the resolute found in super powers

Love is the selfless communication of what is mine and the
selfless welcoming of the other in myself.

Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar
from the book The Meaning of the World Is Love


(a little thought my cousin sent me)

Today I found the quote in the above image to be most appropriate for my
current journey.
My cousin sent it to me this morning.

And well, it just seems to be one more “sign” in a long line of what some would consider
to be merely coincidental signposts seen along my current life’s travels—
but since I believe in the timing of the Holy Spirit and not in the coincidences
of life…well….there you go.

It’s all about appropriate timing vs coincidental timing.

And so speaking of super powers…
oh what a super power it would be to be able to keep one’s cool,
hold one’s tongue, and maintain one’s emotions when there are those who desire
nothing more than to spread falsehoods, half truths, and drag you down the
gravel rutted pig trail of life while throwing you from the bus,
and gleefully hoping to run you over in the process.

So it does seem that in order to take the higher road in
this thing we call life…we need all the super powers we can get—or more aptly,
we need to have some other-worldly powers!
And I have a hunch that we believers have more than a few good examples to follow.

When I read the following quote offered by Pope Benedict XVI regarding Mary
and her reaction to the news presented to her by Gabriel, the Heavenly messenger,
well, I thought of super powers.
The very super power Mary found buried deep within her being.

I’ve often thought of how she bore up under that one word, as well as how she then
chose to live her life…all as a result found in her saying “Yes” to God.

The weight of the world suddenly rested on her tender shoulders as her
young fiancé was thrown for a terrible loop by her unbelievable admission that
she was pregnant all the while professing vehemently
that her virginity was indeed intact.
How could he believe her incomprehensible story?
What of her small village?
Would they not love nothing more then to trash and vilify this young
unwed mother to be along with her family?
And what of her family??
What of the sudden received, albeit false, sense of shame?

Yet Mary was resolute in her yes.

She bore that resolute yes her entire life….
even as she watched her dear son
mocked, ridiculed, tortured and killed.
Her heart pierced just as her son’s side was pierced.

Resolute even unto sacrifice and death.

So yep…when the world manages to say all manner of ill against you…
call upon your super power—the power God placed long ago within your heart.
The power to both love and forgive…
as hard as it will certainly be…

“[Mary] does not remain locked in her initial troubled state
at the proximity of God in his angel,
but she seeks to understand.
So Mary appears as a fearless woman,
one who remains composed even in the presence of something utterly unprecedented.
At the same time she stands before us as a woman of great interiority,
who holds heart and mind in harmony and seeks to understand the context,
the overall significance of God’s message.
In this way, she becomes an image of the Church as she considers
the word of God, tries to understand it in its entirety and
guards in her memory the things that have been given to her.”

Pope Benedict XVI, p. 33

fine lines

When were the saints at the height of their joy,
but when they were suffering for their God and Saviour?

St. Teresa of Avila,
In a letter to the Reverend Father Hohn de Jesu Roca,
Carmelite, at Pastrana


(Palmer Chapel Methodist Church / Cataloochee National / Cataloochee Valley in the
Smokey Mountains)

Something that I’ve long observed as a Christian is that we members
of the faithful flock often walk a fine line with our faith and following.

We do so because we have been programed by words like sin, guilt, suffering,
penance, punishment—words that have throughout time
become sentiments hammered into our heads—worn around our necks like a
an every growing weighted chain.
Sentiments that we must experience if we are to be true to our faith.
Simply put, the burden is part and parcel of life as a Christian.

Such teachings have been allowed to morph while getting tangled
and entwined in our mindset.
They become like a choking vine wrapped around a tender young sapling.
Eventually that choking vine outpaces and engulfs the poor sapling.

We are very much like that tender sapling…
striving to grow ever upward, seeking our place in the sun—or in our case
that is more like in and with the Son…but…sadly…
many of our Christian denominations have instilled in us a need to carry a
deep suffocating burden if we expect to be true followers of Christ…

And yes, we should note that that burden is in essence
our sinful nature and that of our sins…
of which I dare not wish to dismiss, diminish or make light of…
for as a sinner, I know all too well the deep and lasting effects sin
can have on our spiritual well being–especially
sin that is neither repented nor confessed let alone curtailed.

The fine line is found somewhere between redemption and that of the sin itself.

We should also note that not only do we bear the weight of our sins,
it’s as if we are expected to continue carrying the associated guilt and heaviness
of those sins and wrong doings despite our having confessed and having handed
them over to our Redeemer.
We are not allowed, nor do we allow ourselves, to truly feel the release,
the joy and the freedom that comes with redemption.

We are washed clean yet many of our denominations and religious teachings
have lead us to think, or better yet believe,
that we must constantly wear our hair shirts as a reminder
that we are never truly free.

And perhaps in many ways, we are not free.

We are tethered to this world and that of our own sinful nature.
Yet I honestly believe that Jesus wants to lighten our burdens
when we confess to him, yet in doing so, many of us, me included,
just can’t seem to shake the heaviness or associated guilt…guilt
the world and our ancient enemy would have us bear and claim despite
Jesus having claimed them for us in his death and resurrection.

It seems that I also have observed that we have been taught, again over time,
that we are to actually suffer for our faith.
And the question of this world then nags… if we are not heavy ladened and or suffering,
are we truly following as we should??

There are those who would say no.

And so we wrestle on…wrestling with our various doctrines as well as
ourselves.

Personally, I think Jesus has the better solution.
A solution I must embrace…I must listen for his call…
or perhaps that is more like I am yearning for his call…

Come unto me, all you who labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest
(Matthew 11:28)

But go and learn what this means:
‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Matthew 9:13

reporting in

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Mark Twain

“If you are suffering from a bad man’s injustice,
forgive him—lest there be two bad men.”

St. Augustine


(a healing view in NC/ Julie Cook / 2022)

I know there are a great number of questions regarding the sudden and now
lengthy absence of this blogger.

Some of you know the answers, some of you do not.

However for the sake of all involved…for this particular day,
I’ll simply stick with Mark Twain…
I am not dead.

I will say however that it has often felt like a thousand deaths over these
past many months.

In a nutshell life, my life, has turned upside down and
I will simply leave it at that.

What I would like for us all to remember however is that being turned upside down
is truly not an uncommon occurrence in the fabric of our humanness.
Most all of us, at some point or other, will experience a life that
often flips and flops.

Yet what we all need to remember is that the flipping and flopping isn’t the true nor
real story found in the turmoil…
The actual true grit of the matter is found in how we manage
through all the flipping and flopping.

I’ll just say that my family’s dynamics have changed.
No details are necessary…just the knowledge of flux and change is sufficient.

There has been both sorrow and anger.
Upheaval and tumult.
Pain and suffering.
Frustration and maybe…just maybe I can feel a bit of resolve.

So within all of the flipping and flopping, I have moved to a new state.
I am mending as I pick up my scattered pieces.

When one is attempting to put one’s life back together…routine becomes important.
And so I look forward to resuming my time spent here…a once cherished routine.
I want to be here with you—my blogging family and friends.

So with all that being said, it’s time we get reacquainted.
Please know I have missed you all.

“My God, you know infinitely better than I how little I love you.
I would not love you at all except for your grace.
It is your grace that has opened the eyes of my mind and enabled them to see your glory.
It is your grace that has touched my heart and brought upon it the influence of what is so wonderfully beautiful and fair…
O my God, whatever is nearer to me than you, things of this earth,
and things more naturally pleasing to me,
will be sure to interrupt the sight of you, unless your grace interferes.
Keep my eyes, my ears, my heart from any such miserable tyranny.
Break my bonds—raise my heart. Keep my whole being fixed on you.
Let me never lose sight of you; and, while I gaze on you,
let my love of you grow more and more everyday.”

St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, p. 44-45

“these three Persons determine my life…”

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship,
and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

St. Basil the Great


(wild crabapples blossoms / Julie Cook / 2013)

“Now surely I do see what an immense effect such a doctrine
[of the Holy Trinity] must have upon life.
It is no mere question for theologians, but one that concerns every living soul.
Whatever is allowed by God’s power must be guided by His wisdom and
urged on by His love.
All that happens to me in life, the little worries and the great anxieties,
the crises and the daily annoyances, the sorrows and the joys,
the harms that reach me through the sins of others,
the great crimes of history, the huge and devastating wars,
the partings and loves and the whole cycle of human experience
are permitted by Power, which is itself wise and loving.
These three Persons determine my life, and, since I walk by faith,
I must surely grow very patient in my attitude toward life.
For how can I complain or criticize God’s Providence,
since it all comes under that triple influence of Power, Wisdom, and Love?
Under the guidance, then, of this mystery,
I can walk through the valley of death or the more perilous borders
of sin without loss of courage or hopefulness.
Nothing can make me afraid. How these are separate, yet one,
I do not know, nor can I reconcile in my concrete experience
the claims of each.
It is always a mystery, but a mystery in which I believe.
Whatever Power allows on earth is designed in Wisdom
and attuned by Love.”

Fr. Bede Jarrett, p. 10
An Excerpt From
Classic Catholic Meditations, p 10

cry of the soul

Suffering should be treated not as a twitch or a muscular contraction,
but as the cry of a soul, to whom another brother,
the doctor, runs with the ardent love of charity.

St. Giuseppe Moscati
from the book St. Giuseppe Moscati:
Doctor of the Poor by Antonio Tripodoro, SJ


(Gleann Cholm Cille, Co.Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

“There was much in the Magdalen that she had never used,
perhaps never dreamed of, until she came to our Lord.
He revealed to her the secret of true self-development,
which is another word for sanctity.
And she found under His guidance that everything in her had henceforth to be used,
and used in a fuller and richer way than she had ever imagined possible.
It was in no narrow school of self-limitation,
in no morbid school of false asceticism,
that this poor sinner was educated in the principles of sanctity,
but in the large and merciful school of Him who has been
ever since the hope of the hopeless,
the friend of publicans and sinners;
who knows full well that what men need is not to crush and kill their powers,
but to find their true use and to use them;
that holiness is not the emptying of life,
but the filling; that despair has wrapped its dark cloud
around many a soul because it found itself in possession of powers
that it abused and could not destroy and did not know how to use.
Christ taught them the great and inspiriting doctrine
‘I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.’”

Fr. Basil W. Maturin, p. 40

what remains eternal

“One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life;
but one should say that it is not easy.
Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain.”

St. Antony Of The Desert


(Klyemore Abbey /Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Beauty and every charm of this life passes….
The only thing that remains eternal is love,
the cause of every good work, which outlives us,
which is our hope and our religion, because God is love.

St. Giuseppe Moscati
from the book St. Giuseppe Moscati:
Doctor of the Poor by Antonio Tripodoro, SJ

living in the world…

Where we see sin, God sees pain;
and He wishes to heal us, refresh us, and free us.

Fr. Éamonn Bourke
from his book Make Your Home in Me: Reflections on Prayer


(quince blossom / 2017 /Julie Cook)

“I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment,
that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.
By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties,
problems, successes and failures.
In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God,
taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world.
That, I think, is faith.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

believe in order to understand

“I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe,
but rather, I believe in order that I may understand.”

St. Anselm of Canterbury


(Stained glass of Saint Anselm in Chester Cathedral cloister | photo by Mum’s taxi)

“I was striving unto God but
collided with myself. I was seeking rest in my inner recesses but
found tribulation and grief in my inmost being.”

Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion

“Lord, give me what you have made me want;
I praise and thank you for the desire that you have inspired;
perfect what you have begun, and grant me what you have made me long for.”

Anselm of Canterbury

grace not lost

“He took what is mine in order that He might impart to me what is His.
He took it not to overturn it but to fill it.”

St. Ambrose


(Cades Cove, TN / Julie Cook / 2015)

We must animate ourselves by the thought that God is always with us,
that he only allows this trial for our greater good,
and that we have not necessarily lost his grace because
we have lost the taste and feelings of it.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

your heart…house of traffic or house of God

Our technological society has no longer any place in it for wisdom
that seeks truth for its own sake, that seeks the fullness of being,
that seeks to rest in an intuition of the very ground of all being.
Without wisdom, the apparent opposition of action and contemplation,
of work and rest, of involvement and detachment,
can never be resolved.

Thomas Merton


(Spaghetti junction / Atlanta / Julie Cook / 2021)

Your heart.

Not the physical beating muscle within your chest that pumps life
sustaining blood racing throughout your body…
but rather I speak of the heart, the place where both your soul and
inner “being” each reside…

Is that heart, that place within your soul,
is that personal and private inner space a place of madness and confusion…
a place of never ending infuriating traffic?

Meaning… is your heart reeling, congested, frustrated, overwhelmed
and rife with rage?

or in contrast…is it…

a house of and for the omnipotent God…
that hallowed dwelling place of the Holy of Holies?
Is that very sacred place and space, is it a place where
the Great I Am can reside?
A place of interior silence, severe reverence and a place of
deafening peace?

I wonder.

And thus I must ask…are we, meaning both you and me…
are we oddly and surreally more content with the confusion, noise, madness
and chaos…the frenetic swill of uncertainty…
Are we actually afraid of finding that long awaited
overwhelming silence…are we afraid to find that astounding reverence
and that most deafening Peace?

Should we not actually be willing, or rather pleading, to quiet the rage within,
detach from this world and recollect our true home?

“Man will not consent to drive away the money-changers from
the temple of his soul until he realizes that it is a Holy of Holies—-
not a house of traffic, but in very truth the house of God.
We thus reach two striking conclusions:
There cannot be entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance,
which is the true meaning of living in Christ, without complete self-renunciation.
There cannot be complete self-renunciation without the constant
underlying spirit of faith, without the habit of interior silence,
a silence where God is dwelling.
Many do not see the connection between thoughts about the King
and the service of the King; between the interior silence…
and the continual detachment…
If we look closer, it will be seen that there is a strong, close,
unbreakable link between the two.
Find a recollected person, and he will be detached;
seek one who is detached, and he will be recollected.
To have found one is to have discovered the other…
Anyone who tries, on a given day, to practice either recollection
or detachment cannot ignore the fact that he is doing a double stroke of work.”

Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 39-40