practice prayer…

“A soul which does not practice the exercise of prayer is very like a paralyzed body which,
though possessing feet and hands, makes no use of them.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori


(baby morning glories found in the woods /Julie Cook / 2019_

[Today] invite Jesus to heal you and to touch any hurt or sadness.
Invite Him to help you walk in forgiveness.
Ask Him for the graces you need to respond in faith to what He revealed to you.
Ask Him to help you live out His love toward others.

Karen L. Dwyer, Ph.D. & Lawrence A. Dwyer, JD
from WRAP Yourself in Scripture

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Be silent and worry not

“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you,
remember Christ crucified and be silent.”

St. John of the Cross


(a blooming gardenia / Julie Cook / 2019)

“Avoid worrying, then, about anything else for your children except whatever may contribute
to bringing them up virtuously. For the rest, having entrusted them to God,
try to see what His will for them is, to help them along the path in life He has chosen for them.
Never be afraid of relying too much on Him, but rather seek always to increase your trust
more and more, for this is the most pleasing homage you can pay Him and it will be the
measure of the graces you will receive.
Little or much will be given you according as you have expected little or much.”

St. Claude De La Columbiere, p.46
An Excerpt From
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

freedom of speech or cultural marxism part II…hummm

“The shape of sadness is universal:
Christ represents it in his affliction and shouldering of the world’s sin and pain…
Each of your pains, however seemingly inconsequential to others, is part of a
fractal pattern with Christ’s pain; you suffer in him, he suffers in you and with you.
In prayer, your pains are raised from your shoulders.
They rise to God and say: The world needs to be closer to you.”

Sally Read
from Annunciation


(blossoming St John’s Wort / Julie Cook / 2019)

Time has certainly been getting away from me as of late…
for a million and one crazy reasons…

All good reasons mind you, of which I will share at a later date…
But blessedly I actually found a few spare moments, day before yesterday,
in order to read that day’s latest from one of our two favorites…
those two across the pond clerics.
The latest post–
“In Defence of Freedom of Speech”

Freedom of speech seems to be so much the talk these days does it not…

However, I fear that the current notion of freedom of speech is a far cry from, dare we say,
from what was meant in our Constitution or by our founding fathers.
(ode to those white men of old…)

Yet sadly, or perhaps blessedly, we know that misery loves company…
And so it should come as no surprise to those of us here in the US that we are not the
only ones who are contending with the idea of freedom of speech…

As freedom of speech is pretty much at the cornerstone foundation for all democracies.

And therefore are we surprised that the United Kingdom is also wrestling with
the new cultural definition of ‘freedom of speech?’

So much so that it has warranted a direct response from our favorite
rouge Anglican Bishop.

Our dear bishop begins his post by recounting that two individuals who he has often
greatly enjoyed listening to over the years, whether he agreed with their views or not,
have recently been banned from speaking on college campuses in the UK.

One being the renowned feminist Germaine Greer.

Banned not because she is a feminist mind you, but banned because she has differing views
regarding transsexuality then what our culture’s current universities and colleges now hold
as gospel.

And because Ms. Greer does not condone this particular lifestyle, she is now persona non grata
on the progressive liberal campuses of higher learning.
It seems that many of the ardent founders of ‘feminism’ argue that such lifestyle choices
are actually detrimental to the feminist movement, yet try telling the new culture police
that such thinking is actually truthful.

So, I suppose we shouldn’t be shocked that the 21st-century culture police are speaking from
both sides of their mouths…
They chant ‘freedom of speech’ as long as your speech or mine matches their speech.
If not…menaing if our speech is indeed different from their own,
then our “freedom” is revoked.

Because you see, to them, these culture gods of the 21st centruy, there is but one freedom of speech
and that is their speech and their speech alone.

The good bishop asks “so what is happening in our society that free speech
is being closed down.
We need to know who the enemy of free speech is.”

Well, what they are trying to do is to create a society that is a far cry from what our nation,
or any democracy for that matter was founded upon.

Bishop Ashenden notes “I hate the fact that Charlie Hebdo published ghastly cartoons of
the Virgin Mary on their cover. But no Christian threatened to murder them to silence them.

Because Christians are dedicated to an idea of ‘God’ that is rooted in the quest for truth.

If you believe that ultimate reality grows out of Truth
(it grows out of Love as well, of course) you can never afford to stifle speech.

Instead you have to weigh and sift it and let it tell you what its true character is.
It’s a great regret that there have been times when Christians, having gained power,
lost their confidence in the truth and shut others up.
But it usually happened when the Church got muddled up with the state.”

And so the good bishop asks again,
“so who are the enemies today of free speech, and what are they trying to do?”

And we only have to look back to Karl Marx to begin to understand our answers…

“It is no longer about the haves and the have-nots;
it’s about the oppressors and the oppressed.
It’s about making them ‘equal’.
It’s all about the redistribution of power.
So to do that you have to take power away from those who have it.
Generally this is mainly white men.

Whenever you hear someone railing against white men, you know the cultural
Marxist has broken cover.

But the oppressor can change in the blink of an eye –
because power relations are all relative.”

Please find the good bishop’s full post, his most insightful observation about a dear commodity
that we now find in jeopardy, here:

In defence of Freedom of Speech.                                           Gavin Ashenden 

Even when overwhelmed…. always try to make things less bad.

“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds…
What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.”
St. Thomas More


(a gulf fritillary butterfly visits the Pentas / Julie Cook / 2019)

Whether it is doubt, despair, uncertainty, a burden, a heartache, a loss, an accident
a sorrow, even the saints have asked…”Where is Jesus”
It is in the depths of the misery and wondering and questioning that we must continue to make
things a little less bad…

We can never know what other people experience before the Blessed Sacrament.
Some people will say they feel ‘nothing’, and this is not wrong.
In Adoration, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once wrote on a piece of paper,
‘Father, please pray for me—-where is Jesus?’, and passed it to the priest at the front.
She, who had had direct inspirations from God in prayer, spent decades in a dark night
where she could not feel his presence.
Remember: he owns the veil.

Sally Read
Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World

Teach me…

“When you pray, you only have to ask for two things:
You should ask for the light to see the will of God,
and you have to ask for the courage to be able to do the will of God.”

Venerable Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz


(buckeye butterfly rests on the viburnum / Julie Cook / 2019)

“My great God, you know all that is in the universe, because you yourself have made it.
It is the very work of your hands. You are omniscient, because you are omnicreative.
You know each part, however minute, as perfectly as you know the whole.
You know mind as perfectly as you know matter.
You know the thoughts and purposes of every soul as perfectly as if there were no other
soul in the whole of your creation. You know me through and through;
all my present, past, and future are before you as one whole.
You see all those delicate and evanescent motions of my thought which altogether escape myself.
You can trace every act, whether deed or thought, to its origin and can follow it into its
whole growth and consequences. You know how it will be with me at the end;
you have before you that hour when I shall come to you to be judged.
How awful is the prospect of finding myself in the presence of my judge!
Yet, O Lord, I would not that you should not know me.
It is my greatest stay to know that you read my heart.
Oh, give me more of that openhearted sincerity which I have desired.
Keep me ever from being afraid of your eye, from the inward consciousness that I am not
honestly trying to please you.
Teach me to love you more, and then I shall be at peace,
without any fear of you at all.”

Bl. John Henry Newman, p.150
An Excerpt from
Everyday Meditations

revealing God

“We are placed in our different ranks and stations,
not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him.
As Christ has worked, we too have but to labor in them for Him.
As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do his work,
we must rejoice in ours also.”

St. John Neumann


(black-eyed susans / Julie Cook / 2019)

God always gives himself in a concrete sign, in an image.
The whole of creation is an image of God; he speaks in it.
The image that definitively reveals God is Christ.

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn
from God Sent His Son

endure the hatred of those he loves…

Suffering is part of Jesus’ mission.
His power to effect conversion stems from the fact that he is ready to endure the hatred of those he loves.
He can conquer this hatred only by a love that is all the greater, a love that is stronger than death.

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn
from The Evangelizing Parish


(magnolia bloom / Julie Cook / 2019)

Reading on and off of the back and forth tit for tat regarding Chrisitan suffering vs joy…
I have concluded that in this life we will most certainly know both.

It matters not what side of the fence you claim…both will find us eventually.

We will suffer and we will rejoice.

And we just always pray that we will rejoice a great deal more than we should ever suffer.

But both are part and parcel to living.

And as odd as it may seem…some of us are simply prone to one of the two more so than the other.
Why that is, only our Creator can say.

Yet there are lessons to be found in both of our times of joy and in our times of suffering.

It’s just that during those suffering moments, learning lessons or finding truths revealed
during such a time, is not top on the list as much as it is to simply remove the suffering.

So it came as no surprise that I was moved when reading Cardinal Schönborn’s words…
that suffering was a part of Jesus’ mission…
and the fact that he endured the hatred of those he loved..loved despite and through the
hate He knew existed…thus a ‘suffering’ of abiding love meets a wall of hate.

How many of us can do such?
To love in spite of reciprocal hate?

No easy task.

But imagine…imagine if we met the hate that stares us in the face with only
love.
Boy…how this world could be so different.

But I’ll be the first to admit, that it seems to be our human nature to rile
against that which opposes us on such a very deep level.
It is almost instinctive to have that knee jerk eye for an eye mentality.

Hate for hate is easy is it not?

May we pray that we would rather offer love for hate.

“Helping a person in need is good in itself.
But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done.
If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty,
then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed.
This is because he will feel beholden to you.
If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully.
The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help,
but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help.
And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity
are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.”

St. John Chrysostom