all that remains is Silence (a timely repeat)

Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts:
secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.”

James Joyce

In the silence of the heart God speaks.
If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.
Then you will know that you are nothing.
It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness,
that God can fill you with Himself.
Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”

Mother Teresa


(Julie Cook / 2014)

****Yesterday, while I was searching through some older posts,
I came across a post that I wrote back in April of 2014.
I am assuming it was written as a lenten /Good Friday post.
While rereading it, there was something in it that I couldn’t quite
put my finger on, yet I knew something, very strongly, was speaking
to something deep inside of me.
It speaks these seven years later as I find myself in a different
space and time.

It’s that transcendence notion again.
That of going beyond to that which is calling us home.

And so perhaps it is Nicodemus who I can relate to at this particular
moment in time.
Perhaps I too feel the weight of a deafening, defining yet empty Silence…

Yet blessedly, what I do know, despite coming these many centuries after Nicodemus,
is that the Silence will not remain silent for long.

It has only been a few hours.
There is. . .
no rush of wind,
no gossip or chatter,
no signing birds
no barking dogs
no children at play
no rumble of thunder
no toil of labor.
Nothing.

The only thing which remains is the Silence,

And yet there is a sound to Silence.
It is the sound of a heartbeat pulsing through tired worn out ears.
The heaviness of a labored sigh expelling through a dry open mouth.
The sound of hunger wrestling through an empty gut.
The popping of tired old joints.

He had asked them to bring the body here.
To the cold Silence of a bought grave.
Emptiness fills the Silence.
A lingering sweet scent of myrrh and aloe now fills the cold empty space.
With the women all gone, as well as for all the others, he silently holds a solitary vigil.
Two laborers wait nervously by the trees ready to seal the tomb.

He stands alone staring, for what seems to be an eternity,
at the now lifeless shrouded mass.
A surreal moment for a tired old man who has seen far too much of
a life that he cares not to recall.
What was it his old friend had told him of the conversation he
had had with the Teacher that night which now seemed so long ago…
“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven:
the Son of Man.
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes
will in Him have eternal life. . .

What does any of that now mean at this particular moment in time?
Does the Son of Man now die as any other man?
Everything he thought he knew is now turned upside down.
He silently wrangles with these thoughts of life and death,
when suddenly he is reminded of how very tired he feels.
He had raised his hand, without thought, resting it against the
cold massive stone in order to steady himself.
It has been a terribly long and pain filled day.
He is no longer a young man.
He is old and tired, but the events of today have aged him further.

There are no more tears, for they have long since fallen.
He shutters slightly, pulling the tallit, the prayer shawl,
closer over his aged body, as an empty coldness now envelopes the dark tomb.
Silently the sun begins a slow descent below the horizon,
as he notices an odd coloring to the sky.
It is now time he takes his leave for the Sabbath is soon to begin.

Sabbath.
How odd that suddenly seems.
He slowly turns towards the two men waiting in the shadows.
No words are spoken.
He offers a silent nod as he walks away.
The workmen wait until he is gone before bracing the long pole under
the massive stone.
It is done.

And now Silence fills the World.
Not even a whisper remains.

Yet oddly, vibrations faintly rumble underfoot.
An expectancy fills the air.
A small flock of birds chaotically flutter in the night sky.
Something in the dark has sent them into motion.
The animals sense it first.
They always sense change before any human.
Mankind doesn’t yet take notice.

Within the Silence, the Earth begins to tremble.
Birth pangs fight viciously against Death’s motionless hold.
Transcendence is at hand,
as blinding light seeps up through cracks in the ground.
Tremors roll over a planet as waves crash against distant shores.
The Earth now shifts ever so slightly on its axis, as cosmic explosions mysteriously shimmer in the night sky.
All in Hell begin to quake.

The Silence is no longer so silent.

The elephant named “sex” sitting in the living room

“And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child,
how can we tell other people not to kill one another?
How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion?
As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves
that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.
Jesus gave even His life to love us.
So, the mother who is thinking of abortion,
should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans,
or her free time, to respect the life of her child.
The father of that child, whoever he is,
must also give until it hurts.”

Mother Teresa


(image from the web)

Here is another excerpt from Peter Kreeft’s book How To Destroy
Western Civilization And Other Ideas From The Cultural Abyss

or perhaps we should just call this part 2 of yesterday post,
God Blessed Texas….

“It’s the unmentionable elephant in the living room.
It’s sex.
Religious liberty is being attacked in the name of sexual liberty.

The current culture war is most fundamentally about abortion,
and abortion is about sex. Abortion is backup contraception,
and contraception is the demand to have sex without having babies.
If storks brought babies, Planned Parenthood would go broke.

Catholics, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and Evangelical Protestants
are the only groups left in the West who oppose the Sexual Revolution
and uphold traditional sexual morality.
Everyone else assumes, without question or controversy,
that contraception has finally “liberated” sex from its servile connection
with baby-making and has turned it into a purely personal,
“recreational” option.

Our liberty is being denied because it threatens their liberty,
Religious liberty threatens sexual liberty.
Our religious freedom of conscience threatens their sexual freedom
of conscience.

It’s not their behavior that we threaten, it’s their conscience.
They want us to approve their
behavior, at least implicitly, by paying for it.
We are the last people in our culture who say no, who judge,
who dare to play the prophet. Prophets are always unpopular.
There’s no profit in being a prophet.
Prophets are lights that are a bit too bright.
They show up the artificiality in the air-brushed Playboy fantasies.
They threaten the fun. Prophets are X-rays that show cancers
to patients who are living in denial.

If Jews and Christians could just erase two of the Commandments,
the ones against adultery and lust, the new post-Christian culture of
Western civilization would have absoutely no problem with religion.

They call us “judgmental” and “authoritarian”,
but it’s because we are exactly the opposite,
because we do not claim the authority to contradict our
Creator and Commander,
because we do not dare to be so judgmental as to judge His judgements
to be mistaken, because we dare not erase or change the line
He has drawn in the sand.
We cannot compromise our consciences because we believe our
conscience are His prophets, not society’s.

It’s not that we seek to impose our sexual morality (or any other part of morality)
on others by force.
We propose; we do not impose.
We seek only liberty of conscience for everyone, including ourselves.
No one wants to send sexual storm troopers into fornicators’ bedrooms.

But they seek to impose their sexual morality on us.
They do not merely propose, they impose.
They want to force us to compromise our consciences or be punished by
a fine (or something worse).
Why?
We can tolerate them; why can’t they tolerate us?
Why are they so threatened by our minority view?

Because they know it is not a minority view,
but the majority view in all times and places outside
twenty-first-century Europe and North America
(for example, every culture in history and “backward” cultures like
Africa and Latin America still today)
and the view of all the great religious of the world.
If our principles were merely quirky,
like the principles of a small Native American tribe that
sees the hallucinogenic peyote as a regions sacrament or the principles
of the Amish that see electricity as evil,
the Establishment would not be threatened by tased principles
and would readily grant these fringe groups the right to be exceptional
for the sake of conscience—as they do.
The do not insist that the Amish pay a penalty for not using electricity.
But they do insist that we pay a penalty for not paying for abortions.

Why?
Perhaps their consciences are still alive, after all, and feel guilty about killing
their own unborn children. How could they not?
If they can get us to compromise our consciences,
they won’t feel so bad about having compromised their own.
“Everybody does it” has always been a very effective and convenient excuse for
any kind of evil, even slavery or genocide.

That’s what this is not just about contraception or abortion or whether
every human biological life is intrinsically valuable.
It’s about whether every human conscience is.

prophesies

As a survivor of the Communist Holocaust I am horrified to witness how my
beloved America, my adopted country, is gradually being transformed into a
secularist and atheistic utopia, where communist ideals are glorified and
promoted, while Judeo-Christian values and morality are ridiculed and
increasingly eradicated from the public and social consciousness of our nation.
Under the decades-long assault and militant radicalism of many so-called
“liberal” and “progressive” elites, God has been progressively erased from
our public and educational institutions, to be replaced with all manner of
delusion, perversion, corruption, violence, decadence, and insanity.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn


(detail of Michelangelo’s prophet Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel)

I’ll be the first to admit that I have been known to cry out,
“Oh Lord, where are your prophets of old?”

Where are those mystical voices today?

Where are the Jeremiahs, the Isaiahs, the Obadiahs, the Habakuks,
the Elijahs, the Zechariahs…where is John…

Where are those voices who once cried out in the wilderness?
Where are those voices who made kings and rulers quake?
Where are the voices of Truth?
Where are those whose voices spoke the words of the great I AM?

And yet it has seemed as if we have been living in a silent age.
An age of a Godless void.
Has God turned His back on us?

No.

The Word teaches us that no, no He has not, nor will He.
Yet it appears that He just might just be allowing us to have our own way.

And so I looked back to a post I wrote back in 2014…a post
based on the words of the Russian novelist and historian,
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn.

Prophetic words…

So here is that post from 7 years ago:

As a tale-end Baby Boomer and child of the Cold War, the Soviet Union,
the USSR, The Federation of the Russian Republic or simply Mother Russia,
has always been an uncomfortable shadow over my shoulder,
just as it has for most everyone my age and older.
The enigma known as Russia, who most graciously hosted the world last February
for the Winter Olympics only to turn around and shock us all a
few months following with the “invasion” of Ukraine,
has remained a conundrum for the free world since the Russian Revolution
of 1917, which gave way to birth of Communism.

When I was in high school, which seems to be many lifetimes ago,
I had the good fortune of taking a Russian History course—
with the most memorable experience being of my introduction to the
writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
I had the good fortune of reading several of his books…
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Gulag Archipelago
and Cancer Ward.

Now all these many years later I find myself drawn back to the
writings and words of Solzhenitsyn,
of which I find more prophetic than I had ever imagined.

For those of you unfamiliar with Solzhenitsyn, in a nutshell,
he was a Russian soldier (WWII), Gulag prisoner (for nearly 10 years),
writer and novelist, historian, Soviet dissident,
Nobel Prize recipient and finally, again, Russian citizen.

As a life long member of the Russian Orthodox Church,
Solzhenitsyn was guided by a deeply spiritual moral compass.
He was a very loud and vocal opponent of Totalitarianism,
of which expedited his forced exile from the Soviet Union,
yet he could also be equally critical of the West and its obsession
with Capitalism, Consumerism and Materialism.
All of which reminds me of the chastisement the West often
received from Pope John Paul II, as well as Mother Teresa—
as perhaps those who have suffered more grievously under the
Socialist and ultra Nationalistic Regime of the Nazis and
then that of the Communist Soviets, have perhaps a clearer
perspective of our often blind view of what we consider to be
“the good life”

I am poignantly reminded of Solzhenitsyn,
his words and wisdom as well wise counsel and rebukes of those
who have witnessed first hand the sinister wiles and atrocities of Evil,
particularly during this time of year as it seems the world
always appears to crescendo to a heightened sense of madness–
just as the holidays come into focus.
I don’t know why that is except that as the world seems to not
only witness an abundance of joy and goodwill,
there seems to be an equal measure of evil and chaos.
Perhaps it is because Christians are drawn to the birth
of the Savior and Jews begin the celebration of the miracle of light
and the rededication to the Second Temple–
a time of a tremendous pull of people toward God—
as it seems Evil must have its share of the pie by unleashing
its part of unimaginable pain and suffering in order to
create some sort of sadistic counter balance.

Perhaps our senses are on hyper drive this time of year
as we keenly feel the highs of Joy and Wonder along with t
he bottomless pit of despair and suffering as they each roll in to one.
These thoughts reverberate in my mind just as
Sydney, Australia was held hostage Monday by a radical Islamist
madman leaving 3 individuals, including the gunman, dead.
Then on Tuesday, Pakistan witnessed an unimaginable attack
on a school leaving 132 children and 9 adult staff members
dead all at the hands of the Taliban.

We currently have a menacing cyber attack taking place at
Sony as North Korea is suspected to be retaliating to the
release of a tongue and cheek movie which sadly mocks an
attempted assassination of an, albeit, unhinged world leader.
Sometimes I think we, those of us in the West with our often
sophomoric entertainment industry, have lost our sense of what
is considered off limits or morally wrong when it comes to
the exploitation of movie making and entertainment—
but I suppose a moral compass would be needed in the
first place in order to be reminded of such. . .

We have just marked the tragic anniversary of the
Sandy Hook massacre as we continue reading headline after
headline of local, national and global tragedies.
Just as the world tries to come together in some sort of
unity marking two very sacred holy times of the year
as well as the secular merry making of Santa,
Papa Noel and Kris Kringle’s arrival.

In reading Solzhenitsyn’s book Warning to the West,
which is actually a brief composite and compendium of the
texts to three separate addresses made in the US in the late 1970’s,
it is startlingly frightening noting the parallels of then verses now.
I am keenly reminded of the relevance of Solzhenitsyn’s
words which were uttered almost 40 years ago as they could
very well be spoken on the world stage today regarding today’s global state.
I will leave you with a few pieces of his excerpted texts in
order to ponder and ruminate the relevance and warnings
which echo across our prosaic landscape as we wrestle to make
sense of the tragic events which continue to unfold before
our very eyes this holiday season…

“Is it possible or impossible to transmit the experience of
those who have suffered to those who have yet to suffer?
Can one part of humanity learn from the bitter experience
of another or can it not? Is it possible or impossible to
warn someone of danger?
How many witnesses have been sent to the West in the
last sixty years? How may waves of immigrants?
How many millions of persons? They are all here.
You meet them every day. You know who they are:
if not by their spiritual disorientation, their grief,
their melancholy, then you can distinguish them by their
accents or their external appearance. Coming from
different countries, without consulting with one another,
they have brought out exactly the same experience;
They tell you exactly the same thing:
they warn you of what is now taking place and of what has
taken place in the past. But the proud skyscrapers stand on,
jut into the sky, and say: It will never happen here.
This will never come to us. It is not possible here.”

“In addition to the grave political situation in the world today,
we are also witnessing the emergence of a crisis of unknown nature,
one completely new, and entirely non-political.
We are approaching a major turning point in world history,
the the history of civilization. It has already been noted
by specialists in various areas.
I could compare it only with the turning from the Middle Ages
to the modern era, a shift in our civilization.
It is a juncture at which settled concepts suddenly become hazy,
lose their precise contours, at which our familiar
and commonly used words lose their meaning, become empty shells,
and methods which have been reliable for many centuries no longer work.
It’s the sort of turning point where the hierarchy of
values which we have generated, and which we use to determine what
is important to us and what causes our hearts to beat
is starting to rock and may collapse.
These two crises, the political crisis of today’s world
and the oncoming spiritual crisis, are occurring at the same time.
It is our generation that will have to confront them.
The leadership of your country, which is entering the third century
of existence as a nation will perhaps have to bear a burden greater
than ever before in American history. Your leaders will
need profound intuition, spiritual foresight,
high qualities of mind and soul.
May God granted that in those times you will have at the
helm personalities as great as those who rested your country…”

(excepts taken from a speech delivered in New York July 9, 1975,
at a luncheon given by the AFL-CIO)

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

Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox…it matters not

“Give that child to me. I want it. I will care for it.
I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to
give that child to a married couple who will love the child
and be loved by the child.”

Mother Teresa

‘What really is at play here, dear family,
is that other shepherds are offended because I simply state
the fact that they abandoned their sheep in a time of need.
If this alleged virus was allegedly a fraction as dangerous
as they said it was, it was all the more reason to keep our
churches open and get you the sacraments so that you
stayed in a state of grace.
They put your eternal souls at risk!’

Fr. Altman

Recently I’ve been following a story about a Catholic priest who made
a comment during the past 2020 election that if one was a professed Catholic,
one could not also be a democrat.
The priest made this comment based upon the two leading democrats at
the time, who were Catholic but who were also very outspoken
regarding abortion.

At the time, the priest was obviously referencing candidate Joe Biden
and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi…both professed Roman Catholics
who were each touting a ‘woman’s right to choose’—a woman’s right to
use abortion as a means of birth control or a means to end something
that might just be more than one wishes to bear.

The priest also had qualms with not being able to administer
Communion to parishioners who wanted to partake in Holy Communion during
the pandemic quagmire we all endured.

Well, not being Catholic, I actually whole heartedly happen to agree
with this priest.

As in I don’t know how one can be Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian.,
Methodist, Anglican, Orthodox, etc and calmly proclaim from the roof tops
that abortion is certainly fine and dandy.

It is an abomination to God.
Plain and simple.

Our burdens that we bear on this earth are all known by the Father.
Believers know that the gate will be narrow…not wide.
Many will opt for the wide gate…wide is easy yet it is a gate
that will lead to one’s demise.

The narrow gate leads to Salvation…a simple fact.

Our perceived burdens are not meant to be isolated.
Our very lives are tools for teaching.
Our lives, our actions, teach others.
How we opt to handle our burdens is paramount to others.
And yet we don’t or can’t grasp that small fact.
Everything we do has a direct impact upon another…
be it for good or for bad.

Our culture prefers easy and calm…heck, who doesn’t
But that is not what life is all about…easy and calm.

The disciples were each called by name and it was made clear
up front that their opting to follow Christ would not be
a cake walk. It would not be an easy journey.
Choose or not to choose.

However the disciples knew that to not follow would be the lesser
of the two choices…it would equate to death.

He requires a great deal of us.
Plain and simple.

Pick up your mat and walk, He commands us.
Sin no more.
Go forth and proclaim the greatness of the Lord…

BREAKING: Fr. Altman’s bishop has asked him to resign

Shockingly, Fr. Altman announced this past Sunday that his bishop,
Bishop William Callaghan, has asked him to resign for being
“divisive and ineffective.”

Fr. Altman is the priest who said,
“You can’t be a Catholic and a Democrat” in 2020,
and who, more recently, has been strong in his criticism of the
pro-abortion Biden Administration and, separately,
has admonished the U.S. bishops for denying the Sacraments to church-going
Catholics during the COVID crisis.

After delivering a powerful Pentecost Sunday homily, Altman explained:
“I regret to inform you, they want my head on a platter.
They want my head now for speaking the truth.
I apparently have created enemies in the hierarchy.”

“To paraphrase the great, great Cardinal Burke,
‘When I die, I will stand in judgment before the Lord,
not any Bishop of the church, nor as the great Cardinal Burke
specifically said, the USCCB,’” said the embattled priest.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-fr-altmans-bishop-has-asked-him-to-resign?utm_source=UPDT5_ALTMAN&ct=t(UPDATE-SUPPORT-FR-ALTMAN-5-25-21)

what will you risk for what is right?

If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats.
But if you take no risks, you win no victories.

Richard M. Nixon


(a picture I’d taped to my classroom door of Mikhail Gobachev being driven through East Berlin)

As I continue to clean out what was my former life…out of the myriad of boxes and bins
buried in our basement, boxes from my life of teaching, I found a box of things
I’d pulled off my classroom door when I was cleaning out my classroom upon retirement.

I also had this picture of Mother Teresa’s feet…
I’d placed the photo on my door, backing it with a simple black sheet of mat board.
I had written on the mat “these feet never complained—they just kept moving in the name of Love”

Many of the kids commented that they thought the picture was “gross”.
Such comments afforded me the opportunity to explain to them as to why someone would allow their
feet to get in such a sad state of affairs.

I wanted to challenge my kids, as well all the other kids who would pass by my door,
with such issues of truth, life, sacrifice, love, conviction, bravery and the notion
of looking beyond self to things that were much greater…

My prayer is that we continue to seek that which is greater than ourselves.

If we do so, we might just erase the current senseless violence besieging our cities.

the sound of silence…can break the heart

“In the silence of the heart God speaks.
If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.
Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness,
your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”

Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers


(courtesy the web)

The school year has finally ended and thus our little extended family clan headed home
yesterday for good.

And I cried like nobody’s business.

There is now such a deafening silence that neither my husband nor I find comfortable.

No shrieks, no cries, no shouts, no laughter, no bumps nor bangs…

March 15th until May 22nd.
Holidays, birthdays, milestones, and seasons have all came and gone.

And now they are gone…

And there is still a Pandemic, a lockdown, a ‘new’ normal…
The silence isn’t helping…


(the attack of Da / Julie Cook / 2020)


(a warm spring day /Julie Cook/ 2020)


(snuggle bug siblings / Abby Cook/ 2020)


(a first hair cut / Julie Cook / 2020)


(the last morning with “mom” / Julie Cook / 2020)

ALMIGHTY God, heavenly Father, who hast blessed us with the joy and care of children;
Give us light and strength so to train them,
that they may love whatsoever things are true and pure and lovely and of good report,
following the example of their Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

1928 Book of Common Prayer

unconditional…

Intense love does not measure,
it just gives.

Mother Teresa


Photo by Olegkalina

So the idea of unconditional love came creeping into the forefront of my thoughts recently.

I’d say for various reasons…but no matter the reason, it got me thinking.

Unconditional love, is it not, a noble idea, or is that ideal?

As a Christian, I would think that we of all people, should grasp the concept a bit more so
than unbelievers, in part, because that is a fundamental building block to our faith.

You know that whole “For God so loved the world…”
and that He would “give” his son over for us…that He would love us so
unconditionally, given our often wretched, sinful and selfish responses,..
well it is quite the gift for a foundation.

So I got to pondering whether or not this noblest of attributes is
actually truly attainable to mankind…or is it simply unattainable?

I opted for a bit of research…and found an article from Psychology Today
regarding the notion of unconditional love and the real possibility that
humans could actually achieve such…or not.

The ideal of unconditional love is a noble one.
We want to be loved as we are, and perhaps we’d like to see ourselves as capable of selfless love.

Unfortunately, loving unconditionally may set us up for disappointment and shame
when our ideal doesn’t match the reality of how difficult —
or perhaps impossible — it is to love unconditionally.

Children need to be loved without conditions.
As they struggle through life, we need to be unendingly patient —
taking many deep breaths, and offering guidance repeatedly.
Embodying a consistently loving, accepting presence,
we create a climate for safe attachment. As adults,
we also desire and need safe relationships.
Opening our hearts, we want to trust that a beloved partner or
loyal friend will be there when we need them.

However, if we look too fervently and exclusively to one person to fill all our needs
(for acceptance, belonging, meaning),
we may be expecting something that one person cannot provide.
Taken to an extreme, we may echo the silent plea of the narcissistic child:
Love me and supply what I need …
despite how I treat you.

Clinging to a sense of entitlement,
we may fly into blame or rage when our partner’s needs clash with our own.
For better or worse, mature love can only thrive under certain conditions.
Just as a rose needs ample sun, water, and nutrients to survive and flourish,
we cannot expect love to thrive under sterile or hostile conditions.
There needs to be (enough) mutuality.

So the word egocentric came running to my mind.

Having been the chief caregiver of two, who are 2 and under, these past three months
has afforded me my fair share of egocentric encounters.

Me, mine and definitely not yours—even if it is yours.

Innate qualities that must be, like a wild pony, tamed.

We adults all know that, as children, we must learn to share.
And yet we, as children, want to be showered and caressed by our caregivers
regardless of our own actions.
And at 2 years of age or younger, who in the heck is rationalizing their actions??

Rather it appears that it is the reactions of those around us, reactions to our own actions,
that begin to shape us.
Be it stern words.
A rebuff.
A spanking.
Time-out.
Loss of something we want, etc…

All early teaching tools to the taming of self.

Because as adults, we know that in order to “get along” with others, we’ve got to learn to
let go of self and share.
.
As an educator, I certainly had my fair share of educational psychology courses and child development
courses…and as a parent and now grandparent, I have had my fair share of hands-on training.

Sometimes it goes well, sometimes not so much…

We have been told, by those who are in the know, that there are 7 definable types of love.

Now whether or not these are all innate or learned is debatable.

1.Eros–Love of the body
2.Philia– Affectionate love
3.Storge–Love of the Child
4.Agape–Selfless Love
5.Ludus–Playful Love
6.Pragma– Long-lasting Love
7.Philautia– Love of the Self

In his book from 1960, The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis examines this notion of “types” of love.
but rather focuses on just 4 types of love—Storge, Philia, Eros, and finally Agape.

Growing up, as a teenager attending various Bible studies, it was Agape that spoke to me
as to that which is the epitome of unconditional love.

And it seems that some of these “loves” are much nobler than others.

And is that not what we humans should strive for…the nobler of loves?

Which brings us back around to unconditional love.

A higher and nobler love.

Loving without condition.

Loving the sinner and not the sin.

And yet, in the end, there does seem to be limits.

As in we may accept God’s unconditional gift, or we may choose not to.
Plus we must remember that we do not always offer unconditional love back to God–
nor do we offer it to one another.

He loves unconditional, but we do not.

A conundrum.

So I suppose I will continue to muse about this type of love…the
matter of unconditionality and Agape.

pandemics tend to do that…prompting us to ruminate over deep and often hidden thoughts.

So…unconditional love.
Something I want and something I would hope I could one day in turn offer to others.

Yet I fear this is to be a lifelong endeavor…

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Romans 8:35

Only Jesus

“You must make a sound and firm resolution to submit yourselves totally to His will and,
with a lively and steadfast faith, to receive from Him what you have
to do for love of Him.
And in this (whatever may happen) to persevere with constancy to the very end.”

St. Angela Merici


(the blooming of the blessed peony /Julie Cook / 2020)

“I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone.
We may spend time in the chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul
how He looks at you with love?
Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart?
Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you?
Ask for the grace; He is longing to give it.
Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart,
you will not be able to hear Him saying ‘I Thirst’ in the hearts of the poor.
Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea.”

Saint Mother Teresa, p.129-30
An Excerpt From
Manual for Eucharistic Adoration

the mystery of Judas; the Church’s dark night of the soul

“We (the Church) are experiencing the mystery of iniquity,
the mystery of betrayal, the mystery of Judas”

Robert Cardinal Sarah


(The Taking of Jesus by Caravaggio 1602 / The National Gallery of Ireland / Dublin)

A couple of weeks back I highlighted a small intro to a new book offering by the Guinea Catholic
prelate Robert Cardinal Sarah…
a man who minces no words when it comes to God’s commands to man.

He is a staunch advocate for the Christian faith and the sovereignty of Jesus Christ.
A true defender of the faith.
And a man who viscerally recognizes the sins of the Chruch, the sins of those entrusted
with shepherding the fold.

I pre-ordered this latest book offering, The Day Is Now Far Spent
It is a book that is based on a conversation between the Cardinal and the French journalist
Nicolas Diat

The book arrived today via the mail and just so you know,
the first two introductory pages are already more yellow than they are
white and black as I have highlighted almost every word.

Cardinal Sarah’s voice has been long needed…not only for the Catholic Chruch but for our
entire Global Christian Church.

Cardinal Sarah addresses, head-on, the sexual abuse scandal that is taking the
Catholic Chruch to her knees.
He addresses the dire situation the West is currently facing regarding her very foundation…
that being her Judaeo/Christian cornerstone.
He addresses the growing crisis of faith.
A crisis that is eating away at the very core of Christianity.
As we are living in a post-Christian culture that reviles the Christian faith.

The Cardinal explains that in his first book,
The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise,
he had invited us all to learn the gift of silence…
however, today, the Cardinal finds that he can remain silent no more.

“I must no longer remain silent.
Christians are disoriented.
Every day from all sides, I receive calls for help from those who no longer know what to believe.
…The Chruch is experiencing the dark night of the soul.
The mystery of iniquity is enveloping and blinding her.”

As Pope VI used to say, we are being invaded by the smoke of
Satan. The Church, which ought to be a place of light, has become a dwelling place of darkness.
It ought to be a secure, peaceful family home, but look: it has become a den of thieves!”

“Following Jesus, the Chruch is experiencing the mystery of scourging.
Her body is lacerated.
Who is inflicting the lashes?
The very ones who ought to love and protect her?
Yes I make so bold as to borrow the words of Pope Francis: the mystery of Judas hangs over our time
The mystery of betrayal oozes from the walls of the Church.”

I am both deeply encouraged as well as deeply concerned reading what this solider
of the Cross has to say to all of us regarding our faith and that of the Church in general.

We need to be mindful that there is indeed a smoky veil that is engulfing our faith.
Those of us in the West are under dire persecutions albeit on a vastly different level
than that our brothers and sisters around the globe who live in a physical peril for
holding fast to their beliefs.

Ours is more an insidious downward spiral…a psychological attack.
Add in the culture of death that both Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa each
addressed as a key contributor to the demise of Christianity in the West along, with the
death of the traditional family and we have a toxic mix for our own totality of loss.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing more of this insightful man’s wisdom.

Let us pray for the global Christian body of believers as we must arm ourselves against
Satan’s attacks.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5