the mystery and the demand—do not abandon ship!

“In her voyage across the ocean of this world,
the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses.
Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.”

St. Boniface


(The Britannic going down. (Painting by Ken Marschall)

“The Passion is described as the mystery of Christ’s suffering.
It was a mystery at the time because people could not reconcile it with what they had expected.
In the sense that we can never fully understand the idea of God suffering,
the Passion is still a mystery.
Now if our sufferings are somehow or other to fit into the Passion of Christ—
and this is no fiction because this is where they belong—there will surely
be an element of mystery about them.
They will make demands on our faith.”

Fr. Hubert van Zeller, OSB
An Excerpt From
The Mystery of Suffering

I love both of these thought provoking quotes!

St. Boniface is keen with his observation that The Church, as in big C,
is indeed like a ship.
She has criss-crossed this globe of ours now for the last 2000 plus years.

Her crew consists of both you and me, the family of Believers.

A crew of both past and present faithful believers…
and yet…we can’t help but wonder about her future crew.

How might a future crew tend to this most majestic of ships?

Next we read the words of Fr. van Zeller regarding suffering.
God’s suffering as well as ours, mankind.
Suffering.
The suffering of God the father and Christ the Son, along with the suffering of humanity.

The suffering of God made man is perplexing– in part because our earthly
minds and rationale cannot fully grasp the full scope of one who would submit to such
knowingly and willingly.

Firstly, there is no question that we mere mortals have wrestled with the thought of the
suffering of Christ since the day he was arrested, tried and executed.
The God of creation willingly subjecting himself to misery, brutality, deprivation,
suffering and a lingering death.
Why would the triune God submit to such a thing as “the Passion”?

Therein lies the mystery.

The lack of comprehension.

The inability to grasp the unconditional.

Man, it seems, will frustratingly struggle with the scope of such a free and willingly
given gift until the end of time.

Compound that dilemma with the dilemmas we now face in this precarious 21st century.

So is it any wonder there are those who are readily and rapidly jumping ship?
Fear is a powerful tool used by our ancient nemesis.

Jump, we drown.

There are great demands on our faith.
These are the days of separation…
Goats and sheep.

Stay on board…the surf is rough but a Calm will soon still the waters.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:
if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,
and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy,
God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city,
which are described in this book.

Revelation 22:18-19

summoned to live…

Amid all the fear that characterizes our time,
we Christians are summoned to live in joy and communicate joy—
joy in spite of fear, joy in the midst of fear.

Hans Urs von Balthasar
from You Crown the Year with Your Goodness


(December sunset in Georgia 2013 / Julie Cook)

“Prayers are God-filled words in which our love and God’s love are joined.
That love embraces the people for whom we are praying,
and love always changes people and situations.
This doesn’t mean that we will always get what we want,
but Jesus does promise that we will get what we need.”

Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM, p. 14
An Except From
Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit

the year of the bull….crap

“What’s broken is broken—and I’d rather remember it as it was at its best
than mend it and see the broken places as long as I live…
I’m too old to believe in such sentimentalities as clean slates and starting all over.”

Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind


(the running of the bulls in Spain)

I have just about reached my breaking point with this year.
For all sorts of reasons…
And my heart is heavy and is now slightly broken if not totally broken.

But a story has come to my heart…
and I know it is from God…

Long ago there was a young boy who lived in a small Spanish village.
This young boy had come to live with his grandparents when he was but an infant.
This was due to the fact that his parents had both been killed during the civil war.
He’s known no other family but his grandparents.

His grandfather, who was a man larger than life—was a man who this young boy adored.
Each year this grandfather would participate in the local running of the bulls.
It was a long-standing tradition in his village.
It was a rite of passage and a rite of position within the hierarchy of the village.
The grandfather was legendary for his exploits.

Tourists have since begun flocking to participate, but it has been to the local men
who this tradition has truly mattered.

The young boy looked to his grandfather, the only man he’d known in his life
as a father, was the closest thing to a superhero.

Each year in the spring, the grandfather would join the other men of the village
in the annual running of the bulls.
The young boy’s grandmother would simply roll her eyes and dismiss her husband’s foolishness.
She would fuss and cuss her husband’s folly.
But to the man, it spoke of his position in his village.
And yet to the boy, it was not foolishness, it was pure exhilaration and wonderment.
He longed for the day that he could join his grandfather.

The grandfather would tell his grandson of the single strategy for staying one
step ahead of the massive wild animal…
“The bull, the toro,” he would tell his grandson, “runs with fear…
you, you must run with confidence and vision.”

After many more years, the day joyously arrived, the boy would finally be allowed to
join his grandfather and the elders of the village.
He was joining the man he loved, the man who had known many years of wear and tear.
The years of both life and living had taken their toll on the old man…
however, as with every year, he was undeterred, he would run.
And the boy, now a young man, would finally run with his grandfather.

The old man coached his grandson…
“if you hear the pounding hooves, listen for the vibrating sound…
listen with your heart…listen with your ears.
If you hear and feel the sound upon either your left or your right.
If you hear or feel the pounding in your left ear, lean right…if you hear or feel it
from the right, lean toward the left.
If you feel the hot breath on your back, you must run faster, then jump either left or right
because by this time, it matters not, it could be too late.”

When the day finally arrived and the old men and young men were all assembled,
the nervous bulls were brought toward the crowd.
The bulls were always local bulls–well known by the local villagers.
Many were tended by the local farmers.

This year, however, there was a new and different bull brought into the fold of the local animals.
He was unfamiliar and even the local bulls were cautious.
He had a different look in his eye.
There was no familiarity.
He was massive for his size.
His muscles involuntarily reflexed across his back.
He was pure black, almost blue in the light of day but the magic
within this bull was not pure…he was very nervous.

There was an empty coldness found in his eyes.
He had not been nurtured by this village.
He had not been tended to by the local farmers…

He was what was known as a rouge bull.

The city’s bell tower sounded, the signal for the participants to start running
as the animals were released.

In the teeming melee of hundreds of participants, the boy lost track of his grandfather.
The throng of runners moved in a unified mass until the bulls began to penetrate the
mass one by one.
The mass began to diverge.

Bodies peeled to the left while other bodies peeled to the right…
many bodies simply fell upon one another…falling into a heap upon the ancient cobblestone pavers
as tons of massive sinew, muscle and hooves rumbled mercifulness over the mass of lost humanity.

Yet the boy ran.
He was listening, hard.
He sensed.
Bodies would suddenly fall by his side with a sickening thud.
Yet he couldn’t stop to assess the damage, his grandfather had taught him to run.

Suddenly, the boy heard the hooves but he couldn’t determine…
were they left or were they right?

He was running as the sweat poured from his brow.
The salt stung his eyes.
He blinked and inadvertently wiped his face.
He dared not turn his head lest he trip.

Suddenly, there was the sensation of a strange hot steam wafting into his nostrils.
It was both suffocating as well as acridly putrid.

And that is when he felt the jolt.

A searing sharp pain pierced his left flank.
In what seemed to be a moment of slow motion, his chest seemed to simply deflate
as his body was lifted almost magically into the sky.

He was floating, effortlessly.
It seemed like a lifetime…floating, flying, no effort.

And yet the crash was heavy.
There was a shattering thump.
Searing pain flooded his consciousness.
A broken torso.
Disrespected by hundreds of thousands of pounds of hooves…
hooves disregarding what lay underfoot.

The boy lay upon the dirty but cool ancient pavers.
His body now a twisted and contorted mass–unnatural in position.
A dark black liquid pooled against his cheek.

At some point, he remembers not when, he was lifted upon a litter and carried
to the local hospital.

His grandfather, what of his grandfather, he implores with barely an
audible breath.

“Your grandfather is gone.” the medic replied stoicaly.
The toro pierced his heart, in one fell blow…
but it was not before the locals shot the bull to stop his rampage.
It is why you are still here, your grandfather diverted the bull at the
the very moment he attempted to gore you.

The moral of the tale…

Remember, the enemy runs with fear.
We, on the other hand, must run with confidence and vision.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

who you gonna call????

Most Christians don’t hear God’s voice because we’ve already decided
we aren’t going to do what He says.

Aiden Wilson Tozer

I had the best of intentions this morning, during fevered delirium, of writing a funny post
about honeybuns, aka formaldehyde wrapped in plastic…but my enthusiasm and energy have both waned.

Long story…my husband and I have had what we’ve figured to be the crud…
receiving said crud from time spent with a croupy Mayor.

Mine went to my sinuses, which is my typical MO…
But last night, at 3:20 AM, our home security alarm began blaring.
My husband who normally wears hearing aids, can’t hear squat without them…
not even a blaring siren…WOOOOOO WOOOOOO WOOOOOO

We have said system because my husband was in the jewelry business and we live in
the middle of nowhere on 5 acres off the road…
so call it a bit of peace of mind…or not.

So at 3:20 with a blaring alarm, I immediately jumped from the bed,
screaming at my husband that the alarm was going off as I flipped on the lights and ran
to check where the “breach” was located.

In the meantime, my husband scrambles to cut off his alarm clock because,
in his sleepy deaf state, he thinks I’m fussing because his alarm clock is going off.

I ran to the alarm pad—it read that the breach was at the windows in our closet…
the one just off our bedroom.

At that point the phone rings—it’s the alarm company.
The gal states that they have an alarm code breach coming from our home.

Naturally at 3:20 in the morning, when I’m in the middle of a possible break-in, I tend to
be a tad frantic.

My husband grabs his gun (yes he has a license and has had both hunting guns and a gun he
kept at the jewelry store. He was actually shot during an armed robbery a couple of years
before we met, so let’s just say he’s been cautious ever since.)

He proceeds to scope out the closet then walks through the house.
All the while, the girl on the phone asks “do you want me to dispatch the police?”

I practically scream to my husband “SHOULD SHE SEND THE POLICE!?”

See, I’m the kind of person who, when trouble comes calling,
I want the cavalry to come running.
But what with all this defund the police crap, it’s like Charles Barkley said,
“who you gonna call, Ghostbusters???”

But my husband said no…he thinks it was just glitchy wires.
Glitchy wires??!!
And yet I will say that Percy the cat was still nestled in his bed…
had someone been in the house, Percy would have been the first to hide.

We got back into bed and my husband falls readily to sleep.
Who does that?
I, on the other hand, lay there in the dark…listening.
Waiting for a chainsaw massacre psycho to come busting into our bedroom.
Like a little kid, I feel safer if I bury myself in the covers…like
no one can tell I’m in the bed…
eye-rolling obviously.

I keep listening.

Was someone outside?
Were they going to try another window or door?
The dark has a bad way of playing with our fears.
I pray while my ears play tricks on me.

Suddenly, I notice how very cold I am, and how achy I feel.
Great, I was running a fever.
I never run a fever unless it’s serious.

I laid there until daylight.
Balled up in a shivering clump hidden under the covers…just
waiting for daylight to know I was safe…sick, but safe.

At daybreak, I stutter from under the covers, “I think I’m dying.”
“What? says my deaf husband.
I ask my husband if he could please go get me the thermometer…
“And please make certain it’s ours and not the rectal one for the kids!!!”
I didn’t have on my glasses so I took my chances.

101.4

My husband showers and goes to make coffee…forgetting to feed the cats…
Who both proceed to jump on and off the bed until I stumble from bed, feeling like death,
in order to feed them.
He complains I never let him help enough around the house and yet the one morning of
death and dying, when his help would have been so greatly appreciated,
…well, he was sitting in his chair with his warm cup of coffee…
oblivious to 8 legs of bedlam.

I ask him rather indignantly why did he not feed the cats…
“I never saw them” he lazily responds.
“That’s because they were jumping all over me!!!”
Sigh…

I call the ENT’s office at 8.
Telling them of my ailments but would I need a COVID test first?
Oh no, the nurse tells me, we’ll do that here.

Oooo, a one-stop-shop—great!

Long story short…
I had a strep test, a flu test, and a COVID test.
While we waited on those tests to process, they took x-rays…“well you definitely have
a sinus infection”
the PA tells me—
and then blessedly the other tests came back negative.
YAY, I guess, because she said there are both false negatives and false positives…
And I still felt like crap.

Two shots and a prescription later…we still wonder.

And so now when you think you might have a cold, flu, virus…what was once simple and ordinary…
well, it is not so ordinary anymore…rather it is now very complicated.

How could I have gotten it?
I wear my mask at the grocery store…I really don’t go to many other places.

And then it hit me.

My husband’s hunting buddy jokingly handed me a honeybun the other day as my
birthday gift.
He knows I hate those things.
I think they could survive a nuclear bomb.
My dad loved them.
My husband’s buddy thought it was an appropriate and funny gift.
And yet I actually got him something nice and real.

And then two days later, this friend calls to tell us his wife, daughter, son in law, and two little
grandkids have tested positive.

And then it dawns on me…
It was the handoff of the honey bun!

So I’m to the point now that no one seems to know which is what.
Gather, don’t gather…mask, don’t mask…Thanksgiving, no Thanksgiving, false positives,
false negatives…vaccines, no vaccines

So maybe Charles is right…who ya gonna call??? Ghostbusters…??

Nahhh…

My Refuge and My Fortress
Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

today’s view and forecast…questionable with a heavy dose of ominous

“The goodness of God is the highest object of prayer,
and it reaches down to our lowest need.
It quickens our soul and gives it life, and makes it grow in grace and virtue.”

St. Julian of Norwich


(my initial view this morning /Julie Cook / 2020)

So recently I have spent time running from ologist to ologist,
with a few MDs thrown in for good measure.

About a year or so ago you might remember that I was thought to be a carrier
for hemochromatosis.
A genetic disposition for the body to store up iron.
Iron is not eliminated by the body…it usually gets what it needs to function
from food, or if necessary, from supplements.

I had no idea that the body can’t process out extra iron…extra iron gets
stored up in organs, much like a grain silo—
organs don’t do well with a growing surplus of iron that is not used up.

It was eventually determined that I did not have full-blown hemochromatosis but I do,
however, possess one variant gene.
One normal gene and one not so normal gene.
So what that means is that I am a carrier who is having storage issues.
All because that blasted one rouge gene has got my body acting like
a freaking storage silo.

Soooo, the solution???…drain off the blood.

My current numbers are at 336…normal is 150.

So last week I had to see a slew of doctors.

I saw the gastroenterologist, a hematologist, my regular Internal med doctor
along with a radiologist while both my gynecologist and rheumatologist loudly weighed
in on all the bloodwork.

Seems this blood of mine is a quandary that’s gotten my medical folks in a dither.

One marker read that I was at high risk for blood clots.
That sent three of the 6 into a tizzy…each screaming, in his or her own way,
that I needed to start a baby aspirin a day or even blood thinners while immediately
coming back off the estrogen.

WHOA—HOLD ON!” I yelled!
“I just got back on the estrogen after two months of misery and zero sleep!!!”

There were a few other pesky issues as well so it was off to the hospital
for an abdominal CT scan along with, you guessed it, more bloodwork.

The good news is that the CT scan was all good except for my back…
but I already knew that.
The other good news was that the clotting markers were now perfectly normal…
HA! The estrogen can stay…thank the Lord!

But the iron…aka ferritin, well, it was over twice what it needs to be.
That meant a visit to the vampire transfusion center.


(ugh)

The last time I gave blood of any real significance, as in a pound bag’s worth,
was back in 1977.
I was a junior in high school and gave at our school’s blood drive.

After I was finished, I sat up on the table only to fall back down.
I repeated the up and down business several more times until I was told
to finally stay down.

After an hour or so and a few cookies later, I was released back to class…
and it was now time for lunch.

I can vividly remember getting my salad and walking back to the lunch table.
I looked at my salad and that’s all I remembered…until I woke
up, flat on my back, on the floor with salad scattered all around me while
folks hovered over me.

So no, I don’t give blood.

Tubes and viles, yes– bags full, no.

This morning when I ventured to the transfusion center, I explained all of this
to the nurse who was going to be siphoning me off.
She assured me that once I was done, she’d replace the lost blood with
a bag of fluid.

I was in an area that had 4 sections, all with divider curtains,
where other folks were propped up in order to receive cancer treatments and the like.

In fact, the whole floor was divided into sections of fours where patients
all sat tethered to various bags or machines.
Each reclining chair had a TV if one was so inclined to watch.
I just attempted to catch up in blogland and with the news on my phone
using my one unencumbered hand—that being my left and
opposite of the one I am comfortable using–so it was more like fumbling
with a phone.

Since it was so early, I’d really not eaten breakfast.
I was told that that was bad and that I needed to eat the pack
of crackers they were shoving at me.

When she started draining me off, my arm was uncomfortable but I thought
no big deal, I can do this.

As I neared the end of filling the bag, I noticed that I was not feeling well.
In fact, I was feeling really really bad.
I think the nurse must have noticed this too…probably
because I was now drained of all color and I had jerked off
my face mask…as I kept mumbling something about thinking I was
going to throw up.

Immediately she flipped my chair back so far that I was practically on my head
as she quickly hooked up the blood pressure machine.
80 over 40.

Immediately she began administering the fluids.

Halfway through the bag, she brought my chair back up to a normal position.
When the bag was empty the BP reading was now 91 over 56…better
but not where she wanted it.
I had started at 124 over 64.

Another bag and 30 minutes later I was up to 110 over 56—
a number it seemed we both could live with…literally.

And off I went…with an appointment to return in December.

As I looked around me in that large room with lots of folks
hooked up to things for various treatments…I pondered things
larger than my little bag of blood.

Some of the folks looked basically like me, healthy on the outside.
Some were elderly.
Some moaned and winced in pain.

And so I thought about this countdown week if you will.

A week like no other that any of us has ever known.

A week of ominous anticipation.

Many are scared.
Many are fearful
Many grow both anxious and angry.
All the while falsehoods, vehemence, and accusations whirl through the very
air we breathe.

Yet what of all the folks all over this nation of ours, all in rooms similar
to where I sat today…folks hooked up to machines, being fed medicines
in hopes of offering them some glimmer of a future…a chance to continue
life as they once knew it before a disease.

Some will not survive their treatments.
Some will not survive their diseases.

Some will.

Yet contrary to popular belief…we, meaning you and me,
will survive this election.
No matter who you vote for, the world as you know it will not cease nor
implode on Tuesday.
So quit acting like the sky is falling.

Satan feeds us fear…so don’t take it.

Oh, it might feel that life will end.
And it might get ugly before it gets better.
But you and I are not hooked up to a machine that is treating us
for a terminal illness…this election will not kill us—
despite what many of us are thinking.

A few weeks back, I read two different yet telling posts by our dear friend Oneta.

Oneta is a wise woman who is rooted in the Word of God.

I listen when she speaks…or make that, I take notice when she writes.

These particular posts of hers gave me much to chew on and a sense
of calm.

Please take the time to read what she has written.
They are not long posts.

NO, I DON’T THINK DJT IS THE MESSIAH BUT…

MORE CYRUS/TRUMP

Remember God is always stronger than evil!

“Many things happen that God does not will.
But he still permits them, in his wisdom, and they remain a stumbling block
or scandal to our minds.
God asks us to do all we can to eliminate evil.
But despite our efforts, there is always a whole set of circumstances which we can do nothing about,
which are not necessarily willed by God but nevertheless are permitted by him,
and which God invites us to consent to trustingly and peacefully,
even if they make us suffer and cause us problems.
We are not being asked to consent to evil, but to consent to the mysterious wisdom of God
who permits evil.
Our consent is not a compromise with evil but the expression of our trust
that God is stronger than evil.
This is a form of obedience that is painful but very fruitful.”

Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 33
An Excerpt From
In the School of the Holy Spirit

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)

if going home was an option

“Failure is an option, fear is not.”
James Cameron


(odd things find themselves caught in a hurricane chruning an angry sea / Julie Cook / 2020)

Well, we would have attempted to venture home this morning after a long sleepless night,
but…we would have been following and driving directly back into Sally as
she ventured inland and northward.

The wind and rain have been constant all-day as are the flooding and tornados—
We just weren’t too keen on driving in such.

So maybe tomorrow will be a better day at the beach.


(Sally’s leftover mess / Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 20202)

So we do not lose heart.
Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things
that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient,
but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Quid est veritas?

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.
In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.
Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate

(John 18:37-38)


(Ecce Homo /”Behold the Man”/ Antonio Ciseri / 1871)

I decided yesterday to take a quick look back, curious as to past posts where
I’ve written about “truth.”
There were 24 pages of posts in which the word and thoughts about truth were woven
within the body of a post and there were 14 separate posts that had the word “truth”
as the title or within the title.

Obviously, it is an ongoing thought.

I mentioned this to IB yesterday as a comment to her post
https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/you-have-to-kill-the-bad-guys/

you know IB–the bottom line to all of our posts regarding this madness comes down
to one common single thread—that being Truth.

Amen, Julie.
I think I feel the need to just keep repeating the Truth
over and over again because the world has gone quite mad.
We’re in real danger of losing it and so we have to speak it back into existence.
I love how Jesus says “I am the Truth the way and the life.”
Good news, because now we got something to hang onto. 🙂

Yesterday I shared about reading a new book by Erik Larson, The Splendid and the Vile
A Saga of Chruchill, Family and The Defiance During the Blitz

At the end of yesterday’s post, I whittled it down to the basis of one
simple lament—

“All were willing to stand up rather than kneel to fascism.

And the sad irony today, these 75 years later, is that Western Civilization
now seeks to embrace fascism, socialism, Marxism…ideologies she once
vehemently stood ardently against…
all the while vying to defend her dear democracy.

So what happened in the time span of 75 years?

I suppose we’ll begin to look at this question in the coming days…”

And so I begin looking back…

And I want to start with The Truth…

The Truth.
Quid est veritas?
What is the Truth?
And what part does that Truth play in where we are today?

One thing I know, we are afraid of the truth.

We burn it.


(Burning Bibles in Portland / Denison Forum /Activists burned a stack of Bibles
in front of the federal courthouse in Portland Friday night.
A statue of Jesus was beheaded recently at a Miami church.)

“I would put myself in the attitude to look in the eye an abstract truth,
and I cannot. I blench and withdraw on this side and on that.
I seem to know what he meant who said, No man can see God face to face and live.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

in the year 2525…or is that 2020??

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Albert Einstein

“Life can only be understood backwards;
but it must be lived forwards.”

Søren Kierkegaard


(popular science)

Are you old enough to remember the 1968 number 1 billboard hit song
“In the year 2525”?

I am…
I hated it then and I think I hate it even more now.

It was a futuristic sort of song…dismal and depressing.
A song that told the tale of the world as we know it growing more and more separate
from that of mankind…to the point that mankind is basically eliminated.
As in no longer necessary.

It was a song that became a number one hit on both sides of the pond but it was
a one-hit-wonder for its artists.

It was a song written by a pop-rock duo of Denny Zager and Rick Evans.

According to Wikipedia the basic gist of the song is:
“In the Year 2525” opens with an introductory verse explaining that if mankind
has survived to that point, he would witness the subsequent events in the song.

Subsequent verses pick up the story at 1,010-year intervals from 3535 to 6565.
In each succeeding millennium, life becomes increasingly sedentary and automated:
thoughts are pre-programmed into pills for people to consume,
machines take over all work, resulting in eyes, teeth, and limbs losing their purposes,
and marriage becomes obsolete since children are conceived in test tubes.
Then the pattern as well as the music changes, going up a half step in the key of the song
(chromatic modulation), after two stanzas, first from A-flat minor, to A minor.

For the final three millennia, now in B flat minor, the tone of the song turns apocalyptic:
the year 7510 marks the date by which the Second Coming will have happened,
and the Last Judgment occurs one millennium later.
By 9595, with the song now in B minor, the Earth becomes completely depleted of resources,
potentially resulting in the death of all life.

The song ends in the year 10,000.
By that time, man has become extinct.
But the song notes that in another solar system (or universe),
the scenarios told in the song may still be playing out,
as the beginning of the song repeats and the recording fades out.

The overriding theme, of a world doomed by its passive acquiescence to and overdependence
on its own overdone technologies, struck a resonant chord in millions of people around
the world in the late 1960s.
The song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart during the Apollo 11 moon landing.

As a near 10-year-old in 1968, the song, although playing on all the radios,
had an ominous and monotone feel that actually frightened me.

How such a depressing song could rise to the top of the music charts was beyond my
comprehension…but then again, it was 1968 and 1969 and life in the US, as well as
most of the world, was quite precarious.

We had the Vietnam War, a civil rights movement, a summer of love, hippies,
an angry women’s lib movement, free love, free sex, the pill, burning bras,
a moon landing along with all sorts of protests left and right.

So wouldn’t you know it…out of the blue, those stupid lyrics popped into my head
this afternoon.

I suppose it’s because I’m feeling some hidden residual 1968 angst stemming from
a futuristic song titled ‘in the year 2525’ all coming into focus in the year 2020.

Maybe it’s some odd form of PTSD percolating to the surface from being a preteen
during the tumultuous late ’60s.

2020 seems to be pulling upon those hidden memories
and thus far, it certainly isn’t proving to be the greatest of years.

I have made a mental note of how many conversations I’ve had over the past month–
be it with friends, folks at the grocery store, the post office, the dry cleaners,
family members, the doctor’s office, blog friends, etc—conversations that have each
concluded with folks lamenting aloud that we are living in our final days.
As in…this must be the end of time and are we currently in the thick of it…

Yet I know what Scripture tells us…we will not know the day nor time..
like a thief in the night…He will come…unannounced.

In 2015, I went to Ireland–it was to be the last adventure with my aunt—a sad
truth that at the time, neither of us could have seen or known.

The trip which was just another in a list of adventures actually became more
of a pilgrimage.

God spoke very clearly to me during that tirp.
I’ve written about that before.

It just so happened that during that trip,
I became aware of an obscure 12th-century Irish archbishop and later saint,
Saint Malachy.

I love a good historical mystery—don’t you?

It seems that St. Malachy was a bit of a prophet regarding the seat of Peter.

According to Irish Central, In 1139, then Archbishop Malachy went to Rome from Ireland
to give an account of his affairs.
While there he received a strange vision about the future that included the name of every pope,
112 in all from his time, who would rule until the end of time.
We are now at the last prophecy.

The prediction in full is: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there
will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations,
after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will
judge the people.
The End.”

The father of the current pope [Pope Francis] was Peter, or Pietro,
and was from Italy even though the family moved to Argentina.

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/st-malachy-prophecy-pope-francis

During the trip, while in County Donegal, the original home to my aunt’s grandparents,
I had wandered into a small shop where an obscure little book caught my attention.
Prophecies of St Malachy & Columbkille

I already knew a great deal about St Columba (Columbkille) who hailed from
County Donegal and spent his life evangelizing the pagan Celtic lands of both
Ireland and Scotland, but Malachy was new to me.

Intrigued, I bought the book.

And so I ask you…
Is the global Church not under dire persecution?
Has the seat of Peter not been hated through the ages by
both Believer and nonbeliever?

Are Malachy’s words mere coincidence?
I don’t know.
Maybe.

Only time will tell.

So recently, at a low moment following the fresh riots in Atlanta and months of pandemic lockdown,
I sent an almost desperate email to a dear friend in Ireland.

This friend is a fierce Believer who I know hears very clearly the spoken word of God–
something I myself often struggle to hear.

I asked him what might God be telling us during these such trying times.

He waited quite some time before sending a response as he wanted
to hear clearly a true answer to my question.

His response was a balm to my soul…
I don’t think he’ll mind me sharing a portion of his reply…

“God is in control.
We are down to the bare bones.
Your faith is being tested.
God says I AM THAT I AM—this has been known since before time–
since before you were born.
While God did not create the situation, He is control of it.
I know that’s hard to believe when you are in the thick of it but you need to think back
on all the times you personally have known [that] God has moved in your life.
This is it Julie it is your maker and He wants you to tune out of this world
and focus on Him.
Not an easy thing to do but He is there amid all the chaos and lies and anger
and pain.
God sent his only son for you and me and all who would believe.
His love knows no bounds.
He is in control for you and your family– for me and my family– He will not let you down.
I know He has not failed me, even though I fail constantly.’
Keep the faith.
Know that God, Jesus the Holy Spirit are always with you and your family…”

So yes, these are depressing and frightening times…much like that stupid song.
And yes, the Chruch is in turmoil…as well as conveniently shuttered when
her flock needs her most…
Are we truly in the end times…?
I can’t say.
It feels like it but then again, previous generations have felt much the same
as we feel now.

But in the end, one truth remains…God is still God and I am not.

everything is NOT ok…

How do you wake up from a nightmare
when you’re not asleep?

Unknown

“Lives that Matter Are Made with Positive Purpose.”
(OK Cafe sign during Atlanta’s unrest)


(The OK Cafe, an Atlanta instituion)

On Saturday, I received an interesting email.
At first, I wasn’t certain what it was about.
I wasn’t certain what Liberty House Restaurant Corp. was until I read a bit into the email.
I realized that it’s actually the name of the group that owns two of Atlanta’s
iconic restaurants.

The OK Cafe and Blue Ridge Grill.


(Blue Ridge Grill interior)

Both of these restaurants are two that my family has enjoyed visiting during the past
30 years or so…
despite the fact that they’ve been going strong for a good 41 years.

I can remember when our son was little, driving over to Atlanta on Sunday mornings
just to take him to the OK Cafe for breakfast—some of the best pancakes.

The Mayor and Sheriff now enjoy that same simple pleasure.

We’ve also celebrated many memorable events at the Blue Ridge Grill.
With the last being last year’s Father’s Day lunch.

And so when I read the following email, I was incensed.

We all know that many restaurants across this country have suffered grievously during
this pandemic.
Some have been unable to rally back following the shutdowns.

People have suffered the loss of work, the loss of income, the loss of camaraderie
and for many, the loss of a lifetime of work, hopes, and dreams.

And so just when folks were trying to kickstart their businesses and livelihoods,
here come the rioters, looters, vandals, antagonists, anarchists and racial extremists
who have decided our lives need to all go in another sort of direction.

A direction of violence, fear, and intimidation rather than emergence, renewed health
and hope.

These two restaurants did not ask to be in the crosshairs of the current
wave of civil unrest.
When the protesters commandeered the main street and parking lot to these restaurants,
both restaurants offered the protestors free tea and lemonade…
that’s the Southern way of hospitality.

They did have a couple of banners up hoping to showcase their support to
“all” people as well as keeping the peace during a peace-filled protest…
they also expressed their simple love of America,.

And it was that very notion of hospitality and peace that went terribly
wrong for this group of would-be do-gooders.

So now Homeland Security is monitoring their restaurants.
They have received death threats and a barrage of hate-filled
social media threats and attacks.

All because of a sense of hospitality, a hope for peace and the notion that
all lives do matter and in turn, can be a cause for the positive…

May those of us who believe in the same sense of kindness, caring, hospitality
and hope support those businesses who are simply trying to make
a living by serving us and making us happy.

Maynard Jackson (1938-2003) was the first black mayor of Atlanta.
He was the same Mayor who worked to bring the Summer Olympics to Atlanta in 1996.

He famously proclaimed that “Atlanta is the city too busy to hate”
I always believed that…until now.

Dear Liberty House Restaurant Friends,

It seems that we have found our company in an unusual – and perhaps dangerous – situation.
Richard & I have been under police protection and OK Café is being monitored by Homeland Security.

Wow! How did it get to this?

For those who know us, you’ll know that we are not here just to make money.
For 41 years we’ve served up Southern hospitality and helped showcase and identify our Southern culture.
Our aim was – and is – to make Atlanta a world-class city.
Liberty House is part of the fabric of Atlanta.

Since we’ve never been attacked before, I’d like to make our position clear:

On June 7th, a few days after the destructive riots in our city center and
throughout Buckhead, some people felt it right to organize a march down
West Paces Ferry Road to “bring the people of Buckhead out from behind their screens”
(the Marcher’s cry).

By June 7th, OK Café and Blue Ridge Grill had only reopened 4 days before and
like all others in the shopping center,
we weighed the dangers of looting or harm to our staff and customers, so we closed again.
The marchers took over our parking lot anyways, so no customers could have parked.
The marchers were mostly peaceful – that day.

For our part, we put up two signs at OK Café and served tea.
As is our 1st amendment right to do.
The banner read:
“Lives that Matter Are Made with Positive Purpose.”

Blue Ridge Grill had a tent and served lemonade.
Their sign read:
“Law & Order = Peace”

And Marvin Gaye’s lyrics;
“Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on.”

And lastly a red, white, and blue sign draped the front of OK Café on Northside Parkway.
Loud and proud it read:
“OK Café LOVES America.”

Since then we have received hundreds of negative reviews online.
We have been told, kneel or go out of business.

If loving America is wrong – I don’t wanna be right.
And our great and mighty team stands with us on this point.

Susan DeRose
President
Liberty House Restaurant Corp.

Strive for peace with everyone,
and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

(I’ll be on a bit of a hiatus for the remainder of the week)