wonder upon wonder

“If you become Christ’s you will stumble upon wonder upon wonder,
and every one of them true.”

St. Brendan of Birr


(the vegatation on the forest floor / Julie Cook / 2020)

“Undertake courageously great tasks for God’s glory,
to the extent that he’ll give you power and grace for this purpose.
Even though you can do nothing on your own, you can do all things in him.
His help will never fail you if you have confidence in his goodness.
Place your entire physical and spiritual welfare in his hands.
Abandon to the fatherly concern of his divine providence every care for your health,
reputation, property, and business; for those near to you; for your past sins;
for your soul’s progress in virtue and love of him; for your life, death,
and especially your salvation and eternity—in a word, all your cares.
Rest in the assurance that in his pure goodness,
he’ll watch with particular tenderness over all your responsibilities and cares,
arranging all things for the greatest good.”

St. John Eudes, p. 363
An Excerpt From
A Year with the Saints

reflecting on love and beauty

Love does not make unnecessary the fulfillment of God’s commandments,
but is their deepest form of fulfillment.
The commandments are not external prescriptions,
which promise reward to those who fulfill them and threaten punishment to those who
fail to observe them.
Instead, they are the revelation of God’s salvific design,
indicating to us the way of his love.

Gerhard Cardinal Müller
from The Power of Truth


(a late November reflection offered by a creek—doesn’t it look as if the trees are
upsdie down reflected by the deep blue sky? / Julie Cook/ 2019)

Only a few colorful leaves remain dangling in the trees,
the majority of the multitudes have turned brown, or more aptly turned
loose, providing a freshly muted carpet covering the forest floor.

There is a vast quietness once the leaves fall and are damp underfoot.
No rustling of the wind through the trees and no crinkling underfoot.

But that doesn’t mean that beauty is now hidden…quite the contrary…
her reflection waits for the lucky ones who pass by…


(a late November reflection offerd by a creek/ Julie Cook / 2019)


(a late November reflection found in a creek / Julie Cook / 2019)

Who has not heard Dostoyevsky’s oft-quoted remark: ‘Beauty will save us’?
Usually people forget to mention, however, that by redeeming beauty Dostoyevsky
means Christ. He it is whom we must learn to see.
If we cease to know him only through words but are struck by the arrow of his paradoxical beauty,
then we will truly come to know him and will no longer merely know about him secondhand.
Then we will have encountered the beauty of truth, of redeeming truth.
Nothing can bring us into contact with the beauty of Christ himself more than
the world of beauty created by faith and the light that shines upon
the faces of the saints, through which his own light becomes visible.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
from On the Way to Jesus Christ

And the trees rejoice

Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.

1 Chronicles 16:33

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(all images Troup Co, Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

Images of trees can never ever offer the viewer of such pictures the same sense of smallness when standing in the presence of trees, be it within the enveloping forest and woods or of the grandeur of a lone tree or two dominating a yard or park reaching heavenward.

Trees are such an integral component to our lives as they offer protection, defense, housing, shelter, furniture, fuel. . . Just as they, in the midst of tempest storm, can be a device of terrible harm and destruction. Yet there just isn’t another living component on this Earth of ours which seems to offer such a towering presence of majesty, dominant beauty, power of presence, or stately purpose than that of a tree.

It is during this time of year, late summer, when I begin to watch, with keen and grand anticipation, the trees for they are the first to herald in a new season of time. Soon all of the land, in the northern hemisphere, will be ablaze with the overwhelming color of a million dazzling leaves. Red, yellow, magenta, orange, flame. . .all accented by the deep wispy greens of pines.

The silent sentinels in our lives, which like so much of this natural Earth, are most often ignored, sacrificed, or taken for granted. May we stop long enough, in the pace of our busy and hectic lives, taking time for wide eyed-wonder and observation, as well as for taking the time to offer thanks for the natural wonders and beauty which are so often over looked, forgotten or ignored. The daily gifts of beauty, strength and wonder given to us by our dear planet.