simple and vulnerable… tiny and small

“He who carries God in his heart bears heaven with him
wherever he goes.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola


(julie cook / 2013)

While it is the loudest, the brightest and the biggest that currently vies desperately
for attention…

A culture dares to scream out to all who give ear…that bigger is better…
and that even bigger is better still…

It is a time when more equates to satisfaction and it is only in fullness where true
happiness will be found…

Yet it is also oddly a time when more is never truly enough…and the full
are never contently satiated…

It is a time of glaring sensory overload…
when even in sleep a brain is unable to find rest…

Yet Omnipotence continues to seek out the lowly,
capturing the attention of a world gone mad.

A reminder is currently proclaimed…
that it was but a baby who entered the world, humble and meek, who would
in turn, be King.

It was the simple and the vulnerable, the tiny and small, who stopped the world from
spinning…but for the briefest of moments.

Where have all those prophets of old now gone?
Those voices who foretold the glories of Salvation?

Where are those who defied the world while proclaiming both Hope and Peace?

Rest assured, we are told, they have not gone far from view.

They are still very much amongst us.
Walking tiny and small between the giants of this land

They are quieter than the oh so loud and prideful self-consumed…

They are the ones who stop, lingering long enough to listen…those who
will hear the baby’s cry while standing ever so still…

“Write:
I am Thrice Holy, and I detest the smallest sin.
I cannot love a soul which is stained with sin; but when it repents,
there is no limit to My generosity toward it.
My mercy embraces and justifies it.
With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths,
and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me.
I forget the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice at their return.
Tell sinners that no one shall escape My Hand; if they run away from My Merciful Heart,
they will fall into My Just Hands.
Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them,
that I listen intently to the beating of their heart . . .
when will it beat for Me?”
St. Maria Faustina
excerpt from The Diary of St Maria Faustina

“Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, a simple, uneducated, young Polish nun receives
a special call.
Jesus tells her, “I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world.
I do not want to punish mankind, but I desire to heal it,
pressing it to My merciful Heart.”

Jesus also tells her to record His message of mercy in a diary:
“You are the secretary of My Mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this and the next life.”
These words of Jesus are found in the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska,
which chronicles Sr. Faustina’s great experience of Divine Mercy in her soul and her mission
to share that mercy with the world.

In the Diary, this woman mystic’s childlike trust, simplicity,
and intimacy with Jesus will stir your heart and soul Her spiritual insights will
surprise and reward you.
“Only love has meaning,” she writes.
“It raises up our smallest actions into infinity.”
(The Catholic Company)

Sister Faustina was a young, uneducated nun in a convent of the Congregation of
Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland during the 1930s.
She came from a poor family that struggled during the years of World War I.
She had only three years of simple education,
so hers were the humblest tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or garden.
However, she received extraordinary revelations — or messages — from our Lord Jesus.
Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to record these experiences, which she compiled into notebooks.
These notebooks are known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska,
and the words contained within are God’s loving message of Divine Mercy.

“Though the Divine Mercy message is not new to the teachings of the Church,
Sr. Faustina’s Diary sparked a great movement,
and a strong and significant focus on the mercy of Christ.
Saint John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina in 2000 making her the
“first saint of the new millennium.”
Speaking of Sr. Faustina and the importance of the message contained in her Diary,
the Pope calls her “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.”
thedivinemercy.org

Dreams, mysticism and God’s heart

I used unexpectedly to experience a consciousness of the presence of God, or such a kind that I could not possibly doubt that He was within me or that I was wholly engulfed in Him. This was in no sense a vision: I believe it is called mystical theology. The soul is suspended in such a way that it seems to be completely outside itself. The will loves; the memory, I think, is almost lost; while the understanding, I believe, thought it is not lost, does not reason—I mean that it does not work, but is amazed at the extent of all it can understand; for God wills it to realize that it understands nothing of what His Majesty represents to it.”
― Teresa of Ávila

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(anthurium / Julie Cook / 2014)

I believe that there are those who’s relationship with God is on a different level then the rest of us.
Those who have a more mystical relationship.
Those who experience visions.

Like Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century German mystic nun, I have suffered most of my life from migraine headaches. Whereas historians have noted that Hidegard suffered from terrible headaches, as well as other certain “aliments,” which were often associated with her visions. . . my headaches have only come with the stop you in your tracks blinding strobe light auras coupled with excruciating pain and nausea. There was never any voices, visions or outer body experiences—despite my wishing I was out of my body at the onset of the headaches, no one ever spoke to me from the great beyond.

I have also been known to have rather vivid dreams during my sleep—and lest I remind you, woman my age are not known for sleeping—-however when I am fortunate enough to be asleep and experiencing my odd subconscious form of entertainment, there have never been any visions or divine visits of such, just very real palpable bizarre dreams.
I often wake from these dreams with very real and very intense emotions of both joy or sorrow, depending on the dream.

I also have a bad tendency to “talk” in my sleep during the bad dreams—more like mutter and groan as I am attempting to scream in my dreams— yet in the real world, the world of conscious husbands who have been woken up from sound asleep wives who are having outer body experiences, as I innocently lay there like a gyrating possessed clump totally immersed under the covers, there is a power play between the subconscious and the reality of the conscious raging in the stillness of a silent night.

On one such occasion, my poor husband tired of listening to these alienesque noises coming from his supposedly sleeping wife, attempted to shake me. I was so thankful that he did. In my dream I was in a dire predicament and so frustrated that I was unable to speak and/ or yell for help during the dreaming crisis that when he pushed me, waking me up, I finally let out a blood curdling scream. I never did understand why he got so upset. . .there I was finally happy to be out of danger and feeling so much better and relieved and he was upset, go figure—–
Such is the dilemma of the sleeping and the awake.

Night before last I was having the most lifelike dream fraught with a great deal of anguish.
An odd crazy dream yet most troubling.
It was a dream concerning our 26 year old son as a little boy. Some bad people who I know not, as I never actually saw them or him, had kidnapped him. It’s just one of those oddities about dreams. . .one doesn’t often “see” the situation at hand but yet is keenly aware of what has obviously transpired.
And I know that there are those out there who would love to get ahold of this dream—picking it, as well as me, apart explaining what in the heck it all means. . .but trust me, I have a few of my own ideas.

In my dream I had begged and pleaded with these bad people, whoever they were. I was a mother who was rife with grief, fear and sorrow. It was all so real and I was certainly in a terribly bad place. However as luck would have it, I was “shoved” back to reality by a sleep deprived annoyed husband who had no idea that with his shaking of his dreaming wife, he had saved the day by ending the grave drama playing out in my subconscious.

I had tears streaming down my face and I was visibly upset.
I laid there a long time afterwards thankful I had been woken up and wondering what in the heck that dream was all about.
Oh I’m sure it has something to do with the frustration of my son’s being in a tough spot in his life right now and with me, as his mom, helpless to “fix things”—only as mothers so often feel they must do.

As I wondered, staring out in the dark, as to what sort of lesson I was to be learning from just one in a litany of life’s good and bad dreams, the thought of God as parent came to the forefront of my thoughts.
There I was in my dream—a desperate mom battling to save my child. I was besides myself with frustration and grief of the heart that I was unable to stop the bad things from happening to my child—when the thought occurred to me of how frustrated and sorrowful God must often be with us His children.

I was overcome thinking of the sorrow shed by a Father who loves with a love beyond my own comprehension of what love truly is, such that He must shed many tears over us.
There are those who argue that God, if He is God and is this all powerful entity that so many of us say He is, that He should just be able to do a little of that abracadabra business of His and poof, we’re all good. There are those who see the bad things happen, for no apparent reason, and therefore proclaim that if He is God and if He is really up there then He could indeed do something to stop the badness down here. . .and since He does not nor chooses not to do so, then He much not exist.

A long time ago, humankind severed a life line
A link, or more like a major artery, between life and death had been destroyed.
The bond was broken.
The separation was set in motion.
The world became void of Hope.
God, the Omnipotent, the Alpha and the Omega, watched Love fall into an abyss.

And yet, God knew, in order to save humankind, to be able to allow the continuum to the link of everlasting Love, He would have to allow and then watch His own Son, fall into that same empty black abyss.
A torn heart which was a swirling elixir of emotions of pain and sorrow on a scale not grasped by man, blanketed all of creation.
Raw grief and pain unimaginable yet given freely to offer us a bridge back home.

Life is much greater than what we know here on this Earth. Most of us do not possess the ability to grasp the extent of God’s true abiding love, yet in the dark, reeling from a dream so strong and real, I had a tiny glimpse of the enormity of God’s own heart.

Driving home after a summer storm

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

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Holy Life-Giver
Doctor of the desperate,
Healer of everyone broken past hope,
Medicine for all wounds,
Fire of love,
Joy of hearts,
fragrant Strength,
sparkling Fountain,
Protector,
Penetrator,
in You we contemplate
how God goes looking for those who are lost
and reconciles those who are at odds with Him.
Break our chains!

You bring people together.
You curl clouds, whirl winds,
send rain on rocks, sing in creeks,
and turn lush earth green.
You teach those who listen,
breathing joy and wisdom into them.

We praise You for these gifts,
Light-giver,
Sound of joy,
Wonder of being alive,
Hope of every person,
and our strongest Good.

St. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179 German mystic Benedictine nun and Doctor of the Church)
as translated by Carmen Acevedo Butcher

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(sunset after a summer storm / Julie Cook / Georgia / 2014)