Walking hand in hand with the Spirit

“O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You.
Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me.”

St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

(detail of Christ Enthroned from The Book of Kells along with the image of a Celtic goose—
seen in the upper corners. The Celts often depicted the Holy Spirit as a wild goose /
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland)

“The Spirit of God is a spirit of peace, and he speaks and acts in peace
and gentleness, never in tumult and agitation.
What’s more, the motions of the Spirit are delicate touches that don’t make a
great noise and can penetrate our spiritual consciousness only if we have
within ourselves a sort of calm zone of silence and peace.
If our inner world is noisy and agitated, the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit
will find it very difficult to be heard.
If we want to recognize and follow the Spirit’s motions,
it is of the greatest importance to maintain a peaceful heart in all circumstances.”

Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 37
An Excerpt from
In the School of the Holy Spirit

patience of love

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love,
for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

St. Teresa of Avila


(a garden spider perches in the woods and waits patiently for a meal / Julie Cook / 2018)

Think of the spider…
he sits for hours upon end waiting…
He spins, toils and then waits.

Think of God.
He created, toiled and now He waits…patiently He waits on both you and me…

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.
If we love things, we become a thing.
If we love nothing, we become nothing.
Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ,
rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation.
This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others.”

St. Clare of Assisi

“Real love is demanding.
I would fail in my mission if I did not tell you so.
Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God.”

Pope John Paul II

As for what concerns our relations with our fellow men,
the anguish in our neighbor’s soul must break all precept.
All that we do is a means to an end, but love is an end in itself,
because God is love.

Edith Stein

(Edith Stein was born a German Jew, yet due to her precocious ways,
came to a point early in life that she rejected, God.

Eventually Edith earned her degree in Philosophy, becoming one of German’s intellectual
elites as well as a professor.
Yet her heart yearned for more.

After much study and contemplation, Edith converted to Catholicism, being baptized in 1922,
eventually entering into a vocation of a Carmelite nun.
By the time the Nazis came to power, Edith was living in Holland, where being both Jew
and now Catholic but her at grave risk. She was arrested and sent to Auschwitz
where she was put to death in the gas chambers in 1942.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987 and later canonized by John Paul in 1998.

It is always amazing to me to be reminded of those who suffered so grievously under the evils
of the Nazis yet who continued to proclaim God’s love until the very end.

Edith’s life is a strong lesson for those of us of this 21st century who need to be reminded of what it is we must cling to…that being the Love of God demonstrated to us through His Son, Jesus Christ)

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/the-life-and-legacy-of-edith-stein/ )

what matters most…

“In order to be an image of God, the spirit must turn to what is eternal,
hold it in spirit, keep it in memory, and by loving it, embrace it in the will.”

St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

“Listen with the ear of your heart.”
– St. Benedict of Nursia


(the Gulf of Mexico as seen from Rosemary Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2018)

There’s so much we could be chatting about.
So much to be talking about…
So much I’ve been thinking about.
Because if we just check in on the world, just the mere checking in swings wide the doors
of conversation both vast and far…

Yet today that all seems to be of little consequence.

However we do continue to get caught up in all of that, don’t we?

The ‘he said, she said’ of all things political, entertainment or merely worldly.
As we allow it to fuel our wrath, our angst, our sick perversions as we jump
on the neighboring soap boxes of others, prepared to pick up a sword and duel it out.

Such duels are done publically each and every day on the news just as duels are
done here in the blogosphere.
We trade jabs back and forth, parlaying a thrust here and an attack there to those we perceive
to be our enemies…

I’ve not watched much news this week–it’s been kind of nice missing out…
Yet I did catch a snippet of the breaking news out of Kentucky and of the high school shooting
which took place this past week—
a shooting that took the lives of two teenagers—while 12 others, I think, are now
suffering from their wounds…
All the while, a teenage gunman has been taken into custody—
As no motive has yet been shared.

I taught high school for over half my adult life…
After Columbine, I knew what it was like to always hold in the back of my mind the notion
that one day ‘one of ours’ could go off the deep end, or worse, someone from outside could go off
the deep end, coming inside to our world with that empty lostness,
that personification of evil, bringing that unseemingly senseless havoc into our world.

There is an utter helplessness when such happens.
Life stands still for the never-ending seconds while lives change forever.

And now that those seconds of change have passed, as lives are once again lost and changed,
the rest of us prepare to jump up on those boxes of ours with swords held high,
as we once again prepare to go to battle over mental health, gun control, safety,
security… on and on goes the list of ills…

But the bottom line is that lives are gone and lives are changed and people are hurting.

That’s the bottom line.

I was moved reading the tale today of the dad whose son was one of the two victims who lost
their young lives in that high school in Kentucky…

That dad raced to the high school and knew that the body on the stretcher being rushed from
the building was that of his son’s because he recognized the socks on the feet of the body
on the stretcher—because they were the socks he’d laid out the night before for his son
to put on the following morning.

I always made certain my son had his clothes laid out too—all through high school,
as I’d remind him, as he’d found himself too old for me to continue laying them out for him,
all so he wouldn’t have to rush around figuring out what to wear the next morning.

I wept for this father who was miraculously given the time to tell his dying son how much
he loved him.

I wept for the first responder mom who made her way to the school only to discover that her’s
was the son who was the shooter.

I wept for the family of the young lady also killed, just as I weep for the other victims in the
various hospitals.

I weep for all those who no longer have a sense of innocence or a sense of safety
or a sense of faith–as those things become victims as well.

I weep for all of us, for humankind, as we forget and are jolted back to reality as we
grapple with the understanding that we live in a broken and fallen world.

I weep because we have become so jaded by such stories that we can no longer weep but prefer rather
to immediately jump on the soapbox of battle.

Never mind the necessary mourning.
Never mind our pain, our sorrow, our brokenness…
For we have long decided that to deal with our mourning is to ignore our pain,
to ignore the hurt…

And maybe it will just go away.

There will be those rallying cries from those soapboxes,
that is if they haven’t already started crying—
that if we could just gather up every gun, identify every person before they are pushed one
step too far, if we could just do this or just do that…

But what we fail to grasp, is that life will always remain precarious.
Trgeday and Death will never leave us alone.
And none of us are exempt from the tears of sorrow…

I can only hope that in all of the sorrow, in all of the tragedies,
in all of the loss, be it public or private, that we will remember to find our compassion
at such times and not our hate.
That we can find our prayers and not our accusations and that we can remember to be the
the tangible and physical embodiment of God’s love offered freely to those who now hurt…

Since all our love for God is ultimately a response to His love for us, we can never love Him,
in the same way, He loves us, namely, gratuitously.
Since we are fundamentally dependent on God and in His debt for our creation and redemption,
our love is always owed to Him, a duty,
a response to His love. But we can love our neighbor in the same way that He loves us,
gratuitously—not because of anything the neighbor has done for us or because of anything
that we owe him, but simply because love has been freely given to us.
We thereby greatly please the Father.
God the Father tells Catherine [of Siena]: This is why I have put you among your neighbors:
so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—that is,
love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself.
And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.”

– Ralph Martin, p. 261
An Excerpt From
Fulfillment of all Desire

“Prayer is, as it were, being alone with God.
A soul prays only when it is turned toward God, and for so long as it remains so.
As soon as it turns away, it stops praying.
The preparation for prayer is thus the movement of turning to God and away from all
that is not God.
That is why we are so right when we define prayer as this movement.
Prayer is essentially a ‘raising up’, an elevation.
We begin to pray when we detach ourselves from created objects and raise
ourselves up to the Creator.”

Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 91
An Excerpt From
The Prayer of the Presence of God

“We find rest in those we love,
and we provide a resting place for those who love us.”

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Get what you need…

No, you can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometime, you find,
You get what you need

(Lyrics by Mick Jagger)

RSCN2909
(flowering hawthorn / Julie Cook / 2016)

Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined,
and a house divided against itself will fall.
If Satan is divided against himself,
how can his kingdom stand?

Luke 11:17-18

Looking left
Looking right
Running around in circles…
Looking endlessly,
Yearning voraciously
Wanting impatiently

Never seemingly satisfied.

Children out of control
Teens out of control
Parents out of control
Athletes out of control
Politicians out of control
Entertainers out of control
Musicians out of control
News folks out of control
Clergy out of control
Average folks out of control

Frustration
Dissatisfaction
Fragmented
And now fractured beyond repair

That is us
And it is now

Divided and divisive
Spiraling out of control
Crashing and burning
A world set adrift and endlessly burning

One need
One want
One remedy

One Hope
One Savior
One God

“The world is in flames.
Are you compelled to put them out?
Look at the cross.
From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior
This extinguishes the flames of hell.”

Edith Stein
Thy Will Be Done
Bread and Wine
Readings for Lent and Easter