awareness

“Essentially a soldier, the Christian is always on the lookout.
He has sharper ears and hears an undertone that others miss;
his eyes see things in a particularly candid light,
and he senses something to which others are insensible,
the streaming of a vital current through all things.
He is never submerged in life, but keeps his head and shoulders clear of it
and his eyes free to look upward.
Consequently he has a deeper sense of responsibility than others.
When this awareness and watchfulness disappear,
Christian life loses its edge; it becomes dull and ponderous.”

Fr. Romano Guardini, p. 177


(late season coneflowers / Julie Cook / 2021)

Awareness.

Merriam Webster tells us that the meaning of the word awareness is:
knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.

And so as we now find ourselves watching the shadows lengthen while pulling
our jackets ever tighter in order to fend off the oncoming cold…
in reality, we are doing more than merely watching shadows and
warding off an ensuing chill..
we are actually entering into a season of both gratitude and of
great anticipation.

And thus I cannot help but to be reminded of this notion of awareness.

It is that almost innate ability to know and to understand something that
does indeed exist yet which is without a visual, tangible or physical
existence.

Not seen, nor touched…and yet…it is.

It is a visceral awareness of something other then…
or is that something more than?

It is something that reaches beyond the realm of here and now.
It is something that resides deep within rather than blatantly
outward.

And despite it not being something that is physically touched or held,
nonetheless, it is.

It exists because we are indeed aware.

We have a deep knowledge that it is indeed happening and active.
We yearn to see it, touch it, feel it, hold it…and yet despite
it being simply beyond our reach…we still know that it is indeed real.

It is something that lingers in both our capacity for thought
as well as within our basic sense of understanding.

And it is in that sense of awareness and understanding and knowing that our
brain actually acknowledges its existence.

We simply don’t imagine it into reality.
We don’t dream it into reality.
We don’t wish it into reality.
Because that which is, is indeed of reality.

We are aware and acknowledge the existence of this entity because we
cognizantly know that it is.

And whereas our emotions reassure us of its reality, it is our brain’s
ability to make us first aware and then secondly to assist us to acknowledge
that which is…as we may then fully proclaim the reality.

Our brain tells us what our heart already knows…
that being the simple awareness of Love…

And thus we find the transcendence of Love in both time and space.
As we become both aware of as well as  full of the knowledge of it very existence.

We become fully conscious that this entity, this awareness,
this thing known as Love…exists in all that was,
all that is and all that will be.

And thus the emotion becomes the acknowledgment and awareness of
Truth.
Our Truth.
Our Hope.
Our Home.
Our saving Grace…

“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness,
and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee;
I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.
Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’
Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty
lowland where I have wandered so long.”

A.W.Tozer

goodness and guides

“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God
for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.”

St. Gianna Molla


(yellow roses / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Faith and love are like the blind man’s guides.
They will lead you along a path unknown to you,
to the place where God is hidden.”

St. John of the Cross

comapassion, endurance, perseverance

“Three things are necessary to everyone:
truth of faith which brings understanding,
love of Christ which brings compassion,
and endurance of hope which brings perseverance.”

St. Bonaventure


(a pollen laden honey bee / Julie Cook / 2021)

“My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls,
and especially for poor sinners.
If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers
to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed
from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy.
For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy.
I desire to bestow My graces upon souls,
but they do not want to accept them.
You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take
these graces they do not want to accept.
In this way you will console My Heart.
Oh, how indifferent are souls to so much goodness,
to so many proofs of love!
My Heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness
of souls living in the world.
They have time for everything, but they have
no time to come to Me for graces.”

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 367
An Excerpt From
Diary of St. Faustina

fix your sights and do not hide!

“Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us.
For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain.
He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love.
We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”

St. Francis of Paola


(bullseye glass / Paris, France, Julie Cook / 2018)

“Now man need not hide from God as Adam did;
for He can be seen through Christ’s human nature.
Christ did not gain one perfection more by becoming man,
nor did He lose anything of what He possessed as God.
There was the Almightiness of God in the movement of His arm,
the infinite love of God in the beatings of His human heart and the
Unmeasured Compassion of God to sinners in His eyes.
God was now manifest in the flesh; this is what is called the Incarnation.
The whole range of the Divine attributes of power and goodness,
justice, love, beauty, were in Him.
And when Our Divine Lord acted and spoke, God in His perfect nature became manifest
to those who saw Him and heard Him and touched Him. As He told Philip later on:
Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father [John 14:9].”

Fulton J. Sheen, p. 21
An Excerpt From
Life of Christ

Love is a strong force

“I see clearly with the interior eye, that the sweet God loves with a pure love
the creature that He has created, and has a hatred for nothing but sin,
which is more opposed to Him than can be thought or imagined.”

St. Catherine of Genoa


(Da with a tired Mayor and Sheriff / Julie Cook / 20201)

“Love is a strong force — a great good in every way;
it alone can make our burdens light, and alone it bears in equal balance
what is pleasing and displeasing.
It carries a burden and does not feel it; it makes all that is bitter taste sweet.
Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing higher, nothing stronger, nothing larger,
nothing more joyful, nothing fuller, nothing better in heaven or on earth; f
or love is born of God and can find its rest only in God above all He has created.
Such lovers fly high, run swiftly and rejoice.
Their souls are free; they give all for all and have all in all.
For they rest in One supreme Goodness above all things,
from Whom all other good flows and proceeds.
They look not only at the gifts, but at the Giver, Who is above all gifts.”

Thomas à Kempis, p. 108
An Excerpt From
Imitation of Christ

Death means not ruin but restoration—undertake that which is for God’s glory

“So, if God has not resolved to cast His work back into nothingness forever,
if this earth, sanctified by the footsteps of Christ, is destined,
once radiant and renewed, to remain forever,
then man must rise again in a future life to reconquer its scepter and kingship.
Hence, once more, it follows that death means not ruin but restoration.
If God has decreed that our earthly abode shall one day be dissolved,
it is not for the purpose of despoiling us of it, but to render it subtle, immortal, serene.
His aim may be compared to that of an architect, says St. John Chrysostom,
who has the inhabitants leave his house for a short period,
in order to have him return with greater glory to that same house,
now rebuilt in greater splendor.”

Fr. Charles Arminjon, p. 84
An Excerpt From
The End of the Present World


(Cable’s Mill / Cades Cove, The Great Smokey Mt. Nat. Park / 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

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

Deus absconditus

“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man:
to know what he ought to believe;
to know what he ought to desire;
and to know what he ought to do.”

St. Thomas Aquinas


(a fallen leaf hangs in the balance by the thread of a spider / Julie Cook / 2019)

“One of the most formidable obstacles to the conversion of a soul is the fact that
God is a hidden God: Deus absconditus.
But God, in His goodness, reveals Himself, in a certain manner, through His saints,
and even through fervent souls.
In this way, the supernatural filters through and becomes visible to the faithful,
who are thus able to apprehend something of the mystery of God…
make no mistake, there is a sort of instinct by which souls,
without clearly defining what it is they sense,
are aware of this radiation of the supernatural.”

Dom Jean-Baptist Chautard, p. 124-5
An Excerpt From
Soul of the Apostolate

immovable and unswerving

Be one of the small numbers who finds the way to life, and enter by the narrow gate into Heaven.
Take care not to follow the majority and the common herd, so many of whom are lost.
Do not be deceived; there are only two roads: one that leads to life and is narrow;
the other that leads to death and is wide. There is no middle way.”

St. Louis de Montfort


(a late season flitery visits what blooms remain /Julie Cook / 2019)

I admit that I was unfamiliar with both of our guest speakers this morning.

But it was the Dominican monk, the Venerable Louis of Grenada, that drew in my attention,
in part because of his book.
I was rather intrigued by the title of his book written in 1555, The Sinner’s Guide.

While doing a little background research into this centuries-old book, it appears this “guide
has quite the staying power as it has been compared to Thomas à Kempis’ “The Imitation of Christ”

It caught my eye because my name was right there in the title…The “Sinners” Guide.

Because are not all of our names in that title?

Both of our guests today, who offer us their words of wisdom and faith, remind us that
there are no middle paths but rather only two…
a wide path and a very narrow path…and our’s must be the narrow…
the more difficult but the only way.

We are reminded not to follow the majority of the herd as they are actually lost.
Much like the proverbial lemmings racing precariously toward the cliff of demise.

We are told not to put our trust nor hope in this world for it is rife with vanity,
malice, falsehood, and arrogance.

Be wary of false doctrine but rather remain steadfast…immovable with our goodness
unswerving in our faith…

“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

graces

“Three things are necessary to everyone:
truth of faith which brings understanding,
love of Christ which brings compassion,
and endurance of hope which brings perseverance.”

St. Bonaventure


(a gull prances in the surf / Julie Cook / 2019)

My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners.
If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that
it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy.
For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy.
I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them.
You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept.
In this way you will console My Heart.
Oh, how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love!
My Heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world.
They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces.”

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 367
An Excerpt From
Diary of St. Faustina