can you ask God to break your heart

“Prayer is the best armor we have,
it is the key which opens the heart of God.”

St. Padre Pio


(a beautiful rose / Julie Cook / 2021)

“May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”
Mother Teresa

Yesterday I made mention that prayer is about the only thing we all truly have..
the only real lifeline that remains…

And so as I was reading that quote about prayer by Mother Teresa, I
had to ask myself…could I pray that prayer?
Could I ask that big question…would I be willing,
like Mother Teresa, to ask that God break my heart so completely
that the world may fall in?

Am I willing to let go of self, my life, my world…
so much so that I could pray that God would break me, allowing Him
to flow into my entire being?
Am I willing to let go and let God?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

indifference

“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.
And this happens although the praise of God should know no limits.
Let us strive, therefore, to praise him to the greatest extent of our powers.”

St. Maximilian Kolbe


(a lost moth wing / Julie Cook / Julie Cook /2021)

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

Elie Wiesel

God’s mercy

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin.
All hope consists in confession.
In confession there is a chance for mercy.
Believe it firmly, do not doubt, do not hesitate,
never despair of the mercy of God.”

St. Isidore of Seville


(Southern summer evening sky /Julie Cook / 2021)

“When we are living in the world, we can easily take on the
mindset of a secular society. It is important for us to cultivate
in our lives, with great care,
God’s way of looking at things and life in general.
His Word guides us.”

Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, p. 22
An Excerpt From
Inspirational Thoughts for Everyday

The Spirit of God rather than your own…

“Do not be anxious: go straight on, forgetful of self,
letting the spirit of God act instead of your own.”

St. Julie Billiart


(magnolia /Julie Cook / 2021)


(soon to be sunflower/ Julie Cook / 2021)

“As St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to
remain children in intelligence: on the contrary.
He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’,
but also ‘as wise as serpents’.
He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.
He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate,
and teachable, as good children are;
but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job,
and in first-class fighting trim.”

C.S. Lewis, p. 77
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

warm weather color

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form,
can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

Oscar Wilde


(goldfinch / Julie Cook / 2021)


(purple Iris /Julie Cook / 2021)


(daisy’s / Julie Cook / 2021)


(gardina–a southern classic / Julie Cook / 2021)


(purple aster / Julie Cook /2021)


(Sunflower…all pics taken from my daily walks or backyard / Julie Cook / 2021)

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—
and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

Ephesians 5:13

I want to go look for America

Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly,
than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and
circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank
among the Nations;
The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age
of Ignorance and Superstition,
but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood
and more clearly defined, than at any former period,
the researches of the human mind, after social happiness,
have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge,
acquired by the labours of Philosophers,
Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years,
are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily
applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government;
the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce,
the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality
of sentiment… have had a meliorating influence on mankind
and increased the blessings of Society.
At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence
as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely
free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

[Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 – Writings 26:484–89]”
George Washington, Writings


(Bald eagle in flight over the James River/ Parks Rountrey)

Is it just me???

I suddenly have a great desire to hop in the car and take off.

Taking off into the great unknown.
I want to go off on some grand American adventure.

I want to go find America.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that this nation of ours has been shut down
for basically a year and a half…and in many parts,
she is still shut down.

Maybe it’s because this nation of ours is now at
some surreal war with itself…

I want to see for myself if we are still out there…is this great nation
I’ve always known, still out there…alive and well?

Or has she become a mere ghost of herself?

Many years ago, when our son was little, we decided to take him on
our small version of the great American family vacation.

Sadly we all know how such family vacations often play out.
The parents are typically enthralled while the kids are usually bored
to tears.

And that’s pretty much how it played out for us.
The pictures of smiling parents with a smug kid in tow.

However we wanted our son to see things we knew that were the wonders of
this great nation of ours.
Wonders such as the Grand Canyon, the rugged coast of Maine,
Yellowstone and Old Faithful, the Great Salt lake,
the lands of the American western Indians,
true free spirited roaming buffalo, the settlements of Jamestown,
The Outer Banks and Blackbeard, the painted desert, the petrified forest,
the Grand Tetons, the Snake River, the raw lands of Alaska,
the endless corn fields of Nebraska, the Rocky Mountains…
So we got in the car over the course of several summers and drove..
and in some cases, we flew then drove.

We wanted our son to see parts of this nation other than his own
home in Georgia.

During those formative years, we took him to the west,
the southwest, the north, the northwest, the northeast, the southeast,
while traversing the middle of this great land.

I suspect as parents, we might have enjoyed these trips more than our
preteen son but in the end, we knew he needed to see our country outside
of his own narrow world—all because one day, he would appreciate that
he had seen all these things…he would have a reference point when
thinking about this country as his home.

I know that not all kids have such opportunities…
nor do all adults…
But getting in a car and driving just seemed to make sense.
He probably would have been happier to just spend time at the beach..
but there was just so much we wanted him to experience.

We did what we could as his parents to expose him
to as much of this country as possible—because we wanted him
to see America.
We wanted him to see what our forefathers knew was worth fighting for.
Why a Revolution was fought, why a Civil war ensued, why we have sent young men and women to various wars all in order to preserve this somewhat “perfect union”.

And perhaps to understand this current struggle with our past.

In my little bio on the “About” page of this blog I mention
that I enjoy traveling.
“I also possess a tremendous passion for travel as I feel traveling
helps to make an extremely large and diverse world a little friendlier–
as it calls for understanding and empathy which are results of spending time
in someone else’s “world”—
as all of us on this planet share a very similar human history and relationship—
the things that make us more alike than different are those ties that bind
together rather than separate…”

Spending time in someone else’s world…
Isn’t that what makes those little connections with others?
We begin to see others not as different but as more alike.
Connections that allow us to understand one another??

Yet today sadly, I know that we can’t just hop in the car and take off.
Not today, not now.

Gas prices are on the rise, the pandemic still holds some states
as prisoners while others are being liberated.
And despite being vaccinated, masks are still required,
social distancing is still a thing and freedom of movement
is actually not so free…it is limited at best.

Throw in a mass influx of illegal immigrants and the notion of safety,
in some of our border states, becomes a serious issue.

Add in the continued violence from Marxists and Anarchist groups
such as Antifa and BLM overflowing in many or our Nation’s major cities..
and so visiting some of our major cities is not even an option.

So hopping in a car while hitting the wide open highways,
in order to go see America, is simply now a pipe dream…

However I wonder…if I did get to go out and see this America of mine,
I wonder what exactly I would find…

Most likely a rewritten history of a nation’s past along with
a now very uncertain future.

Is this land really your land and my land…

always remember, end well

“See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save,
and an eternity that awaits us.
The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away;
heaven and hell will never pass away.
Let us take care, then.
The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well.
We have begun badly; let us end well,
and we shall go one day and meet them in heaven.”

St. John Vianney


(a lone iris / Julie Cook / 2021)

When a person sacrifices his life out of love for God,
by allowing God to send him on a given mission or by enduring martyrdom
or by allowing himself to be completely diverted from his own plans and intentions,
it is love that moves him to do so.
This love cannot be equated with the love that people have
for one another, which moves them to regular acts of love of neighbor.
Rather, this person is so gripped by the God who loves him
that his gift of self—however long or short God intends it to be—
bears in it the mark of eternity.

Adrienne von Speyr
from her book The Boundless God

Who do you want to love…

“Oh, my soul, how much longer do you wish to be so stingy with Jesus?
Why so negligent towards Jesus who made You?
Why so lazy towards Jesus who redeemed you?
Who do you want to love, if you do not want to love Jesus?”

St. Gemma Galgani


(a beautiful day / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Solomon prayed for prudence and wisdom so that he might govern
God’s people rightly. Because his request was unselfish,
God granted what he sought.
When we pray, we should make sure that our desires are not motivated
by selfishness.
We should only want those gifts that help us most to serve others.”
Rev. Jude Winkler, p. 105
An Excerpt From
Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit

it about broke my heat

Through prayer you will receive the strength to resist the
spirit of the world.
You will receive the power to show compassion to every human being—just
as Jesus did. Through prayer you will have a part in salvation history
as it unfolds in your generation.
St. Pope John Paul II


( a three legged doe / Julie Cook / 2021)

Driving along a lonely back road in an eastern Georgia National park,
we weren’t really surprised to suddenly spy a deer meandering down a bank…
ready to cross the road in front of our car…
But the problem was that this deer was not exactly meandering.

The deer was oddly and slowly coming down the bank.
There was something odd about her gait.
Struggling with each step…up, down, nearly collapsing,
up down, nearly collapsing…and that’s when we saw the reason
for the odd cadence of walking.

She did not have a left front leg.
The leg was missing clear up to her torso.

This deer had two hind legs and only a single front right leg.
We pretty much figured that she had either been shot in the left leg
or perhaps hit by a car…
she had lost the leg and yet she managed to survive.

Naturally we stopped the car, allowing her to slowly navigate
crossing the road.
By the time she hobbled up and down across the road, she simply stopped…
resting, while taking the opportunity to nibble
on some nice green grass.
I think she knew we’d respectfully wait on her.

Her ribs rippled underneath her sagging skin,
but we know this is the season that deer tend to be
the most lean.
She seemed to be keeping her own.

I wanted to take a picture and yet, I didn’t.
I wanted to respect her dignity along with her struggle.
I was slow to get the camera, capturing her only after she had
traveled across the road and was already headed back up the opposite bank.

So far, she’s managed to defy the odds.
Be that for good or bad.

Crippled yet persevering.
Hanging in and on despite the odds being stacked heavily against her.
A wild animal, who depends upon running and jumping in order to avoid
predators while managing on only three legs, is not high with the
odd makers.

And yet, here she was.

Believer…be encouraged!
Broken and wounded, yet we are still here.

We persevere just as He persevered before us for us…

Odds are not in our favor yet Hope always prevails.

“On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to
think about than our love for Him.
Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could,
feelings are not what God principally cares about.
Christian Love, either towards God or towards man,
is an affair of the will.
If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment,
‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’
He will give us feelings of love if He pleases.
We cannot create them for ourselves,
and we must not demand them as a right.
But the great thing to remember is that,
though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.
It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and,
therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination
that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us,
at whatever cost to Him.”

C. S. Lewis, p. 132
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

do not lose courage

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.
Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections,
but instantly set about remedying them, every day begin the task anew.”

St. Francis de Sales


(a lovely red zinnia / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Let us not fancy that if we cry a great deal we have done all that
is needed—rather we must work hard and practice the virtues:
that is the essential—leaving tears to fall when God sends them,
without trying to force ourselves to shed them.
Then, if we do not take too much notice of them,
they will leave the parched soil of our souls well watered,
making it fertile in good fruit; for this is the water which
falls from Heaven.
I think it is best for us to place ourselves in the presence of God,
contemplate His mercy and grandeur and our own vileness and
leave Him to give us what He will, whether water or drought,
for He knows best what is good for us;
thus we enjoy peace and the devil will have less chance to deceive us.”

St. Teresa of Avila, p.147
An Except From
Interior Castle