be rich not in this life, but proceed from love…

“Since love completes all, makes all hard things soft, and the difficult easy,
let us strive to make all our acts proceed from love.”

St. Arnold Janssen


(a birthday bouqute graces the dinner table / Julie Cook / 2019)

“The Devil didn’t deal out temptations to Our Lord only.
He brings these evil schemes of his to bear on each of Jesus’ servants—
and not just on the mountain or in the wilderness or when we’re by ourselves.
No, he comes after us in the city as well, in the marketplaces,
in courts of justice. He tempts us by means of others, even our own relatives.
So what must we do? We must disbelieve him altogether, and close our ears against him,
and hate his flattery.
And when he tries to tempt us further by offering us even more,
then we should shun him all the more…
We aren’t as intent on gaining our own salvation as he is intent on achieving our ruin.
So we must shun him, not with words only, but also with works;
not in mind only, but also in deed. We must do none of the things that he approves,
for in that way will we do all those things that God approves.
Yes, for the Devil also makes many promises, not so that he may give them to us,
but so that he may take away from us. He promises plunder,
so that he may deprive us of the kingdom of God and of righteousness.
He sets out treasures in the earth as snares and traps, so that he may deprive
us both of these and of the treasures in heaven.
He would have us be rich in this life, so that we may not be rich in the next.”

St. John Chrysostom, p. 152-3
An Excerpt From
Manual for Spiritual Warfare

Catching the scent

“In the aftermath of Gethsemane, we catch the fragrance of Eden”
Alister E. McGrath
excerpt from In Light of Victory

DSCN3142
(the beginning of the hydrangea / Julie Cook / 2016)

Not all things that bloom have a scent…
And some blooming plants and flowers actually have a repugnant smell.

Yet I think we may safely surmise that Eden, the birth place of all gardens, had what can only be imagined to be the most heavenly of scents.
An endless cascading array of flowers and blooms, given by the Creator to the created…
All to be savored and enjoyed…
Just as a Lover would shower his beloved with abundant bouquets of beautiful flowers…
equal only to the beauty of the one who holds his affections…so God bestowed upon man…

Yet the story does not end with the gift of the fragrant bouquet…

“Jesus was betrayed within the garden of Gethsemane, in order to undo the disobedience of human nature within the garden of Eden.
Alister E. McGrath
In Light of Victory

How appropriate that as it was a garden, which was the scene of the greatest blow to humankind, should in turn be the scene to the beginning of the greatest act of Love ever extended to humankind.

And so…
He comes once again…
bringing you the fragrant scent of the saving grace of Love Divine…

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God
among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing

2 Corinthians 2:15