Good reminders…

“The closer one approaches to God,
the simpler one becomes.”

St. Teresa of Avila


(a walk around a mountain lake / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Prayer is the duty of every moment.
We ought always to pray, said our Lord.
And what He said, He did; therein lay His great power.
Action accompanied His words and corresponded with them.
We must pray always in order to be on our guard.
Our life, both of body and soul, our natural and supernatural life,
is like a fragile flower.
We live surrounded by enemies.
Ever since man rejected the Light that was meant to show him the way,
everything has become for us an obstacle and a danger;
we live in the shadow of death.”

Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 9
An Excerpt From
The Prayer of the Presence of God


(orange jewelweed / Julie Cook / 2021)

“If, then, we wish to persevere and to be saved—for no one can be
saved without perseverance—we must pray continually.
Our perseverance depends, not on one grace,
but on a thousand helps which we hope to obtain from
God during our whole lives,
that we may be preserved in his grace.
Now, to this chain of graces a chain of prayers on our
part must correspond: without these prayers,
God ordinarily does not grant his graces.
If we neglect to pray, and thus break the chain of prayers,
the chain of graces shall also be broken, and we shall lose the
grace of perseverance.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 201
An Excerpt From
The Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori

what is your heart’s desire?

“God does not fit in an occupied heart.”
St. John of the Cross


(waning sunflowers / Julie Cook / 2021)

God then directs these words to you:
If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free
from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit;
turn away from evil and do good;
let peace be your quest and aim.

Saint Benedict
from The Rule of Saint Benedict

***taking the week off from technology… or as best I can.
Off on adventure with the Mayor and Sheriff

caricature of freedom

The church is not primarily a political organisation.
We’re a religious organisation.
There’s a much greater opportunity.

Cardinal George Pell


(bumble bee visits a purple cone flower/ Julie Cook / 2021)

caricature:
noun: caricature; plural noun: caricatures
a picture, description, or imitation of a person in which certain striking
characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.

verb: caricature; 3rd person present: caricatures; past tense:
caricatured; past participle: caricatured; gerund or present participle:
caricaturing make or give a comically or grotesquely exaggerated representation
of (someone or something).

“True freedom is not advanced in the permissive society,
which confuses freedom with license to do anything whatever
and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality.
It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize
their lives with no reference to moral values,
and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection
and advancement of ethical values.
Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace.”

Pope John Paul II

My heart shall become your heart (a re-post)

****I read a marvelous post yesterday over on Mel Wild’s site, In My Father’s House.
Here’s a link to the post:
https://melwild.wordpress.com/2021/06/29/compassion-more-than-all-our-doing/

Mel spoke about compassion—the compassion of Christ…
In his post, Mel examined the latest episode of The Chosen…the same episode
I had also discussed earlier in the week regarding Mary’s falling backwards…

As the storyline played out, we saw how Mary felt that Jesus would
never give her a second chance, not after she turned away from Him and that initial healing.
How could He?
He’d healed her once and here she’d turned away from that healing
and fell back into her old familiar and damaging ways.

But in that encounter between Savior and sinner, we see a deep
and unending compassion.

That touched a deep chord with me.

Falling and failing, over and over…
and yet we are only met, time and time again, with three simple words.
“I forgive you”

Here is a post I offered back in 2014.
7 years have passed…much has happened in my life
and in the life of our country in those past 7 years.

Yet the same need and desire remains….

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time,
so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work.
I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!!
I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman,
but to KILL IT! No half measures will do.
I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there;
rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me,
the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams.
Turn them ALL over to me,
give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image.
Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself.
My will, shall become your will.
My heart, shall become your heart.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


(Orchid / Julie Cook / 2014)

Oh that this strong request of yours could only be answered with a swift response of “yes.”
That I could and would whole heartedly shout at the top of my lungs
YES!!
YES!
I will give you myself.
All of myself.
I shall hold nothing back.
I am yours.
Yes, take all of me.

Yet, this demand of yours, this most intimate demand from the purest essence of Love,
is meet by my hesitation, my doubts, my frozen in time inability to immediately scream “yes.”
I hesitate.
Why?
I stumble over the words.
I hold back.

You reassure me.
You make me a promise
You have proven the promise.
And yet, I balk.
The “I” must be broken
Why can’t I let go?
Why won’t the “I” let go?
Am I afraid of being broken?
Being broken by you would be so much better than remaining whole as the captive of “I”
Still I find the words unable to slip from my mouth.

You sense my hesitation.
You see my reluctance.
You take my hand.
Suddenly, within that single touch, there is a cosmic explosion which shakes the very foundation of my world.
At the very moment you touch me, there is something so overpowering, something so beautiful which takes places.
I have never felt this before.
A connection
A oneness
It’s as if the brokeness, which I never fully comprehended, is immediately made whole.

And just as quickly as our hands meet, I pull away.
I look away.
It’s all too much.
I can’t.
If you honestly knew, knew everything, you’d walk away
You should walk away.
Others are better than I.
Others have not done the things I have done.
The things I am ashamed for you to discover.
You really don’t want me.
You really don’t know me
You really don’t know. . .

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not,
for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.

(Isaiah 43:1-28)

The love song plays out,
You reveal everything I’ve hidden.
I am ashamed and want to turn away.
Yet you continue watching.
There is only acceptance in your eyes.
Pieces of a broken heart lay scattered on the floor.
You pick up the pieces, putting them back together,
handing me the final piece.

Again, You extend your hand.
You whisper my name.
“My heart shall become your heart” you whisper ever so gently–
“You will be mine and I will be yours” for all of eternity
Love lies bare and open between us.
“Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!
(Song of Solomon 4:1)
I hear those words flowing from your heart.
A heart that has broken for me.
“Yes”
“Yes”
The word now slowly falling from my mouth.
Take me as I am and make me yours.
All that was is suddenly no more.
I will give you my heart…
I want nothing more than for my heart to now become your heart…
as the last piece of the puzzle is finally put back in place.

something beyond

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.
To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

St. Thomas Aquinas


(a sunflower head prepares to give up its seeds / Julie Cook / 2021)

“I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity
seems at first to be all about morality,
all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue,
yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond.
One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things…
Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness
as a mirror is filled with light.”

C.S. Lewis, p. 149
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

time marches forward or does it?

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


(time’s toll on a sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

Not much time to chat due to grandparent duties but I did want
to squeeze in a thought that has been percolating in my brain…

That being the thought of history and time.

Pretty deep and vast subject matter I know, but
perhaps the point of this percolating is more subtle and succinct
then the topics themselves.

I have to admit that, years back, when I got my first Apple computer along
with an eventual iPhone, I began to utilize the e-calendars on those devices.

Traditionally I had kept a wall calendar at home as well as in my classroom.
Never one to use one of those notebook planner / organizers that
Stephen Covey made so popular in the 1980’s, I stored most dates in my head.

I tried planners but I was not dutiful when it came to working in them
as one was expected. I was usually on the move, so much so, that storing
things in my head just worked for me.

And that head system of mine worked pretty well throughout my tenure
as a teacher until I began to notice that I would miss a hair appointment here
or a meeting there…getting days and weeks a bit skewed.

We call that age.

So wall calendars were big with me…

Once technology began to trickle into both my professional and personal life,
the electronic calendars were quite handy as I especially liked the alert
systems allowing my device to alert me as to an upcoming appointment.

However I was a little peeved when I realized Apple had pre-inserted various
“holidays” onto the calendars.

Some “holidays” I knew, some I did not.

Now I understood having the biggie National holidays marked
as most business, banks and post offices are to be closed.

And it was good to see where days, say like, Thanksgiving or July 4th,
were going to fall during a week when it came to planning time off,
trips or family gatherings.

And I suppose having Ground Hog day pre-marked is a good thing
if you like using a giant rodent as a weatherman…
yet in our family, having that date marked was good because it also happened
to be Aunt Martha’s birthday.

However I have to admit that there were a few “holidays” that I would
have preferred having the option to delete as they were
not pertinent to me and my world.

When I first saw Juneteenth, marked on June 19th, I had no idea as to
what that was all about.
It seemed so random.
Was it some sort of millennial thing that I was not privy to…?

Well naturally, I needed to investigate.

As a one time history major…
how did some things ever seem to elude my studies?

Or was it merely presented as a different name as the notion of a Juneteenth was indeed more new to me than old?

Juneteenth it seems, marked a day for the emancipation of enslaved
African Americans.

Ahh—well….
So why not just call it Emancipation Day?
And so through my investigating, I discovered that it was indeed referred to
as Emancipation Day in Texas as well as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day or
Liberation day…

I think I like Jubilee Day the best as that is indeed something to
have been jubilant over!

So now I get it.

But what I don’t get, is why there are now groups of folks out there
who are saying that July 4th should no longer be relevant…??!!

There are sectors now claiming that America’s day of Independence should
not be recognized.
As in July 4th is not a day of liberation from tyranny…
They are saying that it is not a day of independence
for black, brown, red or yellow Americans…

Now I’ve written long and hard about the importance of a
young Nation’s fight for independence.
That that initial fight for freedom was but the beginning of
many freedom fights to come.
One begetting but another.

I’ve written about how Betsy Ross and her flag were not and are
not symbols of racism—as she was both a pacifist as well
as an abolitionist.

Here’s a link to that previous post:
https://wordpress.com/post/cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/28222

And I noted in that previous post..
“Slavery was not a new problem to a new Nation.
Nor was it a problem created by the new Nation.

It had been a form of “free labor” used by other Nations long before
there were 13 colonies and even before there had been a new land.

And the Quakers (of which Betsy Ross belonged) were actually
one of the first religious groups to denounce the ownership of slaves
and vocally oppose the practice of slavery.

Betsy Ross, the Continental Congress, and the new flag had nothing to do with racism
or slavery…end of sentence.”

So when I read or hear of certain groups out there clamoring that
July 4th is not representative to all Americans or that it is
not a day that all Americans should recognize as a day of this Nation’s
independence…well I get a bit rankled.

Like I say…that fight for freedom set in motion more freedom fights
to come.

And so when I hear such talk, I feel it’s important to remind
folks of a few facts…
Facts like Betsy Ross, along with the flag she created to be carried
by the Revolutionary soldiers, had nothing to do with the new
hot button word, racism.

Or the little fact that men, both black and white, actually had the
right to vote long before any color of women.

So after a hard fought emancipation, came a suffrage movement…
where eventually all Americans were afforded the privilege to vote in
free and open elections.

But hearing so much talk these days about separating black from white…
I just don’t understand.

Wasn’t the quest for emancipation to have all people in this country
living free and on equal footing with one another?
Having the same sorts of opportunities—not hand outs but
opportunities??

And in turn, didn’t generations before today’s new angry and woke generation,
fight hard to bring about that same equal footing???—was it not their desire
for the divisiveness and strife to end??

And yet today, are we not seeing a backwards trend?

Rather than the hopes and toil of all those Americans, of all colors,
in previous generations who labored just so you and I could work side by side
in a Nation that is both by the people and for the people…we now
have a new generation who wants to go back to separations and division…
back to hate and immense anger…

The unity so many fought for and even died for…is now unraveling before
our very eyes…
May it not be so.

As we ready for another year’s Day of Independence may we remember
to honor all those men and women of all backgrounds, both past and present,
who made, and continue to make, the ultimate sacrifice for our ability
to be free…
and sadly that freedom seems to now be a matter of fussing and cussing with
one another…

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry

can you ask God to break your heart

“Prayer is the best armor we have,
it is the key which opens the heart of God.”

St. Padre Pio


(a beautiful rose / Julie Cook / 2021)

“May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”
Mother Teresa

Yesterday I made mention that prayer is about the only thing we all truly have..
the only real lifeline that remains…

And so as I was reading that quote about prayer by Mother Teresa, I
had to ask myself…could I pray that prayer?
Could I ask that big question…would I be willing,
like Mother Teresa, to ask that God break my heart so completely
that the world may fall in?

Am I willing to let go of self, my life, my world…
so much so that I could pray that God would break me, allowing Him
to flow into my entire being?
Am I willing to let go and let God?

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

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

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