refuge found in a memory

“The Lord manifests Himself to those who stop for some time in peace and humility of heart.
If you look in murky and turbulent waters, you cannot see the reflection of your face.
If you want to see the face of Christ, stop and collect your thoughts in silence,
and close the door of your soul to the noise of external things.”

St. Anthony of Padua


(a statue to Saint Anthony in the small chapel of St. Blasiuskirche, Salzburg, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012)

When I first read the quote that I’ve opted to use today,
I was immediately transported to a different time and place…
and to a previous post.

It was 2012 and I had recently retired from 31 years of teaching—I was also preparing
to embark on an arduous journey with my elderly father…how arduous, I had no idea,
but I knew life was changing and I knew it was not going to be for the better.

My aunt, another friend, and I had all embarked on a bit of an adventure
during that fall of 2012.
It was a wonderful trip which holds some very precious and treasured memories…
especially since my aunt is no longer with us.

Yet during that trip, there were a couple of very special moments that have stayed
near to my heart…and one thing I’ve learned over the years,
adventures offer lessons.

And so I looked back at that original post and found that the serenity that I had experienced
during that adventure, and later in the writing of the post,
I realized that I greatly needed to relive, as well as share, again, that
peaceful gratitude I found one quiet fall afternoon.

And so here is that post from October 2013 about a warm fall afternoon in 2012
in Salzburg, Austria:

The deep groaning and creaking sound of the huge ancient wooden door being pulled open
echoes loudly throughout the small yet cavernous chapel.
It must be the vaulted ceiling helping to carry the sound deep into the hallowed room.
The burning votives cast an otherworldly glow.
There is a lingering scent of incense mixed with the musty dampness.

There is a lone figure, an older woman, kneeling at one of the front pews…
her rosary woven through her fingers, moving ever so slightly,
bead per bead as she silently makes her petitions before the small statue.

I once heard it put that religion was just something for old women and children.
Pity that…as that must mean that older women and children are the only ones
who “get it”…everyone else must be too vain, too prideful, and too arrogant
to truly understand.

My eyes begin to adjust to the lack of lighting as the cool air is a welcomed feeling
against the late afternoon Autumn warmth outside.
I walk slowly, quietly, reverently down the small aisle,
my hand resting on the smooth wooden end cap of each pew, as I make my way to my seat of choice.
I kneel slightly, the genuflection of reverence, before slipping into the pew.

I’m not Catholic but raised Anglican–yet I oddly welcome and greatly appreciate the nuances
of ancient worship–-more than would be expected from my raising.
There is a deep mystery that I believe many in our mainstream churches miss.
This Christianity of ours is an ancient faith but that is too sadly forgotten in this age
of the technologically savvy megachurch.
The ancient components of worship seem lost on those now sitting in stadium type seating waiting,
as if ready for the latest blockbuster to begin,
to be wowed not by participation but by passive viewing.

Despite my pained attempts to muffle my movements,
each step, each rustle of my jacket, causes deep reverberations through this ancient room,
I feel very conspicuous even though just one other person is present.
She never wavers from her intense focus to her prayerful conversation.
She is oblivious to my presence.

I take in my surroundings before dropping to my knees.
The chapel is hundreds of years old as worship here dates back to the 1200s.
Dark wood paneling with cream-colored walls.
Arched vaults line the ceiling with stone columns systematically placed,
acting as supports, creating the aisles throughout the room.
This is not one of the beautifully bright and light Rococoesque churches of Austria
that the tourists clammer to enter in order to view famous paintings,
statues and frescos with ornate altars boasting a multitude of plaster cherubs
heralding glad tidings.
This chapel is small, dark, ancient, and humble.
Perhaps that is why I was drawn inside.

I slip down to my knees as I make the sign of the cross.
I begin my “conversation”—-it is one of thanksgiving and gratitude as a tremendous sense
of warmth and contentment engulfs me.
I then begin my petitions—-not for myself,
but for those I love who are not with me on this particular journey.
After some time, I open my eyes.
How long had I been praying?
I rest in the moment as a tremendous sense of safety and peace washes over me–-it is almost palpable.

Am I a tourist or a pilgrim? I like to think that when I travel, I am a pilgrim.
I want to not merely observe, but rather, I want to partake…
I want to be a part of each moment in time.
I am not here to watch an old Austrian woman in prayer,
watching from the shadows of an ancient chapel as some sort of voyeuristic individual
or as someone viewing animals in an enclosure,
but rather I want to pray beside her to the same God who hears each of our prayers.
I am in communion with her even though she never glances my way.
I want to appreciate this chapel that is a part of her daily life,
wishing I too had such a special and reverent place of retreat.

The history here is so old as countless individuals previously have gathered
here to worship, to seek, to lament, to rejoice.
I slowly rise from my knees slipping out of the pew.
I make my way to the small alter to pick up a fresh votive.
I gently touch the fresh wick to one of the existing burning flames–my hand slightly shakes.
I feel the warm heat against my cheeks rising from the candles.
I place my lit votive in an empty slot silently thanking Saint Anthony
and God for this time of communion with not only them but with this woman
who never seems to notice my presence.

I am grateful.
I slip a few coins into the small metal locked box by the door.
I make my way back outside, into the light.
It almost hurts my eyes as it is now so sunny and bright.
The sounds of the throngs of people on the streets are almost painful to my ears.
This is Oktoberfest, the streets and alleyways are teeming with a sea of people.

For a brief moment, I had a glimpse of the Divine.
I feel different for the encounter.
Changed.
Better.
Not in an arrogant sort of way but more in the way that I have been fortunate
to be privy to something so rich and so special.
I look out at all of the throngs of people reveling in this historic and exciting
city during this raucous time. I slightly smile inward thinking that I hold a special
secret that no one else knows…no one other than that older woman back in the chapel
and myself.

the distortion of discernment—I think we call it fear

“. . . we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil,
death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”.
We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the
midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it,
with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally
pro-life.”

(Evangelium Vitae)
Pope John Paul II


(detail of a painting I did 11 years ago/ Julie Cook)

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of distortion is:
the act of twisting or altering something out of its true, natural,
or original state

The definition of discernment is:
the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure

After reading Oneta’s post yesterday over on Sweet Aroma, I was moved
in wanting to echo her thoughts regarding her topic Roe v Wade and the
near cataclysmic and apocalyptic affect the notion of a new Supreme Court justice,
who happens to be a practicing Catholic and mother to seven, is having on the
Democratic party and those who are ardent Pro-Choice supporters.

Here is the link to Oneta’s post
REVIEW NOT WANTED

The entire fiasco taking place in this very public and radically vicious and divisive
confirmation hearing over the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is not based
on the merit of her time spent in court nor of the legal training or arduous education
she labored over in order to become a lawyer and judge, but rather,
it is over one simple thing…that thing, being fear.

It is the fear that a legal precedent determined in a court case in 1973 will be
automatically reversed.
As in POOF…should she be appointed to the bench, the henny penny folks
are thinking that suddenly a ruling from 1973 becomes null and void.

It doesn’t work that way folks.

Yet it is fear that is driving this train.
Fear for and over both life and death.

I thought I’d google quotes for the phrase “the sanctity of life”

One would think that Goodreads or even brainyquote, two of the top sites when one
is searching for a quote, would have tons of good quotes…but oddly
both had a mere handful—mostly obscure, a smattering of the well known, and
several of those in favor of population control.

I did not see the quotes by those who I knew in the past had spoken out very strongly
on that very thought.
And if memory serves me well, I had found those quotes among those very sites in past years.

My number one thought being Pope John Paul II…Mother Teresa coming in second.
I had to go back and google quotes by JPII just to find his words
on the subject…and find them I did.

I am still baffled by those who call themselves Catholic in faith and yet defend and even
promote the very idea of abortion…
How can you call yourself a Catholic and voice support for things that
are totally opposed to the tenents of your faith?

Or how can you call yourself a Christian and support the things that are
totally opposed to the command of God?

Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are two that come to mind.
Catholic in name only—and if I recall, such a person is usually not
allowed to receive Holy Communion—for to oppose the doctrine of the Church
is to cut one’s self from the Chruch.

The following are a few of Pope John Paul’s thoughts regarding the
sactity of life—both for the unborn as well as for the dying.

“A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members;
and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.”

(Address to the New Ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See May 25, 2000)

“As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
(Homily, Perth, Australia, Nov. 30, 1986)

“No country on earth, no political system can think of its own future otherwise
than through the image of these new generations that will receive from their parents
the manifold heritage of values, duties and aspirations of the nation to which they
belong and of the whole human family. Concern for the child, even before birth,
from the first moment of conception and then throughout the years of infancy and youth,
is the primary and fundamental test of the relationship of one human being to another.”

(Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations Oct. 2, 1979)

“Every individual, precisely by reason of the mystery of the Word of God Who was
made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14), is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church.
Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the
Church’s very heart;
it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation
of the Son of God, and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of life
in all the world and to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15).”

(Evangelium Vitae)

“Not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to
be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing,
but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself,
darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning,
is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in
what concerns the basic value of human life.”

(Evangelium Vitae)

Pluck up your courage

Now a Catholic is a person who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that something else may be wiser than he is.
G.K. Chesterton
from In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton
(Acorns /Rosemary Beach /Julie Cook / 2020)

I think that we could easily insert the word “Christian” in Chersterton’s quote verses the word “Catholic” because that’s what we as Christians do…we believe that there is indeed something and Someone who is indeed much wiser than ourselves.

And for the record, I am still managing to navigate this “new” WP format. I am not a fan of the boxes that hem in the quotes that I paste into the body of the post but… I will continue to see if I can manage to keep the text body fonts the same…and if not…well, we’ll just take the good with the bad.

That’s a concept that many folks in this nation of ours care not to think about, let alone do…that being, taking the good with the bad.

“What is this brightness—with which God fills the soul of the just—but that clear knowledge of all that is necessary for salvation? He shows them the beauty of virtue and the deformity of vice. He reveals to them the vanity of the world, the treasures of grace, the greatness of eternal glory, and the sweetness of the consolations of the Holy Spirit. He teaches them to apprehend the goodness of God, the malice of the evil one, the shortness of life, and the fatal error of those whose hopes are centered in this world alone. Hence the equanimity of the just. They are neither puffed up by prosperity nor cast down by adversity.’A holy man’, says Solomon, ‘continueth in wisdom as the sun, but a fool is changed as the moon.’ (Ecclus. 27:12). Unmoved by the winds of false doctrine, the just man continues steadfast in Christ, immoveable in charity, unswerving in faith.”
Venerable Louis Of Grenada, p. 135
An Excerpt From
The Sinner’s Guide

it’s all metaphysics…or is that Greek??

I devote my very rare free moments to a work that is close to my heart and devoted
to the metaphysical sense and mystery of the person.
It seems to me that the debate today is being played out on that level.
The evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation,
indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person.
This evil is even much more of the metaphysical order than of the moral order.
To this disintegration planned at times by atheistic ideologies we must oppose,
rather than sterile polemics, a kind of ‘recapitulation’ of the
inviolable mystery of the person.

(In his continuing struggle against Marxism in Poland after the Second Vatican Council,
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla identified the doctrine of the person as the Achilles’ heel of the Communist regime.
He decided to base his opposition on that plank.
In 1968 he wrote to his Jesuit friend, the future Cardinal Henri de Lubac

John Paul II and The Mystery of The Human Person, Avery Dulles)


(detail of Socrates and Aritstole from the School of Athens by Raphael / The Vatican)

Metaphysics: noun, plural in form but singular in construction
1. a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of
reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology
metaphysics … analyzes the generic traits manifested by existences of any kind

When it comes to metaphysics, well, it’s all pretty much Greek to me.
get it…Greek?? HAHAHA…

In all seriousness, it is such thinking, those of the various schools of philosophy,
that can push my poor brain to the limit.

That whole ‘if no one is around to hear it when a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?’
Well, duh…yes, yes it does…
I think we call it vibrations and sound waves but I digress.
Why even waste breath and time debating such??

However, man has always debated the world around him as well as debating his
very own interior being.

My son was a philosophy minor…and yes, I thought he was off his rocker.
But philosophy is very connected to the study of religion so I took pride
knowing that he was there to defend the faith of the Triune God in today’s very very hostile
area of thought regarding Christianity.

The pharse Cogito, ergo sum comes to mind…
I think therefore I am…uttered by René Descartes,

But I say no to that thought…it’s more like when I get poison ivy…I itch therefore I am.
That’s how you know.
A physical reaction to and from an outside source…but again, I digress.

I was afforded a bit of uninterrupted quiet time yesterday morning and I actually listened
to a brief podcast offered by the British periodical The Spectator.
The podcast was a discussion between my newest favorite Catholic, Dr. Gavin Ashenden (aka our dear
favorite former Anglican Bishop) and British journalist, Damian Thompson

This is the written intro for the discussion:
Boris Johnson’s package of Covid restrictions announced this week included
a rule that weddings will be limited to 15 people and funerals to 30 –
numbers plucked out of thin air that will have questionable effect
on the transmission of the virus.
You might think that a ruling that affects only weddings and funerals
isn’t such a big deal for the churches, but that is to underestimate the fanatical zeal
of their leaders for implementing, and expanding, restrictions on their own worship.
The control-freak Archbishop of Canterbury, predictably,
seemed quite thrilled by the government’s intervention.
My own reaction, informed by conversations with many clergy outraged by their
bishops’ baffling willingness to accept any curtailment of church life,
was to wonder whether some Christians will be forced to ‘go underground’ –
that is, find a way of worshipping that quietly disobeys their own leaders.
To an extent this is already happening: at the height of the pandemic,
Catholics were holding secret Masses that reminded me of their ancestors’
defiance of Protestant penal laws.
I didn’t report it because I didn’t want them hunted down by their own ‘fathers in God’,
the local bishops.
So that’s the subject of this week’s Holy Smoke,
a very wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Gavin Ashenden of the sort that you
would never hear on the BBC.

What I took away from listening to the discussion was that our friend Dr. Ashenden
finds that this whole control and resist mindset regarding the restrictions
placed on us by our leaders regarding COVID boils down to something quite
simple…

We can go out to eat, we can go to stores, we can get a haircut, we can visit a liquor store,
and in limited numbers, we may attend a wedding as well as a funeral…
however, only 15 can go celebrate a wedding while 30 can go celebrate the passing of a life—
odd numbering given life vs death, but I am obviously not in leadership.

And yet…our worship services are being curtailed, canceled, or simply
shut down.
And therein lies much of the frustration.

Will the faithful eventually find themselves in the underground?
Worshiping in secret?
Shades of the early days of Roman persecution?

Dr. Ashenden notes that it seems
we are either prioritizing the immediate power structures of our day or we
are prioritizing the teaching of the Gospel…and sadly it seems as if it is our power
structures that are receiving the total focus.

The good doctor notes that this seems to be a power struggle between the secular, or non-supernatural,
vs the Metaphysical, that being the Spiritual

Secular vs Spiritual…and sadly— secular is winning.

Here are the links…enjoy exercising your brain…

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/57442176/posts/2929431852

https://www.spectator.co.uk/podcast/is-it-time-for-christianity-to-go-underground-

when the death of an earthly saint wages war against God’s earthly warriors

“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort.
You were made for greatness.”

Pope Benedict XVI

“The devil fears hearts on fire with love of God.”
St. Catherine of Siena


(the beach before the storm / Julie Cook / 2020)

I must confess that I never quite got the whole obsession with RBG,
aka Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

There are books out with quotes and snippets of her wisdom.
There are bobblehead dolls.
There are T’ shirts…
She had quite the massive cultural cult following.

And I never got it.
Heck, I still don’t get it.

I feel very badly for her family that she has passed away.
Just as I am always sad whenever I hear that a soul has lost their earthly battle…
however, I am absolutely bumfuzzled by the near mystic-like response her death is having
on so many in our society.

And it is not simply her death that is reverberating throughout this nation of ours
but it is the void now left in her professional life that is the beginning of
a massive storm.

Justice Ginsburg was a very vocal proponent of women’s rights–
particularly that of abortion.
Not that I think that is so much of a right as it is a fault.

So there is a storm now brewing over her replacement.

The word is that President Trump has narrowed his list down to two women…
both of whom are Catholic.

And so it seems everyone is now up in arms…

In a recent article on The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson, pens a piece about
the Democrats embracing an anti-Catholic bigotry regarding any SCOTUS nomination

Davidson notes that “President Trump is expected to pick a Supreme Court nominee
to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
as early as the end of this week.
Two of the people on Trump’s short list of possible nominees are Catholic women:
Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge in Chicago,
and Barbara Lagoa, a federal appellate court judge in Atlanta.

Davidson continues…
The media has wasted no time casting aspersions on Barrett for her Catholic faith.
On Monday, the Washington Post ran a kind of explainer on Barrett,
which included an out-of-context quote from a talk she apparently gave years ago,
that a “legal career is but a means to an end… and that end is building the Kingdom of God.”

The statement itself, even without context,
is an altogether ordinary expression of sincere religious belief that any devout person,
whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or Muslim, would readily affirm.
Yet the Post’s Ron Charles highlighted it in a tweet Monday,
as if to warn us that Barrett might try to usher in a Catholic theocracy
if she gets onto the Supreme Court.

Also Monday, Newsweek published a somewhat hysterical piece about how Barrett
is affiliated with a Christian religious group, People of Praise, that served as the inspiration
for “The Handmaid’s Tale”—as if Barrett, a woman on the president’s short list for the Supreme Court,
somehow exemplifies the oppression of women by a religious patriarchy.
(Update: Newsweek posted a correction to this piece Tuesday, saying Margaret Atwood
never mentioned People of Praise as an inspiration for “The Handmaid’s Tale,”
which calls into question the entire point of the article.
The social media headline, however, remains unchanged.)

Elected Democrats have been even more frank about their antipathy towards Catholics,
even to the point of appearing to support an anti-Catholic religious test for nominees
to the federal bench. It was during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation to the federal
appellate court that Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein admitted openly that the judge’s
Catholic faith was a problem for her, infamously telling Barrett,
“the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”

“During those same confirmation hearings, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin grilled Barrett
on her faith, suggesting there’s something nefarious about being an “orthodox Catholic”
and asking her, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”
She replied, “I am a Catholic, Senator Durbin.”

It’s hard to imagine the religious beliefs of any Democratic nominee to the federal
judiciary being questioned with this much open disdain,
and with the strong implication that these kind of Catholics—the kind
that take the teachings of the church seriously on issues like abortion and gay marriage—
aren’t fit for positions of public trust.

Some Democrats don’t even bother to imply this,
they just come out and say it.
No one stands out more in this regard than Democrats’
own vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris.

It was Harris who last year accused federal judicial nominee Brian Buescher of having
“extreme positions” simply because he’s a member of the Knights of Columbus,
a Catholic benevolent society that also adheres to church teaching on things
like abortion and gay marriage.
(Full disclosure, I’m a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Lucky for me, I’ll never have to go through a Senate confirmation.)

“Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to
choose when you joined the organization?” asked Harris, implying that the Knights
are just a bit too Catholic for someone like Buescher to be trusted as a federal judge.

Harris was joined in this calumny by Sen. Mazie Hirono,
who asked Buescher if he would end his membership in the organization
“to avoid any appearance of bias.”
The exchange prompted Sen. Ben Sasse to introduce a resolution declaring it
unconstitutional to reject nominees because of their membership in the Knights of Columbus,
which was approved by unanimous consent.

The article continues with a bit of history as to how America has always had a mistrust
of Catholics.

But what I found so ironic in all of this disdain for a possible Catholic SCOTUS nominee
is that both Madame Speaker, Mrs. Pelosi and presidential candidate Joe Biden are
both Catholic.

And yet both are very vocal about their stance on women’s rights and pro-abortion.
Being pro-abortion is a glaring contrast to the Catholic faith…not to
mention to the Christian faith.

Obviously, their faith is not their focus in life.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/22/in-scotus-confirmation-fight-expect-democrats-to-embrace-anti-catholic-bigotry/

And so that is the single area of contention…it is the key issue that seems
to be at the heart of the deeply drawn line in the sand.
The intentional killing of babies–those in utero and those who are actually live births.

Our Democratic leaders seem hell-bent on finding a replacement for RBG who will
maintain the frantic race to abortions.

I’ve written so much about this issue that my heart grows heavy with each passing day.

I was moved by Oneta’s comment yesterday to what I posted on Monday:
“Leviticus 20 says the man looking on and doing nothing is open to the same punishment
as the man who sacrifices the child. Chilling thoughts if we do not cry out
for forgiveness AND do something to make it stop.”

I later read a post by our friend Sue over on awriterscorner.blog
regarding a new book by Jonathan Cahn.
Cahn wrote The Harbinger and has penned a part two–The Harbinger II, The Return.

Sue also commented like Oneta to my post:
“I just finished reading Jonathon Cahn’s HARBINGER 2 and it blew my mind!
The murder of our babies in the womb is exactly why we are under God’s judgment
and the silence from Christians is reprehensible.
This prophecy confirms all that Rabi Cahn said also.”

Jonathan Cahn Does it Again!

Later in the day, I read an article concerning the actress Patrica Heaton and her
foreboding warning to fellow Christians.
She was warning against an ensuing onslaught against Christianity…Christians,
be they Catholic or Protestant, whether they like it or not, will find themselves caught
up in the middle of the filling of RGB’s post on the Supreme Court.

Christianity is about to be drug through the mud and the Progressive Left
will be very happy to bury us all right there in that mud.

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/patricia-heaton-onslaught-ignorance-religion-supreme-court

And so I say to you, I say it to us all—to any of us who call themselves Chrisitan…
be we Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or non-Denominational….
A line is now drawn.
And God has spoken.
What side of that line will you stand?
And when God asks of your stance, what will you be able to say to Him.

The Lord said to Moses,
“Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices
any of his children to Molek is to be put to death.
The members of the community are to stone him.
I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people;
for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary
and profaned my holy name.
If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one
of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death,
I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their
people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek

Leviticus 20:1-5

interesting musings—both good and bad…

“If you take temptations into account,
who is to say that he is better than his neighbour?
A comfortable career of prosperity,
if it does not make people honest, at least keeps them so.”

William Makepeace Thackeray


(Eco Canada header)

Okay—I’m back home from having watched over a sickly Mayor for the past couple of days.
The Sheriff shared his viral infection with his sister and these sort of sharings preclude
anyone from attending daycare while mom and dad attempt to work…thus—
in walks “mom”

“mom” is now tired and has some of that “cold” floating around in her head shared
by both the Mayor and Sherrif…
Yet before much more time passed us by,
I wanted to share a few observations that I’ve taken in
over the past couple of days…

Firstly, I saw this today on a Catholic site which got me thinking…

There’s good news and bad news.

In 1964, a Benedictine monk named Hubert
van Zeller wrote that “the prevailing weakness
among Christians of today” is the fact that we
see the apparent hopelessness of the situation
in our world…think we can’t do anything to
change it…and lose our effectiveness as
witnesses of Christ and His Church.

So that’s the bad news.

But here’s the good news.

We can do something to change the
current situation, and it starts at home.

“starts at home”…haven’t we heard that before?!

The other thing that caught my eye was on Sunday.

I was on my way to Atlanta, leaving town when I passed by a little country
church headed my way to the interstate…
the church had a sign that read “Beware Marananta”

Now I know that I was not raised in the Baptist fold and from all I know, Maranatha simply
referred to a choir, thus this little foreboding warning piqued my interst.

And so I tucked away this little obscure warning into the back of my mind, with the intent of
investigating such once I had a bit of quiet time to delve further.

And so this is what I discovered.

Maranatha
(1 Corinthians 16:22 ) consists of two Aramean words, Maran’athah, meaning,
“our Lord comes,” or is “coming.”
If the latter interpretation is adopted, the meaning of the phrase is,
“Our Lord is coming, and he will judge those who have set him at naught.”
(Compare Phil 4:5; James 5:8 James 5:9 .)

And according to Wikipedia:
Maranatha (Aramaic: מרנאתא‎; Koinē Greek: Μαρανα θα, romanized: marana-tha, lit.
‘come, our lord!’; Latin: Maran-Atha) is an Aramaic phrase.
It occurs once in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 16:22).
It also appears in Didache 10:14, which is part of the Apostolic Fathers’ collection.
It is transliterated into Greek letters rather than translated and,
given the nature of early manuscripts, the lexical difficulty rests in determining
just which two Aramaic words constitute the single Greek expression,
found at the end of Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians (16:22).

So I take that this might mean that we should be careful about what ask for…
and that asking, as I keep reading from various folks, being, Come, Lord Jesus.
Because the aksing of the coming of the Lord…in turn comes with judgment.
And the question which remains, are we ready for that judgment for which we are
therefore calling upon?

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,
for at whatever point you judge another,
you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Romans 2:1 NIV

ENOUGH!!!

I find consolation in the one and only friend who will never leave me,
that is, our Divine Saviour in the Holy Eucharist…
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the most tender of friends with souls
who seek to please Him.
His goodness knows how to proportion itself to the smallest of His creatures
as to the greatest of them.
Be not afraid then in your solitary conversations, to tell Him of your miseries,
your fears, your worries, of those who are dear to you, of your projects,
and of your hopes. Do so with confidence and with an open heart.”

St. Damien of Molokai (1840 – 1889)


(Father Damien shortly before his death in 1889)

I don’t know…
can you hear the rising anger in my voice????
If not—I can speak louder.

I want to scream at the top of my lungs…“YOU ARROGANT IDIOT!!!”

But calling someone an idiot, I realize, is unkind.

Yet in this case, this person is proving to be a walking definition of the word.

Idiot–a stupid person

As in, someone who does not know what it is they are talking about.

In this case, that someone is the infamous AOC.
As in New York’s darling representative, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

The link at the end of this post leads to an article showcasing the blatant ignorance
spewing forth from this Marxist left loving,
elected official–that being Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

This most arrogant and ignorant woman has most recently taken to her
Instagram calling for the removal of a statue of the Belgium born Catholic priest,
Jozef De Veuster, better known as Fr. Damien, because she deems him to be a white supremacist.

Did you read that????
A freaking white supremacist?????!!!!

In my obviously limited mind, a white supremacist most likely has a white hood on his
ignorant head…NOT a rosary in one hand while holding the hand of a dying leper with the other.

Having read this article, my blood pressure is currently rising so quickly
that I just might explode.
This woman has indeed lost her ever-loving mind!

Let it be known that I have written about this particular man before…
back in 2018.

Here is that link:
https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/the-saint-of-the-outcast-a-martyr-of-charity/

But in case you missed that post, let me catch you up to speed without rewriting that
previous post.

Father Damien was born Jozef De Veuster in Tremelo, Belgium, in 1840.
As a young man, he chose to enter into the life of a Catholic priest–
choosing the name Damien after a fourth-century physician, and martyr.
A rather prophetic name at that.

When Damien’s brother, who was also a priest, was unable to fulfill his duty
of going to serve the Hawaiian Islands, Fr. Damien volunteered.
Once in Honolulu and freshly ordained, Fr. Damien learned about the leper colony
on the island of Molokai.

He readily volunteered to serve the colony.

Leprosy was highly contagious and Father Damien would have known that it would
only be a matter of time before he too would contract the deadly disease—
yet serving the suffering was paramount to any concern of self or
that of self-preservation.

Fr. Damien offered the gift of humanity, as well as dignity, back to those who had been
looked upon as less than.

There is no greater pain to a human being than to be stripped of one’s humanness.
To be regarded as less than…even less than that of an animal.
And that’s what lepers were considered to be…the lowest of the low…
less than human, less than animal.

Father Damien saw past the disease, the deformity, the living death…
and saw but human beings…human beings who were hurting.
He brought back to these individuals the gift of hope…of love.

I won’t go on about the service Fr. Damien performed for hurting people.
I won’t ramble on about the lives he touched nor of the
lasting difference he made in the lives of those in need.
I won’t talk about how he petitioned the Hawaiian government
to allow for a school for the colony’s children or a hospital for the suffering.
I won’t talk about how he petitioned the Hawaiian government
to allow the people of the colony to form their own governing body.

I won’t talk about how he eventually contracted the disease–painful and debilitating
and yet he continued tirelessly to serve his flock.

I won’t talk about how there is no greater gift than that of a man
who is willing to lay down his own life for the betterment of his fellow man.

AOC wants Father Damien’s statue, which graces the halls of our nation’s Capitol
as a tribute to Hawaii, removed.
It seems that AOC believes Fr. Damien’s statue speaks of white supremacy and colonization
rather than the selfish service he offered to the people of Molokai.

When she and her ilk finally shut up and step up…focusing
not on politics or selfish agendas but rather focusing on personally
trying to help heal the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry…
working with their hands rather than constantly complaining with their mouths —
then that is when our nation’s true healing will begin.

Will she ever understand what is Truth?

The Truth being that our lives are not to be about supremacy
but are rather to be about that of servitude and of selflessness.

That our lives are to be about reflecting the light of Jesus Christ
and not that of the world.

And yet now they are burning not buildings in Portland…but rather bibles…

Where have I heard about book burnings before??

God have mercy upon our souls.

“I am gently going to my grave.
It is the will of God, and I thank Him very much for letting me die of the
same disease and in the same was as my lepers.
I am very satisfied and very happy,”

Father Damien wrote while on his deathbed to his brother.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/07/31/aoc-condemns-catholic-priest-who-sacrificed-his-life-serving-others-as-a-white-supremacist/

A time for yearning…

“If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing.
If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything.”

St. Bonaventure


(Independant Presbyterian Church steeple / Savannah, GA / Julie Cook / 2019)

I must say that I have a small regret…

My regret is that of time…but who doesn’t regret time right?

Sometimes we might think we have enough or even too much, but if the truth be told,
we never have nearly enough.

I use to be able to catch a youtube or video blog post of Anglican Unscripted.
I use to listen to the podcasts of our friend the Wee Flea, Pastor David Roberston…
as well as our favorite across the pond rogue bishop, Bishop Gavin Ashenden.

But first, the Mayor came on the scene.
Next, my better half retired.
And then, the Sherrif came on board.
Suddenly there was no more time….well, no more time for me to do those
things I use to do with time before my new time needers all arrived.

Now I am certainly not complaining mind you…as this use of time
is a good use…exhausting, but good.

It’s just that when I had time to do so, I would
listen/watch and take copious notes of the teachings by our two Christian Scholarly friends.
I would craft posts featuring the teachings of these most knowledgable individuals.
I learned and, in turn, wanted to share the learning…that’s a teacher thing and it matters
not if we retire…sharing knowledge is what we do.

So I was very excited the other day when I actually carved out some unexpected quiet
and surprisingly alone time in order to listen to a podcast offered by one of my
favorite publications, the UK publication The Spectator.

Happily, I got to listen, almost uninterrupted,
to an interview by Damian Thompson with Bishop Gavin Ashenden—
who by the way is a recent convert to Catholicism.
The interview focused on the Chruch of England and its current dangerous walk toward socialism.

Now for those of you who think you don’t have a dog in the fight over anything Catholic,
Anglican, Chruch of England or Episcopalian…or even Socialism…
may I quickly remind you that many of our Nation’s current politicians are touting
all things Socialism while Socialism currently creeps its ugly way into our
Nation’s political narrative.

Think Bernie, AOC and the Progressive left…

I think the good Bishop gives a sound foundation as to why all Christians
must be very wary of this most troubling dalliance of the Chruch of England.

The podcast is about 20 minutes and is well worth the time, if you are fortunate to
find some…time.

“Just before Christmas, Dr. Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to the Queen,
converted to Catholicism. But that’s not the main subject of my interview with him in
the first Holy Smoke episode of 2020. In it,
he deplores the Church of England’s surrender to secularism under Archbishop Justin Welby,
who won’t enjoy his former colleague’s assessment of his talents.

Dr. Ashenden may not be Anglican any more,
but he does think that the Established Church has a historic mission –
and that its ‘middle managers’ have betrayed it in favour of ‘soft socialism’.
To which I reply that Pope Francis is busy hoisting the white flag,
or perhaps a red one, on the other side of the Tiber.
At which point our conversation takes an unexpected turn. Don’t miss it!”

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2020/01/holy-smoke-podcast-has-the-church-of-england-surrendered-to-soft-socialism/

the year of being a mother, a dad, a child…a family

The need to get parenting right has become an obsession for many of us.
But we can make some simple changes and bring some fun and sanity into our lives.
We can love being moms again.
We can sit.
We can laugh with our kids.
We can love life and enjoy our wonderful kids.

Dr. Meg Meeker
The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers


(Madonna and Child by Raphel)

2019 seemed to the year of the hashtag did it not?
Or was that the year of the feminists?

The year of a fanatical and even angry #metoo movement—

As in I am woman, hear me roar.

As in let’s demasculinize and neuter all men in the name of revenge.
As in let’s let little boys be girls while we let little girls be boys as
in gender is no longer relevant.
As in let’s say hooray for abortions…for pregnancy is an inconvenience
As in it is my right and my choice by gosh by golly…
As in it’s all about women empowering women…cause power is important is it not?
And so let’s hear it for the rise of militant feminism.

The rallying cry has gone out…
Challenging, even defying, any and all legislation put out there to protect
a fetus in the womb.
Strike down those heartbeat bills…

As we are left wondering who will speak for those who cannot speak…

And so it is my prayer that the coming year of 2020 would be the year of the moms,
motherhood, and the family.
The year of the traditional family.
The year of both moms and dads along with their children.
Bound by the covenant of God.

As the late Pope John Paul II continues to remind us …
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world
in which we live.

To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children.
Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.

It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman.”

The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols
are pleasure, comfort, and independence,
lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.

And thus I will leave this offering of hope with a final offering of wisdom
from Dr. Meg Meeker, a Christian, a Catholic who is married to an Evangelical, a pediatrician,
an author and most importantly– a mother…

If every mother could wrap her mind around her true value as a woman and a mother,
her life would never be the same.
We would wake up every morning excited for the day rather than feeling as though
we’d been hit by a truck during the night.
We would talk differently to our kids, fret less about our husbands’ annoying habits,
and speak with greater tenderness and clarity.
We would find more contentment in our relationships,
let mean remarks roll off our backs,
and leave work feeling more confident in the job we performed.
Each of us would live a life of extraordinary freedom.

Dr. Meg Meeker
from The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers

late but still very timely–no chaining the word of God

“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

Ok, I admit, I’ve let this one sit a bit too long…as in this was from about two weeks ago…
Hence the story of my life in a nutshell…a day late and many dollars short!!!

I wanted to share something I read…about two weeks ago.

It came from a daily email I receive from the American Catholic Bishop Robert Barron.
The e-mail is actually a small reflection based on the day’s religious reading.
Be it Catholic, Anglican or Episcopal…or other like-minded denominations, we keep a
liturgical based calendar…

This particular calendar is one that reflects the life cycle of the greater Christian body.

And for those of you unfamiliar with liturgical calendars…
in a nutshell from catholicextension.org, here is an explanation:

The liturgical year serves as the Catholic Liturgical Calendar.
(We could insert Episcopal here as well)
It consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons that determine when feast days
and other holy days are observed, and which Scripture and Gospel
readings are used at Mass.

Aside from the readings,
the liturgical calendar also determines the interior decoration of a Church,
the priest’s vestment colors, the timing of spiritual seasons and practices such
as Lent, and much more.

The Liturgical calendar year begins on the first Sunday of Advent.
It is divided into six seasons.
The shortest but most holy season is the three day Sacred Pascal Triduum leading up to Easter.

My church raising, in the Episcopal Chruch, was based on the same line of calendar seasons.
Our services revolve around the seasons that are recognized by the greater Chruch…
Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost…

That being said, each Sunday is recognized as a Sunday within a certain seasonal time…and each
Sunday has its own specific readings from the epistles and Gospel that follow along
with the said season.
(Each day does as well but most folks do not attend Chruch services on a daily basis…)

Ok, so now that we have that straight…

Two weeks ago, that particular day’s reading was from Luke 11:27-28
It’s a reading based on a small exchange between Jesus and a woman who had been in a
crowd listening to him.
In her zeal and excitement, this woman shouts out to Jesus “Blessed is the mother who
gave birth and nursed you”

Jesus heard her words and responded much differently than what the woman may have imagined
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it”

He was always, as He remains, pulling our sights to the bigger picture…
or more precisely, to the right and correct picture.

We hear him tell us to obey the word of God…for blessed will we be for doing so.

Bishop Barron reflects on this notion of obeying God and thus being blessed
by looking back at a time in history that was more or less a catalyst rather than
being just a single incident.

Since Hitler’s Nazi war machine marched on Polish soil on September 1, 1939
until the fall of that infamous wall in November of 1991,
the Polish people lived under two iron-fisted atheistic regimes …
The Nazis and Communists…fascism, socialism, atheism, authoritarianism, ultranationalism…
you name it–the Poles suffered.
Their Jewish population was almost decimated during the Holocaust.

Poland had been a staunchly Catholic nation almost since its first Christian king in 966.

Yet for over 50 years, Christianity was the bane of two of the
20th century’s bloodiest ruling regimes.

Both the Nazis and Communists worked meticulously to silence the Chruch.

In Germany, the Lutheran Chruch had already capitulated by becoming the official
state-run Chruch. A puppet church of Hitler.

The Chruch in Poland would not fall as easily.

Both regimes outlawed the Chruch, they arrested and murdered priests and nuns,
as well as the pastors of other denominations.
They threatened the faithful with torture and death.
Doors to churches were locked and padlocked.

Yet the faithful remained just that…faithful.
They simply went underground.

This was no more evident than the day the first Polish Pope made
a homecoming visit of sorts on May 8, 1979–
The leader of the global Catholic Chruch visited a bleak and battered Communist nation…
A nation whose leadership was stymied as to stop such a televised and historic trip.

Bishop Barron notes that during the open-air masses attended by the millions of
hungry souls, the crowds would break out chanting, “we want God”

I can remember watching the televised trip.
The people were so hungry for God.
They were determined, they would no longer remian silent.
Because as Bishop Barron reninds us…
“There is no chaning the word of God”

Regimes have all come and gone, each having discoverd what happens when the
people obey that Word regardless of the risk to life…
because be it sooner or later, blessings will indeed eventually follow.

Here is Bishop Barron’s “homily”

Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 11:27-28
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out,
“Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Friends, our Gospel blesses those who hear the word of God and observe it.
In this regard, I would like to speak about the response of the Polish people to
the word proclaimed by St. John Paul II.
The power of the Polish Communist state, and behind that the power of the Soviet Union,
is what John Paul faced at the beginning of the 1980s.
But he was practiced in the art of facing down oppressive political forces,
having grown up under Nazism and Communism.

He spoke of God, of human rights, of the dignity of the individual—frightening
at every turn, his handlers worried about diplomatic repercussions.
As he spoke, the crowds got bigger and more enthusiastic.
This went beyond mere Polish nationalism.
At one gathering, the millions of people began to chant “We want God! We want God!”
over and over for fifteen minutes.

There was no controlling this power, born of the confidence that God’s love is
more powerful than any of the weapons of the empires of the world,
from crosses to nuclear bombs. This is, of course,
why Communist officialdom tried vehemently to stop John Paul II.
But there is no chaining the Word of God!

Bishop Robert Barron