ripening in order to bear fruit

“The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of one poor little person
to save a multitude of others,
redeemed like her at the price of His Blood.”

St. Therese of Lisieux


(a slight blush begins on the persimmions / Troup, Co Georgia / Julie Cook / 2108)

Therese of Lisieux, known as ‘the Little Flower’, was only 24 years old when she died
from tuberculosis.
Despite her sweet and tender disposition, her Chrisitan spiritual impact was to be
tremendous as she today is known far and wide both inside and out of Catholic circles.
Next to Saint Francis of Assisi, Therese is the second most popular Catholic saint.

Therese lost her mother to what is thought to have been breast cancer when Therese was
only 4 and a half years old.
An older sister stepped into the role of surrogate mother to the young Theresa.

It wasn’t long after that time that Theresa’s two older sisters each left home as they
sought to join the cloistered community of the Carmelite order.

Carmelites are a religious order founded in the 12th century near Mt Carmel,
hence the name.
It is a religious cloistered order known for a contemplative lifestyle—
that being a life of prayer.
Community, service, and prayer are their central focus.

At first, Theresa was devastated as she had first lost her mother and now was
losing her two sisters who had taken her mother’s place in her life and heart.
Theresa was known for being a bright child who excelled in school yet was very
sensitive and was often the victim of vicious bullying.

Soon she developed what doctors labeled as “neurotic attacks”—
uncontrollable tremors, a result
as her body’s way of dealing with frustration.

Her oldest sister would then write letters of encouragement to Theresa speaking to her
of faith, Jesus, and mother Mary.

“Christmas Eve of 1886 was a turning point in the life of Thérèse; she called it
her “complete conversion.”
Years later she stated that on that night she overcame the pressures she had faced since
the death of her mother and said that “God worked a little miracle to make me grow up
in an instant…
On that blessed night … Jesus, who saw fit to make Himself a child out of love for me,
saw fit to have me come forth from the swaddling clothes and imperfections of childhood”.

(Wikipedia)

And so at the age of 15, Theresa left home to also join the Carmelite order.

She leaned heavily on the writings of two Spanish Carmelite mystics,
St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross.

Theresa was fervent in her desire to draw ever closer to God.
“In her quest for sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish
heroic acts, or great deeds, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God.
She wrote, “Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love?
Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers
and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the
least actions for love.”

Wikipedia

And so Theresa had learned one of life’s most difficult yet important lessons…
that in order to accomplish big and great things,
these things must be accomplished in small and almost insignificant ways in order to have
the most lasting and powerful effects.

It was this humble yet steadfast approach of hers in developing a deeply intimate
relationship with God, Jesus and even Mary and in turn offering that intimate relationship
to others, that seems to have drawn so many admirers, both Catholic and not,
to this simple young nun.

In her short 24 years, she made such a tremendous impact on those who had known her…
so much so that it was just 28 years following her death that she was declared a Saint
as well as Doctor of the Chruch.

Another small yet giant of a woman, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, would eventually borrow
the name of Theresa, taking it as her own when she professed her own vows as a nun…
that woman was Mother Teresa.

And so it is with our ripening little persimmon which helps to remind us of the wisdom
of the little flower, St. Theresa.
We are all waiting, in some fashion or other, during our own individual time of ripening and
growth—waiting for the right time when we can finally bear the strong and powerful fruits of
a heart rooted in the belief and wisdom of Jesus Christ—

So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing
in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:10

giving way at the seams

“It is normal to give away a little of one’s life in order
not to lose it all.”

Albert Camus

(a persimmon caught in the middle of the woods in a rather messy web / Julie Cook / 2017)

Just when I thought life had become nutty enough,
what with our latest troubles over petty things like a war of words between a sitting president of the United States and our nation’s professional athletes,
I am resoundingly reassured that we are not alone.

For I am comforted in knowing that there are other nations out there battling
their own levels of crazy.

They say misery loves company…
I say bring an extra bag of chips as we get the party started….

Yesterday’s post had not been what I had intended to write.
Yet I felt deeply compelled to share the role model example, as well as the bravery,
of Steeler’s player Alejandro Villanueva.

I say bravery because Villanueva made a conscious decision to honor the flag and anthem while his coach, Mike Tomlin with input from his players, had decided
that his team would forgo the National Anthem in hopes of just missing the whole crazy divisive issue.

Yet I would imagine Villanueva, a former Army Captain, West Point Grad and
Afghanistan war veteran, and his coach had had a discussion prior to
the game and the anthem.
With that whole discussion most likely revolving around how Villanueva felt a bound duty
to both honor and salute a flag and a Nation that he has served in active duty and now serves as a role model the playing field.

Villanueva is a man who completely understands commands and orders…so I imagine there
was discussion over Villanueva’s need and desire to break ranks as it were with
his beloved Coach and team.

As we now read that Villanueva had not intended to be as noticeable as a “standout”
Sunday as he was…fearing he may have inadvertently thrown his teammates under
life’s proverbial bus.


(Miami Herald)

Men and women have died defending our Flag…as her ensuing anthem is a reflection
not of inequality or bias but rather of blood shed for democratic triumph…
A notion now a couple of centuries old…

Soldiers understand that probably better than most of us.
I doubt any of The Steelers feel as if they were thrown under any bus by a man who
chose to put his own life on the line for his fellow Americans.

I was tremendously touched by the comments offered on my post Monday regarding that
brave act by that brave man.

It seems I am not alone in feeling that US Capt. Villanueva
made the greatest one-man showing on Sunday despite that not being his desire
nor mission–yet selfless patriotism has a way of always coming to the surface.

So just when I thought our lives couldn’t become any more surreal than they
already are, I watched Monday morning the latest edition of Anglican Unscripted
featuring the Anglican cleric, The Reverend Gavin Ashenden.

And then, if that weren’t enough, I followed that up with the solid reading from the
latest offerings by the Scottish Pastor David Robertson on his Wee Flea Blog.

Firstly I will share a brief bit of what Reverend Ashenden has had to share regarding
some recent happenings on his side of the pond.

It seems that the Church of England has either totally lost its mind or has
totally gone the way of the ‘All Ensuing Cultural War Express’….

Recently a fashion show featuring the symbols, dress and attitude of all things Satanic
was permited to take place in of all places an Anglican Church located in London.

Just when I was pretty well convinced the we had totally lost our minds on this side
of the pond, it seems as if our cousins abroad have totally lost theirs.

When on earth does a catwalk featuring those decorated and dressed in Satan inspired garb,
complete with a Christian altar as a backdrop, make any sort of sense at all?

You might need to read that again….

When on earth does a catwalk featuring those decorated and dressed in Satan inspired garb,
complete with a Christian altar as a backdrop, make any sort of sense at all?

It doesn’t!


(St Andrew’s Anglican Church allowing a Satanic inspired fashion show to take place in the sanctuary)

Rev. Ashenden pointedly reminds his listeners that if there be
any Christian among us who has the Holy Spirit residing in his or her soul…
of which would be a good many of the faithful, he or she would assuredly have felt a tremendous amount of consternation over having seen such a spectacle….

I know I did when I watched a few snippets of the “show.”

Rev. Ashenden proceeds to explain that there is a battle on this earth that
is a a battle of both Good and Evil and it is very much alive and very much real.
And if any of us foolishly think otherwise, then we are in store for a very frightful awakening.

Imagine Satan’s glee—his very own fashion show, featuring some of his best inspired
fashion, taking place in a House of God…

Oh the irony found in that one notion alone…

The good Vicar goes on to note that the Church of England has now obviously
succumb to its struggles with the secular culture as it is now very much
“coming apart at the seams”

Anglican Unscripted – Satanic & Masonic fashion in the C of E.

Next our dear friend the Scottish Pastor David Robertson shares his own observations
from the same side of the pond…

He takes a look at a variety of ills plaguing both the EU and the UK even venturing to
the land down under.


(am I the only one who sees a problem with this image from an Australian college campus?? Last I checked, no one was recommending burning homosexuals but apparently it’s ok
to burn a church)

Australia is now locked in a death roll regarding same sex marriages.

The good pastor notes “Well, they did warn us it would happen.
They said they did not want a referendum on same sex marriage because of
the hatred it would allow to be displayed.
They were right.
The Australian referendum debate has turned really nasty – not as some feared
with people taking the opportunity to express their homophobic hatred,
but rather because of those who are all into ‘love and tolerance’
being full of hatred and intolerance towards any who would dare to
disagree with them.

Pastor Robertson lastly offered a small step back in time.
He offered a “story of the week”


(Nixon and Kissinger in the Oval Office)

Story of the week –
I loved this story about Nixon.
Kissinger’s account from Woodward and Bernstein The Final Days.

“The president was drinking.
He said he was resigning.
It would be better for everyone.
They talk quietly – history, resignation decision,
foreign affairs.
Then Nixon said he wasn’t sure he would be able to resign.
Could he be the first president to quit office?
Kissinger responded by listing the president’s contributions,
especially in diplomacy.

‘Will history treat me more kindly than my contemporaries?’

“Certainly, definitely,” Kissinger said. “When this was all over,
the president would be remembered for the peace he had achieved.”
The president broke down and sobbed…How had a simple burglary,
a breaking and entering, done all this?

“Kissinger kept trying to turn the conversation back to all the good things.
Nixon wouldn’t hear of it. He was hysterical.
‘Henry, ‘he said, ‘you are not a very orthodox Jew,
and I am not an orthodox Quaker, but we need to pray.’

Nixon got down on his knees.
Kissinger felt he had no alternative but to kneel down too..
The president prayed out loud, asking for help, rest, peace and love.
How could a president and a country be torn apart by such small things?
Kissinger thought he had finished but the president did not rise.
He was weeping…
‘What have I done?
What has happened?
‘Kissinger touched the president, and then…
tried to bring rest and peace to the man who was curled on the carpet
like a child.
Kissinger again tried to reassure him…
Finally the president struggled to his feet.
He sat back in his chair.
The storm had passed.
He had another drink”

I for one did find forgiveness for President Nixon as I have opted to remember
the good works that Nixon actually did accomplish while in office….and there were many
such works.

LED 10 – Far Right in Germany – The EU – World Running out of Sand – Transgender Study banned – Australian SSM Intolerance – Catalonia and Kurdistan – Reality is a Social Constuct – Britons on the Toilet – A Tale of Nixon and Kissinger

And so I will leave us today with these current events now swirling in our heads as
we continue stepping ever so gingerly through the minefield of this world we
call our own…

May God have mercy upon our souls….

“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the Lord your God.

Joel 2:12-14

The lonely persimmon: a tale of the Creator and the created

“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.”
― Hermann Hesse
DSCN2024

I was out walking yesterday when I spied a lone persimmon hanging from a rather sad looking example of a persimmon tree. I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten a persimmon but I know they usually sell them this time of year in the grocery store. This poor tree had nary a leaf and only one fruit to show for its labors.

There once was a large persimmon tree at the corner of our street when I was growing up. I hated that this was the location for our school bus stop because when the overripe persimmons fell, that meant we stepped on them. Do you know what squashed persimmons look like stuck all on the bottom of ones’ school shoes…only to be tracked in to school and somehow wend up smeared on the bottom of the cubby of my desk…those big ol seeds in that nasty sticky goo.

No wonder I’ve never tasted one before with such memories. And let’s just say that when you’re out walking in the woods, you can always tell, how shall I put this delicately, what the possums have been eating… and trust me, it’s always persimmons.
That pretty much sums up my recollection of persimmons.

Yet seeing this single lone little fruit on a shabby little tree in the middle of a rather barren spot in the middle of no where, did stir something unsettling deep down in my little ol soul. Just something about seeing the single fruit on more of a stick than a tree, there for no one in particular to see… let alone eat—I had a twinge of sadness.

I know I know, some fortunate little bird or bug will be happy at some point, or more likely it will be a lucky possum who happens by the very day, or more likely the very night, when the persimmon decides to fall to the ground—which is Nature’s wonderful way of taking care of Nature…..

Yet there was just something truly a bit sad about the single persimmon or maybe there was something that reminded me of what it was to simply be all a lone–just something that left me feeling uncomfortable…all this from this single little piece of fruit hanging as a solitary reminder of what it is to be lonely—all of which left me a trifle bit unsettled.

Loneliness can be a very scary thing. It is something we all experience at some time or another. It can happen when we are actually surrounded by people–family and friends or when we seemingly feel abandoned by those we love; it is not simply relegated and waiting for us at 2 in the morning when we find ourselves lost and stranded—either literally or metaphorically.

It is in the midst of our loneliness that we can finally be open to and get a small glimpse of the light of the Divine which resides deep in our inner core. No surrounding noise, no distraction, no constant din of activity to keep our attentions diverted. It is at this empty time when we may finally move inward in order to see what is so much greater than ourselves.

And yet so many of us seem so utterly afraid of being alone. We do everything and anything in our power in order to avoid it. We exert tremendous energy fighting being alone. Our society has placed such negative connotations to what it is to be alone—it has become almost a social stigma. It is uncomfortable and most often dreaded. We run as fast as we can away from loneliness and anything associated with what is means to be alone…turning on and up the television, the radio, calling as many people as we know, refusing to be with only ourselves. And yet that is where the Creator waits for the created…in the void of silence.

It is the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton who reminds us of what awaits for us in the silence of loneliness…..“Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.

Dare to be alone, to be silent…be not afraid of silence or of the singleness of existence. It is in this loneliness and singleness that you, the created, can meet what it is we all so very much long for, a glimpse of the Divine, the Creator.