an adopted path to Grace

“All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by
laws analogous to those of physical gravity.
Grace is the only exception. Grace fills empty spaces,
but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it,
and it is grace itself which makes this void.
The imagination is continually at work filling up all
the fissures through which grace might pass.”

Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace


(Rosemary Beach during Hurricane Sally / Julie Cook / 2020)

Tossed within the surf of a sea churning with tumultuous emotions…
joy, sorrow and even regret now vie for prominence within my heart.

An engulfing crescendo of deep abiding love is gently offered…
yet is is overshadowed by the inward naysaying whispers of a past
that speaks of unworthiness.

Grace and Graciousness, along with open forgiveness,
have each been tenderly extended…
freely extended by the hands of unconditional love.

The very word unconditional has always made these eyes fill with tears.

Humbled by such a love leaves this heart feeling only more unworthy
and even trembling.

Ode to a child of adoption…the child who finds the unconditional
a foreign gift.

Condition most often becomes the wiring of the adopted one.
And thus the thought of such worthiness is oh so far away from anything
the adopted individual finds possible…
for the single sense unworthiness clings for dominance.

If you’ve ever visited this little corner of the blogosphere of mine very often,
then you know I’ve written at length about such feelings and that of
my own adoption over these many years.

The highs and lows, the battles and the healings.

With adoption, the notion of healing and that of worthiness each become
a lifelong quest.

For the one who was given up and given away…to be able to ever feel worthy
of accepting such a precious offering of true and abiding love…a gift given from one
freely to another, feels as a near impossibility.

And so a battle ensues…

The adult who has lived life and attained hindsight now fights with the
ever present child who was born of rejection.

Logic wrestles with raw emotion.

Yet what we know, is that in the end, love does indeed win.

Because we know that anyone who calls
themself a Christian, is adopted by Grace.

I am a child of Grace and I am a person who is so ever grateful
to that of the unconditional…

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying, “Abba! Father!”
So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:5-7

At Peace (repeat from 2015)

“There is no way in which a man can earn a star or deserve a sunset.”
G.K. Chesterton


(Henderson Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2015

We deserve not, nor have we earned the gift of
the glorious,
the beautiful,
the majestic
the splendid
or
even the sublime. . .
Yet we are privy each dawn and dusk to utter wonderment.

A weary sun sinks low, resting heavy on the melting horizon. . .
As a calming hush is pulled gently across the shoulders of the
sleepy landscape. . .

Do you have any regrets?

Are you sorry, feeling poorly or badly for how events may have unfolded
throughout your day?

Do you stare forlornly out toward the darkening curtain that is slowly
being drawn across the closing day’s stage?

Could things have been better, different, more hopeful, more positive?

Are you now feeling burdened, defeated, regretful, resentful. . .?

Or. . .

Are you at peace. . .
resolved,
resolute
and calmly determined. . .
Finding yourself in a place of no regrets, no remorse,
nor restless spirit. . .
Exhaling a blissful release of self as you feel your body giving way
to the beautiful display that is offered to you in the evening’s gracious sky
by the only One who is truly in control and has offered you a piece of Himself. . .

They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
Psalm 65:8

miss no single opportunity…

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice,
here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word;
always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

St. Therese of Lisieux


(sunset / Julie Cook / 2021)

“When we generously accept God’s Word, especially in the Commandments,
we are doing God’s Will in all things.
To live the Will of God is the greatest sacrifice and personal denial.”

Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, p. 17
An Excerpt From
Inspirational Thoughts for Every Day

Only God satisfies

“In this life no one can fulfill his longing,
nor can any creature satisfy man’s desire.
Only God satisfies, he infinitely exceeds all other pleasures.
That is why man can rest in nothing but God.”

St. Thomas Aquinas


(a lone pelican cruises the surf / Julie Cook /2021)

“In the spiritual life,
I can promise myself nothing without the special help of God…
From one moment to another, I may fall into mortal sin:
consequently, even though I may have labored many years in acquiring virtues,
I may in one instant lose all the good I have done,
lose all my merit for eternity, and lose even that blessed eternity itself.
How can a king rule with arrogance when he is besieged by his enemies
and from day to day runs the risk of losing his kingdom and ceasing to be a king?
And has not a saint abundant reasons,
from the thought of his own weakness,
to live always in a state of great humility,
when he knows that from one hour to another he may lose the
grace of God and the kingdom of Heaven, which he has merited by years
of laboriously acquired virtues? ‘Unless the Lord build the house,
they labor in vain that build it’ (Ps. 126:1).
However spiritual and holy a man may be,
he cannot regard himself as absolutely secure.
The Angels themselves, enriched with sanctity, were not safe in Paradise.
Man, endowed with innocence, was not safe in his earthly paradise.
What safety,
therefore, can there be for us with our corrupt nature,
amid so many perils and so many enemies who within and without
are ever seeking insidiously to undermine our own eternal salvation?
In order to be eternally damned,
it is enough that I should follow the dictates of nature;
but to be saved, it is necessary that divine grace should prevent
(go before) and accompany me, should follow and help me,
watch over me and never abandon me.
Oh, how right therefore was St. Paul in exhorting us to
‘work out our salvation’—which is for all eternity—
‘with fear and trembling’ (Phil. 2:12).”

Fr. Cajetan da Bergamo, p. 21-22
An Excerpt From
Humility Of Heart

Put your heart aside

“Put your heart aside.
Duty comes first.
But when fulfilling your duty, put your heart into it.
It helps.”

St. Josemaria Escriva


(a summer evening at a beach / Julie Cook / 20210

“In the old days, when there was less education and discussion,
perhaps it was possible to get on with a very few simple ideas about God.
But it is not so now. Everyone reads, everyone hears things discussed.
Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology,
that will not mean that you have no ideas about God.
It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones—bad,
muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God
which are trotted out as novelties today are simply
the ones which real Theologians tried centuries ago and rejected.”

C. S. Lewis, p. 155
An Excerpt From
Mere Christianity

where lies your conscience?

We should not lament that we do not see the Lord in the flesh,
because we see him in the least of those around us.

Cardinal George Pell
From his book Prison Journal, Volume 2


(a lovely gull / Julie Cook / 20210

Conscience:
ˈkän(t)SHəns/
noun
–an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or
wrongness of one’s behavior.

A life long friend of mine and I, a person who has been one of my dearest friends
since we where all of 12 years old, would over the years,
speak of our conscience—that still small inner
voice that we knew spoke of truth.

The issue of truth would always come up when we were faced with one of those
issues of the typical trials of growing up…
those sorts of issues that spoke of right from wrong.

Things we knew to be right yet dared, due to age, to challenge…
to test and to often defy…often with dreaded consequence.
Ode to growing up.

We would often vocally proclaim one to another “conscience”,
much like Quasimodo proclaiming Sanctuary when the other was toying with
an issue that was of great question and trepidation.

Always cognizent that we each knew right from wrong…none the less…
as teens and young college coeds, we would test the waters like a moth
drawn to a flame.

Thankfully and blessedly, we each acted for one another as that tiny piece
of conscience deeply rooted within those often poor choices and
actions we took upon ourselves.
Reminding one another that perhaps we weren’t on the right path
we needed to be heading…hoping to redirect one another to the
path of right from wrong.

And thus that notion of conscience has always been rooted in my psyche.

So when I read the following quote by St. John Bosco,
I was reminded of that still small voice deep within our
beings…the voice that today commands us to pick up our
cross and go forth proclaiming victory.

“Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us,
and would like even to destroy us, but we must be patient.
As long as their commands are not against our conscience,
let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise,
let us uphold the rights of God and of the Church,
for those are superior to all earthly authority.”

St. John Bosco

help me to see what you want me to be

“Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be,
and becoming that person.”

St. Therese of Lisieux


(a willet pokes around for something to eat / Julie Cook / 2021)

“However great our efforts, we cannot change ourselves.
Only God can get to the bottom of our defects, and our limitations
in the field of love; only he has sufficient mastery over
our hearts for that.
If we realize that we will save ourselves a great deal of discouragement
and fruitless struggle.
We do not have to become saints by our own power;
we have to learn how to let God make us into saints.
That does not mean, of course, that we don’t have to make any effort . . .
We should fight, not to attain holiness as a result of our own efforts,
but to let God act in us without our putting up any
resistance against him;
we should fight to open ourselves as fully as possible to his grace,
which sanctifies us.”

Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 14-5
An Excerpt From
In the School of the Holy Spirit

entrust them…so so hard

Raising children is an uncertain thing;
success is reached only after a life of battle and worry.

Democritus


(the children / Rosemary Beach /Julie Cook 2021)

“Avoid worrying, then, about anything else for your children except
whatever may contribute to bringing them up virtuously.
For the rest, having entrusted them to God,
try to see what His will for them is,
to help them along the path in life He has chosen for them.
Never be afraid of relying too much on Him,
but rather seek always to increase your trust more and more,
for this is the most pleasing homage you can pay Him and it will be
the measure of the graces you will receive.
Little or much will be given you according as you have expected little or much.”

St. Claude De La Columbiere, p.46
An Excerpt From
Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

effects

“Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity,
and through pure love, he has selected you from among so many men
whom he could have created in place of you;
but he has left them in their nothingness,
and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world.
For the love of you, he has made so many other beautiful creatures,
that they might serve you, and that they might remind you
of the love which he has borne to you, and of the
gratitude which you owe to him.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 218
An Excerpt From
Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori


(a tiny ghost crab / Julie Cook / 2021)

“The works of man, whether they are good or bad,
are not always isolated, transitory acts; more often,
especially in the case of the leaders of nations and those who are
invested with public authority,
they continue to subsist after they are concluded,
either in the memory of other men or in public acclaim,
as a result of the consequences they have had and the scandal
they have caused.
Thus, at first sight, a particular,
secret crime seems to be only a private, personal deed;
but it becomes social on account of its effects.
Certainly it is of faith that there is a particular judgment,
and that every man, at the instant of his soul’s departure
from the body, appears before the tribunal of God to hear
his eternal sentence pronounced. Yet this judgment cannot suffice,
and it is essential that it should be followed by another public judgment,
in which God will not examine the actions in isolation and taken in themselves,
but will examine them in their effects upon other men,
in the good or evil deriving from them for families and peoples—in a word,
in the consequences they produced and which those who perpetrated
them ought to have foreseen.”

Fr. Charles Arminjon, p. 94
An Excerpt From
The End of the Present World

Night and day

“I will glory not because I am righteous, but because I am redeemed;
I will glory not because I am free from sins,
but because my sins are forgiven me.
I will not glory because I have done good nor because someone has done
good to me, but because Christ is my advocate with the Father and
because the blood of Christ has been shed for me.”

St. Ambrose


(sunset at Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2021)


(morning surprise at Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2021)