temptation and humility

“God wishes us to be meek even toward ourselves.
When a person commits a fault, God certainly wishes him to humble himself,
to be sorry for his sin, and to purpose never to fall into it again;
but he does not wish him to be indignant with himself,
and give way to trouble and agitation of mind; for,
while the soul is agitated, a man is incapable of doing good.”

St. Alphonsus De Liguori, p. 259
An Excerpt From
The Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori


(lone plover / Rosemary Beach/ Julie Cook / 2019)

At this point, it is extremely important to keep in mind that a person is not bad
because he has a temptation.
Many believe, because they have a temptation to pride, to avarice, to hate, to lust,
that there is something wrong with them.
There is nothing wrong with you if you are tempted.
You are not tempted because you are evil; you are tempted because you are human.
There is nothing intrinsically evil about human nature just because a little devil knocks
at the door.
Evil begins only when we open the door and consent to the temptation.
Scripture praises the man who suffers temptations. When we resist temptations,
we strengthen our character.

Ven. Fulton J. Sheen
from Life is Worth Living

endure the hatred of those he loves…

Suffering is part of Jesus’ mission.
His power to effect conversion stems from the fact that he is ready to endure the hatred of those he loves.
He can conquer this hatred only by a love that is all the greater, a love that is stronger than death.

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn
from The Evangelizing Parish


(magnolia bloom / Julie Cook / 2019)

Reading on and off of the back and forth tit for tat regarding Chrisitan suffering vs joy…
I have concluded that in this life we will most certainly know both.

It matters not what side of the fence you claim…both will find us eventually.

We will suffer and we will rejoice.

And we just always pray that we will rejoice a great deal more than we should ever suffer.

But both are part and parcel to living.

And as odd as it may seem…some of us are simply prone to one of the two more so than the other.
Why that is, only our Creator can say.

Yet there are lessons to be found in both of our times of joy and in our times of suffering.

It’s just that during those suffering moments, learning lessons or finding truths revealed
during such a time, is not top on the list as much as it is to simply remove the suffering.

So it came as no surprise that I was moved when reading Cardinal Schönborn’s words…
that suffering was a part of Jesus’ mission…
and the fact that he endured the hatred of those he loved..loved despite and through the
hate He knew existed…thus a ‘suffering’ of abiding love meets a wall of hate.

How many of us can do such?
To love in spite of reciprocal hate?

No easy task.

But imagine…imagine if we met the hate that stares us in the face with only
love.
Boy…how this world could be so different.

But I’ll be the first to admit, that it seems to be our human nature to rile
against that which opposes us on such a very deep level.
It is almost instinctive to have that knee jerk eye for an eye mentality.

Hate for hate is easy is it not?

May we pray that we would rather offer love for hate.

“Helping a person in need is good in itself.
But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done.
If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty,
then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed.
This is because he will feel beholden to you.
If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully.
The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help,
but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help.
And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity
are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.”

St. John Chrysostom

detach from worldly things

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things.
Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand what true,
selfless piety is.
Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which may still taint it.
Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety.”

St. John Bosco


(St John Bosco)

There is so much more that I’d like to write about John Bosco, this educator/saint,
but again time is not on my side.

Hopefully, I will do so, God willing, as time allows.

But until then, I’ve included a brief biography of this man from Turin, Italy below.

This past school year was a very trying time for my daughter-n-law.
And that is putting it mildly.

Here she was, a new young first-time mother of a young child learning to manage
motherhood and her work…as work was anything but easy.

She had taught school in the public sector for several years, earning the reputation
as a stellar educator.

This past year, due to moving and making home in Atlanta, she made the move to a parochial school.

Initially, the hire seemed to be a God-send.
The woman who hired her, the then acting principal, was moved by my daughter-n-law’s record as
an educator as well as her exceptional interview.

Yet as fate would have it, this woman retired only to be replaced by an interim principal.

To say that the replacement was a bully and difficult would be an understatement.

As a veteran educator of 31 years, when I had the opportunity to meet her fellow colleagues
at her baby shower, I was struck at how miserable this staff actually was.

The entire staff hated this bullying tyrant acting principal—several vowed to quit,
many long-time veterans were fearful their contracts would not be renewed.
All the while this sadistic man seemed to have a laser of extreme hatred,
focused on his co-teacher, our daughter-n-law.

I was fretful because as our daughter-n-law was very pregnant, I was more than aware of
what outward stress internalized could possibly do to an unborn child.

We were all on pins and needles as our hands felt tied.

Frustrated and anxious summed up the winter months.

At the end of February, our son and daughter-n-law bought a new rug.
I was there the day they brought the rug home.
As we unrolled the rug, we found what first appeared to be a half dollar rolled up
inside the rug.

Upon further inspection it was a St John Bosco medal.

Hummmm…

We are not a Catholic family so my son and daughter-n-law were a bit perplexed
and unaware of who this man was.

My quasi-Catholic self knew good and well about St. John Bosco.

“Abby”, I exclaimed, “don’t you see…this is St John Bosco…he is more or less
the patron saint for educators…”
“It is a sign…God sees and He knows of your troubles…you’ve got to trust”

I had no doubt after this “coincidence” that God was at work.
Because in my world there are no coincidence but rather only the
workings of the Holy Spirit.

It’s is a long story that I will save, but circumstances grew to such a level that this
hateful man actually painted himself into a corner.
Word was issued, via e-mail, during Spring Break that this principal had been relieved of his duties
and would not be returning.

It was an answered prayer not only for our family, but also for entire school staff.

God hears, God sees, and God knows…

It is us, His often lost and clueless children, who so often need reminding.

St. John Bosco reminded our small family…

Saint John Bosco’s Story

John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play.

Encouraged during his youth in Turin to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan in Turin, and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.

After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, Don Bosco opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.

By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. John’s interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.

John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854, he and his followers informally banded together, inspired by Saint Francis de Sales.

With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.

Saint John Bosco

Jesus vs Mohammad and Marx

And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them;
but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them,
“Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them;
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it at all.”

Mark 10:13-16


(the Mayor busy on Easter afternoon gathering eggs / Julie Cook / 2019)

Almost a week ago on Easter Sunday, my small family had gathered together in order to
celebrate the Ressurection of Jesus Christ.

We basked in the warmth of an April afternoon while hunting plastic eggs with
the smallest member of our clan.

We gathered around a table and enjoyed the bounty of the season.

We feasted and fellowshiped, celebrating our faith within the presumed safety of
our democratic afforded freedoms.

Yet around the world that “afforded freedom” is not exactly afforded to others
and if it is, it is often viewed with disdain.

While I’m on babysitting duty, I thought I’d take this busy time to share a
very important post from our across the pond friend and former Anglican Bishop,
Gavin Ashenden.

It is a heart wrenching yet very honest and truthful post…
…And tragically, it is a very sobering post.

When I read his introduction, which was actually taken from a letter penned by one of
the bombed Sri Lankan church’s Sunday School teachers,
I felt the hot tears of sorrow trickle down my face.

This is what the children of these bombed churches were doing on Easter Sunday morning.

“One of the Sunday school teachers in the Church in Sri Lanka has written about what
they were doing on Easter day.

“Today at Zion Church we asked the children,
‘how many of you would be willing to die for Christ?’
Everyone raised their hands.
Minutes later we took them into the main service.
The blast happened. Half of them died on the spot.”

In one of the two other Catholic Churches that were blown up,
the bomber waited until the children had come back into the main liturgy before he detonated.
Killing the children appeared to have been a priority to him.

The good Bishop reminds all of us, that as Christians, we are told that we are to love our
enemies, we are to offer compassion to all we meet…
with the teachings of Jesus being a far cry from that of Mohammed or Karl Marx…

And yet the world continues to defend and embrace the teachings of both violence and hate
while condemning the followers of the one resurrected Redeemer.

Please read the post here:

Islam, the media & the conspiracy of silence.

blog lice

Critical lice are like body lice, which desert corpses to seek the living.
Theophile Gautier


(head lice—yuck)

I was fortunate as a child and then later when I was the mother of a young child…
we escaped the dreaded head lice outbreaks…
despite our enduring first daycare–then later, the joining of preschool.

I counted that as one small victory despite our son having had every other childhood illness
known to man–
even some that were more or less unknown—-
like 5th disease.
Who gets things like 5th’s disease other than my child??

Such was our lot.

I feared the Mayor would not fair much better than that of her dad when we found ourselves in
Scottish Rite Children’s hospital when she came down with salmonella at the ripe old age
of 2 months old.

By the time her dad had turned 1 year old, we celebrated that milestone in the outpatient wing at the
local hospital by having tubes put in his ears.

Luckily, however, The Mayor has so far been fortunate with her ears…having had only one
ear infection thus far….knock on wood!

So the notion of a lice exposure creeping back into our world leaves me nonplused.
I am not a fan of infestations.

And so I think of that commercial where the grandmother is on the phone with her daughter.
The mother is delicately explaining that the grandson has come down with a case of head lice.
We then see the grandson proudly extolling that there are thousands of lice in his hair…
this as he drags his head across the couch and proudly exclaims that now the couch has lice…
The grandmother quickly tells her daughter that she’ll just mail them their Christmas gifts.

Lice has that kind of effect.

Any poor person affected becomes persona non grata…

We avoid such like we do the plague…
and whereas it’s a lot like the plague, it’s just not nearly as deadly.

It’s more of a terrible nuisance and great inconvenience versus that of a promising death.

However, those infested may actually prefer death before it’s all said and done…
or maybe that would be the mother’s wish after tending to the cares of the infected children.

This is one malady that I do not wish to experience.

I don’t want to have to burn the sheets, the brushes, the pillows, the couch, etc….
while acting like some sort of rhesus monkey picking bugs from a child’s head.

And yet all this talk of lice has reminded me that we actually have a lice problem here in the blogosphere.
And boy can it spread.

I think most folks call what I’m thinking about as a problem with trolls…
But I like the analogy of trolls being more like an infestation of lice.

Trolls are ugly things that live under bridges and demand payment when folks want to cross
the said bridge.

Lice, on the other hand, are tiny yet irritating things.
They multiply rapidly.
They aren’t necessarily deadly but they are more or less irritating and near incapacitating.

Plus they are most difficult to rid oneself of.

So there I was innocently playing catch up…
trying desperately to read the latest from our dear friend the Wee Flea,
the Scottish Pastor David Roberston, when I saw that he had posted an ‘end of year’ post…a sort of year
end assessment.

In the post, he nodded to a previous post in which he had announced that he would be stepping down from
the post he’s held at his church there in Dundee, Scotland, St Peter’s Free Chruch Presbyterian—
a post as senior pastor for the past 27 years.
He and his wife will most likely move to Australia to help head up a ministry team down under.

As I had obviously missed this little announcement, I felt the need to offer my gratitude.

For you see that’s what being the chief aid to the Mayor has done to me…
I am now chronically a day late and a dollar short!

The Mayor is such the taskmaster they I have had to forgo much of what I once did—
that being reading for one thing…in particular, reading the postings of our friends The Wee Flea and
Bishop Gavin Ashenden being first and foremost.

And so as I scrolled down to leave a comment of gratitude to David for his diligence in fighting the good
fight, I saw a familiar face….a face of one who had left a myriad of comments…a myriad of tits for tats.
It was a dreaded “troll”…or what I am now dubbing a lice…or is that louse??
I think both words are most fitting in this case.

A lice, or louse, is one who visits the blog of a Christian and proceeds to engage the tit for tat
with said host.
Aka arguing.
Empty arguing.

For the lice, louse, is a nonbleiver…an atheist by trade.

A person who is so blinded by disdain, they can’t see the forest for the trees.

However, no one is really wanting to argue, fuss or cuss but the louse.

They are wearing blinders to everything and anything that they believe runs counter to their own limited
and angry empty vision.

They poke and prod…daring the host to engage in an endless back of forth of nowhere.
Some call it falling down into the proverbial rabbit hole.

The lice, or louse, becomes irritating and they don’t dare ease off….not when they know
they are becoming maddening.
Maddening is the only point they know…forget making sense or civil discourse.
Round and round they run…like a poor dog tethered to a chain on a pole.

Their next move is to go out and call all their kith and kin to come join in the fun.
They will also go back to their own blogs where they feature the victimized host that they’ve been “visiting”
while touting them as a grand old host worthy for others to come suck the lifeblood from…

They want you to forget blogging, forget intelligent sharing or dialogue, forget your original post…
you are now itching like a mad person, desperately trying to rid yourself of an infestation.

Then you hit the “block” button and suddenly you are happily cured and free.

But here’s the thing, they see where you’ve been, who your friends and family are and they
quickly head that way.

It’s an infestation by association.

I saw that on David’s blog.

There in plain sight was one of my former lice, louse, trying desperately to irritate
David.
But David is a smart man.
He nixed the lice.

They will none the less resurface where they are not blocked.

Maybe we’ll one day develop an anti-lice vaccine…
I think we call that the Blood of the lamb!

Here is David’s year-end post:
https://theweeflea.com/2018/12/28/quantum-22-2018-end-of-year-review/

For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Matthew 26:28

The joys of old school, or how I detest technology

“(I’m not online.)
I don’t have a fax.
I don’t go in for any of that stuff.
The typewriter is as far as I went.”

Walter Kaylin


(an old school Roman “truck” or Ape Piaggio–three wheeled truck, Campo di Fiori/ Rome Italy /Julie Cook 2018)

Yes, you have read correctly… I hate technology.
I think I’ve mentioned that little fact before.

“But aren’t you actually using technology as we speak—or is that ‘as we read’???”
you perceptively ask.

“And so if you hate it so much, then why are you using it?” as you counter your own observation?

I’m with Walter Kaylin in his quote from up above…oh for that simple typewriter.

My poor technologically inept husband needed a new computer, a new laptop.
So that is what I surprised him with for Christmas.

But I knew how it would all play out…and I was right on the money.

The new computer has two new and very different USB ports from that of his old computer.

A conundrum.

He needed a new i-tunes account, separate from me, finally…as all of our stuff has been
basically merged together as if one account–a huge messy mishmash.

A conundrum that we’ve managed to live with for quite some time because due to
the business, it was kind of okay.

Yet when he closed the business, he lost his old e-mail.

A huge conundrum.

And since no business-related emails can be accessed, despite hours spent on the phone with AT&T…
did I mention how he loathes AT&T or how I now concur??—we’ve had a conundrum.

Not only can’t he get into his old email account (thank you AT&T) he can’t even pull up his
deer trail cam images–and that is more of a crisis than a conundrum…

So today would be the day.
I psyched myself up for what I knew to lay ahead.

I’d sit down after I had taken down all of the outdoor Christmas in hopes of beating these
6 inches of rain they keep warning us about…all in order to create a new I-tunes account,
separate our phones and computers, as well as set up a new g-mail, a new I-tunes,
and finally a new computer.

Yet oddly in the process, I managed to lock myself out of my own computer.

WHAT???

I typed, I typed some more, I pondered, I pulled out my phone, I re-set everything I
could think to re-set but sadly it was to no avail.

I considered throwing my laptop over the back deck.
Why not?
It was locked up tighter than Dick’s hatband.

Where are those savvy hackers when you really need one???
Hiding out in some dark room in Siberia I suspect.

I groused, I cursed, I wailed…my husband said “here, take mine”…
“it’s not that simple” I snapped.

For you see I knew this would happen.
It always happens.
Despite my diligence, despite my best-laid plans, I knew what should have been a 1 2 3 sort
of flow would become an entire day’s nightmare.

My son complains that at his work, they keep hiring people my age who don’t really
“get” technology and so he wastes most of his day teaching “old” folks how to do the job
they were hired to do because it was thought they knew how to do it.

I took offense to that until today…I now understand.

I called Apple.

I spoke with one of their “geniuses” who did not speak fluent English.

I take offense to that notion of genius—

How arrogant of Apple to call their techi gurus geniuses…
…as if they are all that and a bag of chips and I am… but a mere moron.

With no help from Apple, I spent 5, count them, 5 hours figuring all of this out…
the sun rose and the sun set…all while I pecked and panicked.

Finally, blessedly, joyously, I managed to get myself unlocked and my husband free and good to go.
Plus I managed to migrate my old computer info to my own new little laptop.
(You need to be proud Phyllis because I am finally finding my way in the dark without you,
Sue or OP!
FYI, that’s a school thing…sorry)

I regrettably feel this same way everytime it’s time for me to get new glasses.

I go for the vision test, they think they have it all figured out, I get the new glasses
and bam, I can’t see a thing.
It takes visit after visit, retesting, refitting until they finally get my eyes and glasses
‘synced.’

And to think, I’m a year over going in for my eye appointment, imagine that…hummmm.

Each year I ponder going “dark” for Lent…meaning cutting myself off from all technology.
If the Queen can cut out all chocolates from her Royal world during the Lenten season,
surely I could go technology free…

Today was just one more step closer to a vote for a true technology blackout!

They don’t have pay phones anymore, do they???

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us,
either by our spoken word or by our letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:15

‘let the chips fall where they may, I’m at peace with my decision”

“If we do not risk anything for God we will never do anything great for Him.”
St. Louis De Montfort


(Susan Collins, Senator from Maine, during the Senate vote on Brett Kavanaugh
for Supreme Court Justice 2018)

I must confess that by the time Senator Susan Collins spoke on the Senate floor
regarding her vote for Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice nominee,
I wasn’t watching.

I was blessedly out of the country.

My cousin had even text me, “I’m sorry you are not here…missing all of this!!
She was being totally serious as she takes the things that happen in our Nation
very seriously.

My response was simple, “I am glad I am out of the country”

I also told her that despite not being physically present in the US, I was nonetheless
seeing and hearing plenty in the way of the fiasco back home.

If you’ve ever traveled outside of the country, your English speaking channels are
limited to CNN International and the BBC International.
Two news outlets not known for their conservative take on world happenings.

I also confess I was not up to speed on Senator Susan Collins.
I just knew she was a senator from Maine and that I like Maine.

I’ve about had my bate of politics and politicians in our country.
I’ve had my bate of swamps.
I’ve had my bate of elections.
I’ve had my bate of the caustic rhetoric, of angry hate-filled demonstrations,
my bate of the endless sea of obstructionists, liberals, progressives, feminists, atheists,
Satanists, Communists, Socialists, Antifa folks, Left-wingers, Right-wingers,
Klan members,Supremacists, Militants, and anyone else causing trouble while rattling my chains.

However, I did very much want to hear the latest interview with Susan Collins.
She was to do a sit-down interview with journalist Martha Maccallum as she would recall
the lead-up, as well as the aftermath, of her vote and her address to the Senate…
an address that has been hailed as one of the greatest speeches on the Senate floor.

She cast the pivotal vote following the circus-like hearings that lead up to the vote
which would be sending Brett Kavanaugh to the highest bench in the land or would either
send him back home to private life.

And following the vile display of our lowest lows, I’m not
so certain I wouldn’t have simply wanted to just go find an island someplace far away from
the madness and spend my remaining days mindlessly fishing…

Susan Collins was viciously and verbally threatened prior to the vote as well as after
the vote.
Her family was viciously threatened.
Her very life was threatened.

I’m sorry, but where did we say we lived?

Is this America???
Home of the Brave, land of the free and thriving with the lovers of all things Democracy?

Or are we living in some remote tribal area of the globe rife with ambushes
and battles to the death?

It’s just that after all of this latest assinine behavior by our Nation regarding
the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, I couldn’t quite tell…again, I’m just saying.

Susan Collins shared with Martha MacCallum that an envelope containing white powder
was mailed to her home in Maine with a note that said “Anthrax, HA HA”
Another arrived supposedly containing ricin.

Her husband and dog had to be immediately quarantined while the folks in the bio-hazmat
suits invaded her home.

Martha then ran a few of the voicemails and emails that flooded Senator Collins
office and home.
Crude, vile and foul sums them up rather succinctly.

Again, where are we actually living?
Is this America or rather some alterego Scifi surreal land of all things Orwellian?

She recalled an evening just prior to the vote that she had been working late.
She drove herself home but there was nowhere to park near her DC home so she had
to park about a block away.
It was late and dark.
She stepped out of her car to find a lone man standing on the sidewalk as if he had been
waiting on her.
She began walking and he began following her.

As she approached her house this man quickly moved between her and her door,
getting right up in her face, brandishing a flashlight and
waving it wildly at her face as he verbally attacked and berated her.

She said the only humorous moment of an otherwise frighteningly life or death situation
was when she yelled at him, demanding that he leave her alone…
as she just as quickly thought to ask, “and by the way, what is your name?”
Of which he actually gave to her.
Needless to say, the authorities quickly found him and detained him.

She told Martha that despite these “scary” moments,
these threats and attempts to sway her vote away from the favorable, she was
not going to be intimidated.

I admire her for digging in and for holding her own.
And yet at the same time, I found myself,
as I listened and watched this woman explaining why she voted the way she did and why she did,
feeling very sad listening as her interview continued.

I no longer recognize this place I’ve known and called home for near 60 years.
Who are these people who live now to persecute those who they disagree with?
I just don’t get it…it is absolutely tragically surreal.

Senator Collins explained that she had listened to the days of hearings, the witnesses,
the recounting of events 40 years prior…
she, in turn, weighed the words, the reactions, the records, and the lives now lived as adults…
and concluded she could and would vote in favor of sending Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The funny thing in all of this is that Susan Collins is, well, obviously a woman.

She is a smart woman.
A woman who didn’t marry until late in life.
An independent woman.
She is neither naive nor gullible.

Her former college, St Lawrence University, a school that she loved attending and a school
she has carried a deep affinity for throughout her adult life has recently rescinded two
honorary degrees it bestowed on her in the wake of her being that same very independent
woman that they once loved and embraced—
so since they no longer find her independence something they care for, as she is independently
voting with a mindset they helped to instill in her, yet now runs counter to their own thinking
…sadly so….they find that they can no longer claim her as a former student.

Toward the end of the interview, Martha asked Senator Collins if she could live with the
idea that in 2020 she could actually lose her seat due to this single vote.
In essence ending her long political career, of which could come to a screeching halt
all because of a single vote…

Without batting an eye, Senator Collins said “yes, let the chips fall where they may,
I’m at peace with my decision.”

Now here is a woman who knows her mind.
Isn’t that what our society keeps clamoring about??
Empowered women?
And yet we seem to have a woman who is taking her stand and still, there is no
pleasing of the masses…

Here is a link to the full interview…

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/susan-collins-reveals-critics-personal-attacks-over-kavanaugh-vote

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—–
for kings and all those in authority,
that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

1 Timothy 2:1-2