able to
actually name said wall of which we speak, and as to why we even speak about it…
but I digress.

Oh and I forgot… we might just be able to thank our heavily angst-ridden liberal colleges
and the equally liberal professors for this lapse in history teaching as they have been
busily rewriting that very history…one event at a time.

But David explains what this lastest Marxist and totalitarian scourge will eventually
do to life as we know it if we as a society continue on this same trajectory.

Things that were once embraced will be rejected and that which was once accepted as
normal behavior will be forbidden.
Look at what the PC culture is doing, has done, to Christianity and morality
along with your right to hold on to such as sacred and true.

“Another tool is the totalitarian (as opposed to the Christian) view of tolerance.
Things which are perceived as preventing freedom or happiness cannot be tolerated.
“certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed,
certain policies cannot be exposed, certain behaviour cannot be permitted without making
tolerance an instrument for the continuation of servitude”.

Political correctness is driven by two things,
group identity and the discounting of truth as valuable.
Some groups are beyond criticism.
Some truths cannot be said.

And it appears that Christianity, the Judaeo / Christian tradition,
the traditional family, traditional Western Civilization, differing opinions,
white males, morality, truth, conservativism, etcetera…
have all fallen into that category of that which may no longer be uttered…

All the while, abortion, gender fluidity, transgenderism, fake news, liberalism, safe rooms,
LBGTQ_____ (fill in the blanks with any letter that pleases you), atheism, racism, fascism,
‘isms’ of every shape, size, and description… are all the rage as are those
who embrace such…
Embrace anything other than the aforementioned and then you my friend will be ridiculed,
sued, attacked, heckled, disgraced, run out of business, run out of town and gleefully obliterated.

Yet David offers one last piece of closing wisdom in which we all must reach…

“You cannot have the fruits of Christianity if you do not have the root of Christ.”

Cultural Marxism in Modern Society…

hope for us all…

“Where there is no obedience there is no virtue,
where there is no virtue there is no good,
where there is no good there is no love,
where there is no love, there is no God,
and where there is no God there is no Paradise.”

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


(a willet shorebird / Rosemary Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2019)

Recognition that lost periods of a life can never be returned can provoke
an intense desire to give completely to God what is yet remaining in a life.
The soul scarred by former sin is sometimes, after grace, the soul that will give without reserve.
It is not at all an exaggeration to affirm that great sinners often do become hidden saints.

Fr. Donald Haggerty
from Conversion

Aiding and abetting…

We are sinful not only because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge,
but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life.
The state in which we are is sinful, irrespective of guilt.

Franz Kafka


(a helter-skelter feeding frenzy in the surf / Rosemary Beach, FL / Julie Cook / 2019)

Our dear favorite ‘across the pond’ rouge Anglican bishop is at it again…
showcasing the egregious acts of The Chruch, not being the Church.

And how might the Church not be the Church you ask…

Well the good Bishop is explaining such through various means…
such as taking part in interviews, writing a plethora of posts as well as contributing to
various printed articles.

Below is the most recent pitch from an interview with the BBC…

The Right Reverend Dr. Gavin Ashenden, former chaplain to the Queen,
has criticised the Cathedral for making a “mockery” of God.

“Instead of allowing a Cathedral to act as a bridge between people and God’s presence,
instead it obscures it by offering to entertain and divert people,”

Next, in a recent article, as well as posting, the good bishop offers the following as a
lead-in to such observations…

Three Anglican cathedrals have set out to increase both their appeal to the public and
to get more people into the building.

One has chosen a gin festival, another has built a mini-golf course over the flagstones
where pilgrims have knelt in prayer since the 7th century, and one has built a helter-skelter
at the heart of the building.

So for those of us on this side of the pond who simply think of the Beatles or Charles Manson
when we hear or read the words ‘helter-skelter’…a helter-skelter is actually an amusement ride.

And yes you’ve read correctly…
three churches, Cathedrals for that matter,
(Cathedrals being churches that are homes to a bishop),
have literally placed an amusement ride inside the sanctuary,
while another has put in a putt-putt green down its center aisle and
still, another is offering a gin festival…
think Oktoberfest with gin rather than beer, inside of a church.

And so Bishop Ashenden makes a very hard and painfully truthful observation about
the collective Chruch…

In every generation, the Church faces a live or die challenge.
Convert or be converted.

He goes on…
Act as an agency for people to encounter the Living God and be forgiven,
turned and transformed;
or fit into the unforgiving contours of a society that is driven by other forces,
other appetites, and smear over their agenda a patina of spirituality that confers a thin
covering of political and cultural legitimacy.

Yet Bishop Ashenden, however, does not sugarcoat those darker days in the Church’s history…
because the Chruch is not spotless nor free of her own egregious actions…

“There have been moments in history when the church’s failure has been tragically treacherous.
The blessing of guns destined to kill Christian German cousins a hundred years ago in the name
of the Christ who challenged his followers to meet evil with good and turn the other
cheek still burns in the recent memory.

The unquestioning presiding over the hanging, drawing, and quartering of elderly Catholic priests
guilty of nothing more than baptizing the faithful into the Church that carried the Gospels
to these islands and celebrating discreet house masses presented as acts of national,
political treason still casts a pall of shame across our collective historical memory”.

He then explains why things that are so seemingly simple and silly as a liquor festival,
mini golf greens and amusement rides residing in the sanctuaries of a church is, in reality,
an affront, as well as a mockery, to all that is Holy…

When Jesus went to the cross to bear the sins of humanity he faced not only murder,
but mockery.
The soldiers had fun at his expense, before they killed him.

Both guns and scaffolds have been the instrumentation of murder, but mockery
is no more acceptable just because it is not murder.
The trouble with the helter-skelter and the pitch and putt is that to anyone
with a sense of what Rudolf Otto called ‘the Holy” they constitute an offence
of some gravity.

The good Bishop explains that we are surrounded by a world full of distractions.
Everything is now vying, very loudly, for our attention.
We are consumed and have allowed that ‘still small Voice’ to be drained
from our being…

However, it was always the Chruch, our refuge, which afforded us the necessary quietude
and stillness in order to reconnect and to truly hear and feel that Voice while being
allowed to fall at the feet of that very Voice both in our need and in our joy.

We live in a culture addicted to distraction and pleasure-seeking.
The dynamics of this are potent antidotes to experiencing the presence of God.
They are everywhere.
We experience a saturation of stimulation and distraction in everyday life.
It is almost if the pace and pleasure of life set out to make reflection and prayer impossible.

The one place one might be free of this could be, ought to be a cathedral.

But for such a place, steeped in mystery and marvel to buy in[to] sensory pleasure and distraction
is to poison the very medicine it offers the human soul.
It cracks the exquisite mirror it holds up before the presence of God; it drowns out the still,
small voice, that Elijah encountered and adored.

And thus the dear Bishop reminds us that we are currently witnessing our own rapid
loss to what is in actuality our innate need for the Sacred.
As the very place where the Sacred could and should be found is in reality,
aiding and abetting in that very loss…

Please read and hear the good Bishop’s words in the following links…

Convert or be converted – the challenge for Anglican cathedrals today.

Golf, ego and awe. An interview with Gavin Ashenden on BBC radio about cathedrals and pitch and putt. What ARE they for?