faith, truth and loving God

“God writes his name on the soul of every man.”
Venerable Fulton Sheen


(Cades Cove / Julie Cook / 2015)

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises
to the contemplation of truth;
and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word,
to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God,
men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

Pope St. John Paul II

submission of the soul, “when God requires action, sanctity is to be found in activity”

The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation,
as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul
with the glory of God.

St. John Damascene


(Gulf fritillary/ Julie Cook / 2021)


Gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2021)


(Gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2021)

Submission of the soul.

For many of us, the notion of submission comes with great difficulty.
Submission is equated with the notion of weakness.
A giving up and giving in.

And yet we cling viciously to the visage of ego…that false image we hold high
and large against the humility of heart…a tenuous balance is struck.

We let that false visage block oh so many possibilities.
Hitting wall after wall, we wonder how much longer will we struggle.
So much heartache ensues because of that false visage of hubris.

Self inflicted wounds.

God is not one to be quiet when He knows what is required.

It may take years before we finally let go and submit…but when we do,
blessings will flow like a burst dam of water.

May those healing waters flow…

“The will of God gives to all things a supernatural and divine value
for the soul submitting to it.
The duties it imposes, and those it contains,
with all the matters over which it is diffused,
become holy and perfect, because, being unlimited in power,
everything it touches shares its divine character. …
The entire virtue of all that is called holy is in its approximation
to this order established by God; therefore nothing should be rejected,
nothing sought after, but everything accepted that is ordained
and nothing attempted contrary to the will of God. …
When God requires action, sanctity is to be found in activity.”

Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 15
An excerpt from
Abandonment to Divine Providence

Good reminders…

“The closer one approaches to God,
the simpler one becomes.”

St. Teresa of Avila


(a walk around a mountain lake / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Prayer is the duty of every moment.
We ought always to pray, said our Lord.
And what He said, He did; therein lay His great power.
Action accompanied His words and corresponded with them.
We must pray always in order to be on our guard.
Our life, both of body and soul, our natural and supernatural life,
is like a fragile flower.
We live surrounded by enemies.
Ever since man rejected the Light that was meant to show him the way,
everything has become for us an obstacle and a danger;
we live in the shadow of death.”

Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 9
An Excerpt From
The Prayer of the Presence of God


(orange jewelweed / Julie Cook / 2021)

“If, then, we wish to persevere and to be saved—for no one can be
saved without perseverance—we must pray continually.
Our perseverance depends, not on one grace,
but on a thousand helps which we hope to obtain from
God during our whole lives,
that we may be preserved in his grace.
Now, to this chain of graces a chain of prayers on our
part must correspond: without these prayers,
God ordinarily does not grant his graces.
If we neglect to pray, and thus break the chain of prayers,
the chain of graces shall also be broken, and we shall lose the
grace of perseverance.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 201
An Excerpt From
The Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori

what the soul bears

“A soul which does not practice the exercise of prayer is very like
a paralyzed body which, though possessing feet and hands,
makes no use of them.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori


(bait fish minnow became a bigger fish’s snack / Julie Cook / 2021)

“If the soul will analyze the desire it has of happiness,
and the idea of happiness that presents itself to it,
it will find that the object of this idea and of this desire
is only and can only be God.
This is the impression that the soul bears in the depths of its nature;
this is what reason will teach it if it will only reflect a little,
and this is what neither prejudice nor passion can ever entirely efface.”

Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou, p. 4
An Excerpt From
The Spiritual Life

headlines, headaches and heartache

Yesterday’s headlines consisted of stories about a former president partying
like it was 1999…with about 500 of his closest friends.
This all on the posh isle of Martha’s Vineyard…
It was reported to be a most “epic” party by several of the rappers who
were in attendance.
Rumor has it that even Madame Speaker was there to shake a tail feather.

Forget the frenzied called for masks and mandates…Forget our dear old godfather Dr. Fauci.

What’s  500 partiers and 200 staff members when one turns 60?
By gosh, there was a party to be had!
You can’t  really shake what your mama gave you if you’re all masked up…

Another story, on the opposite side of the country, involved a family oriented
prayer event down near the waterfront in Portland, Oregon.
If any city needed some prayer right about now…it would be Portland.
A city still under siege by lawlessness.

Disturbingly this event literally came under fire by our country’s lovely
anarchists and antifascists.

When does Christian worship call for anarchy’s knee jerk reaction??
Well, obviously now.

Not even the children nor toddlers attending were spared from the violence
as the antagonizing groups clad in black took to throwing rocks and spraying
colored gas and flash bombs into the family oriented crowd gathered.

Where were the police you ask.

Standing back and watching…don’t you remember, we want to defund them.

Meanwhile back on the east coast, the police of Martha’s Vineyard called the
ensuing traffic nightmare following the end of said presidential birthday party
a s%$t show of a mess.
Well naturally those elite partiers wanted the police to help sort out
any and all traffic woes, never mind about protecting innocent folks elsewhere…

All the while, the news is still rife with the cries of good ol squad
member Ms Cori Bush.
Ms Bush, along with her personal security detail, simply will not rest until
all the police are defunded.

What is the irony of a congresswoman crying for defunding the police
while she surrounds herself with her very own private police force…
forget the “little” people…we’ll be ok.
But wait…who’s paying for her security entourage???
Why do I think it’s you and me, said taxpayers.

Then there was the sad story of the passing of longtime college football
coach and Florida State University legend, Bobby Bowden.

Bobby Bowden, who retired in 2009 had coached at the college level for 55 years.
And like any coach, he was both loved and hated.

Loved if you were a Seminole, hated if you were a Gator or ‘Cane.
Yet I would imagine respected by most.

Bobby Bowden, who alongside his wife Ann of 51 years, raised 6 children.
3 of which went on to their own coaching careers.

I once heard Coach Bowden tell a story about a family vacation they took when
their kids were all little.

They had stopped for gas and for something to eat.
It was probably sometime in the early 1960’s.
These were pre cell phone and stranger danger days.

The family loaded back into the station wagon
and hit the road again.

It wasn’t until about 30 minutes down the road when the family realized
that not all heads had been counted.
One was missing.

Naturally they turned the car around and went back and found their wayward
child patiently waiting.

That kind of stuff just happened when you had 6 kids, Coach Bowden chuckled.

Coach Bowden was once quoted as saying
“The heck with political correctness. I’ve never believed in it.”

I appreciate folks like Coach Bowden…they are old school, like me.

So heres to old school…
while we forget the woke, the elites, the daft, the tone deaf,
the hateful, the arrogant…

Time to remember the desires of the soul…

“The human soul, by its very nature,
is endowed with the faculty of knowing God and the capacity for loving Him.
The intelligence of the soul, transporting itself above all that
is created and finite, has power to raise itself even to the
contemplation of that Being who alone is uncreated and infinite,
who is the source of all good and all perfection;
it is able to form of Him an idea that is clear and accurate and indelible.
The will of the soul is made to love this sovereign Good,
which the understanding presents to it.
The desires of the soul,
which no created object can ever satisfy and which reach far beyond
the limits of this life, tend necessarily toward a Good that
is supreme, eternal, and infinite, and which alone can content
the soul and make it happy.”

Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou, p. 3-4
An Excerpt From
The Spiritual Life

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

Mercy and the peace-filled heart

Giving God the first minutes of your day will pay dividends later.
I promise you, He will multiply your time.
You’ll get more done and have a peaceful heart while doing it.

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
from her book Be Still: A Daily Devotional


(thistle / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Tell souls not to place within their own hearts obstacles to My mercy,
which so greatly wants to act within them.
My mercy works in all those hearts which open their doors to it.
Both the sinner and the righteous person have need of My mercy.
Conversion, as well as perseverance, is a grace of My mercy.
Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy,
because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy.
I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust
in My mercy. I myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls.
I will provide them with everything they will need to attain sanctity.
The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only,
and that is-trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.
Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me,
because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them.
I rejoice that they ask for much,
because it is My desire to give much, very much.
On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little,
when they narrow their hearts.”

Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul p. 560
An Excerpt From
Divine Mercy in My Soul, p. 560

a needed day in the woods–following the traces–the lowest, not the highest

“I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head and that
you are a member of his body.
He belongs to you as the head belongs to the body.
All that is his is yours: breath, heart, body, soul and all his faculties.
All of these you must use as if they belonged to you,
so that in serving him you may give him praise, love and glory.”

St. John Eudes


(fungi continue to sprout /Julie Cook / 2020)

“Since Jesus has gone to Heaven now,
I can only follow the traces He has left behind.
But how bright these traces are! How fragrant and divine!
I have only to glance at the Gospels;
at once this fragrance from the life of Jesus reaches me,
and I know which way to run:
to the lowest, not the highest place!”

St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 153-4
An Excerpt From
Story of a Soul

When in the woods, especially this time of year with falling leaves and treasures hidden underfoot,
I have learned to look for the lowest secrets rather than those of the highest and most soaring wonders.
I give thanks for being able to spend time in God’s creation!

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

Psalm 33:8

Stand fast saints, a remnant remains!

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?
Or am I trying to please people?
If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10


(the lone thing remaining before the storm / Julie Cook / 2020)

Yesterday I offered a post about those who are not what they appear to be.
Think bin Laden, George Soros, and yes, even Bill Gates.
As in…looks and actions can be deceiving.

We must always be willing to question motives.

I had mentioned that I wanted to take a more Spiritual look at our current situation
in this ailing Nation of ours.

I want to do so by sharing something I read yesterday on a reblog that someone else had posted.

I confess, I love a good prophet—and mind you, we don’t hear nearly as much as we
should about modern-day prophets.

So imagine how excited I was when I read the following.

Oh, I might add that many would question or scoff such words of prophecy…
disputing such as fantasy or fairytale.
But when someone offers a prophecy and it is held accountable to God’s word…
well, I am all ears…

So please read and ponder…

The real Supreme Court.

Posted by appolus on September 20, 2020

So this is not to be construed as a political post and I will not indulge anyone
in a back and forth over one political party or another.
The death of RBG and the timing of it is high octane fuel on an already burning inferno.
This country was already being torn apart by division and
just when you think it cannot get worse, then it does.

A country under judgment looks something like this.
The cries of the innocents shout out from a blood-soaked land.
The fall out from this death will expose completely the fault lines and the hypocrisies
on both sides of the political divide.
Make no mistake, the supernatural forces of Moloch will rage.
Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.
The Lord gave me a word from Lamentations chapter four last May.
One of the most serious words He has ever given me, you can read it below.
The issue in Lamentations was the slaughter of the children by the mothers.
For years they had worshiped Moloch and when their backs were to the wall
and they were under siege, the cooked and ate their own children.

What low state must a people arrive at when they will rejoice at their
ability to murder their own children? The world is locked down in a pandemic,
fear stalks the streets, violence, and divisions of people are at the breaking point.
Saints, God is speaking. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken.
Draw close to your Lord and know that He is the Master of your soul
and no matter what you see unfold, He is in charge.

When the Hebrew children defied the powers that be and declared that no matter what,
they would never bow down to the gods of this world, all hell broke loose and in its fury
the fires of destruction were intensified seven times.
We are entering into that time, the fires of hell’s fury is just about to be intensified.
We must be willing to stand and make the same declaration as the Hebrew children.
Even if we die in the fires we shall never bow down to the gods of this world.
Stand fast saints.

The Lord gave me this word, a hard word to be sure.
My only charge is to deliver it.
In Lamentations chapter four we see a very different Jerusalem.
That once tremendous city, shining like gold above all other cities,
is now tarnished and under siege.
It is slowly starving and its once-proud stones that made up the temple now lay scattered
in the streets like common rubble.
Zion was about to fall.
Impregnable Zion, on the verge of utter ruin.
They were surrounded by the world outside in a siege that would only end in its utter ruin.
And in the greatest horror of all, the women would cook and eat their own children.
There is no lower state in all the world.
This was worse than Sodom for Sodom fell in one day,
there would be no such luxury for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
The symbols of their God lay ruined and they were about to be devoured by the world.
Matthew Henry asks this question of the women in Jerusalem who cooked and ate their own children.
This act, was it “the power of necessity, or the power of iniquity.
” Such a powerful question, ponder on it for a moment reader.
In a secular sense America was the shining light for the nations.
It shone like gold in comparison to old Europe that had grown tired and dim.
It took the world’s huddled masses. It gave hope to people from all around the world,
like a city set on a hill, it drew them to herself.
In two word wars she fought and in the second war she saved civilization itself
and the name of God was never far from the lips of her citizens.
Now look at America if you dare. Her institutions have been corrupted.
Over ninety percent of all the porn in the world spew forth from her bowels.
Her merchants and statesmen sold her out to the highest bidders and she became
the whore of the world whereby many became rich by her.
Yet her greatest iniquity lay with her mothers.
Now the question Matthew Henry raised about the mothers of Jerusalem.
Was their horrendous act born out of necessity or iniquity?
Can I argue that a righteous woman would never cook and eat her own child.
Only the hardest iniquitous hearts would ever contemplate such an act never-mind carry it out.
I asked a question recently, a rhetorical one.
What is more horrendous, to slaughter an infant in the gas chambers or in their mother’s womb?
What human being would allow their wombs to be so violated and their child to be so mutilated?
A woman, a generation, ripe for judgment.
Ripe to be surrounded by the world and put under siege.
Ripe to have the stones of their temples torn down and scattered in the streets
like rubble only fit to be buried.
Sixty-five million babies slaughtered and dedicated to the world.
A world that would consume them, darken them, and ultimately destroy them.
Zion was impregnable, yet it fell. America the proud, you will fall.
Not like Sodom, not like Gomoragh but you will slowly starve to death.
Most definitely spiritually, but perhaps even physically.
In the history of the world, no nation has sinned to this extent.
God has sent His warnings. The towers fell and the cry was not one of repentance,
but “we will rebuild.”
The whole world has come to a standstill and the cry is not one of repentance.
From their ministers, it is “soon it will be business as usual for we have not missed a beat.”
The real tragedy we are facing right now in Christendom is a blindness to the need for repentance.
The virus that causes this blindness is willful ignorance.
They choose not to see. Not only no repentance,
but a doubling down on wickedness, and most of the world cheers,
or peeks out from behind the curtain and says nothing.
Our silence is our guilt. The cheers from the world we should expect,
the silence from Christendom is a deafening roar.
We stay behind our curtains, our walls, as the world spirals downwards.
Our highest ambition is to get back to “normal.” God help us

So saints, if you abide in such a place, can you stay there?

It is time for the saints of God to step out of the boat, step into the storm,
lift your eyes and fix them on Jesus, our soon coming King.
Where will He find you when He comes?
Behind the walls?
Hanging onto the boat for dear life?
Shall you not walk upon the water?
It is there that you shall find Him,
we must go to where He is and leave behind where He is not.

Frank Mceleny

The real Supreme Court.

“The most deadly poison of our times 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

I am Peter…

Then Jesus said to Simon,
“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for men.”

Jesus speaking to Simon Peter
Luke 5:10


(the actor Shahar Issac who plays Simon Peter in the series The Chosen)

I could be Legion—a devil hoard
I could be the Magdalene—an abused self loather
I could be Judas—a misguided traitor
I could be Matthew—selfish and financially driven
I could be Peter—willful, defiant, sarcastic, and hopelessly lost…

I could be, or better yet… I am each and every one of these.
We all are, are we not?

These thoughts came to me this afternoon as I propped my phone on the kitchen counter
to watch Episode 4 of The Chosen while I was readying supper and waiting on
the arrival of some friends.

The app has been sitting on the screen of my phone now for months–
ever since I first saw the story about this unusual movie series and actually
shared its story here, with you.

And yet it’s simply sat, untouched.

Time you know.

Carving out roughly an uninterrupted 40 minute moment has not, up until most recently,
been possible.
And it is for me to remember that it is indeed sitting there on my phone.

To remember that all I must do is to look down and see the tiny face of Nicodemas
staring at me each time I look at my phone, swiping through the various screens.
He stares up at me, with a sideways yet knowing look as if to say, Julie,
click and watch another episode won’t you?

And then my attention finds its original quest, or a new chore calls even louder.

These past months, now weeks which are turning into endless days, have been
more than overwhelming for all of us.

A virus, death, pandemonium, lockdowns, the shuttering of life…
and now the madness of a devolving civilization is heaped on top
of an already surreal moment in time.
Embers piled upon older embers.
Reigniting the flames.

And yet this afternoon, in my kitchen, chopping squash, I am reminded…
I am Peter.
Or was that Matthew?
What of Mary…
or worse, might I be Judas?

But thankfully, I have not yet traded my soul for gain.
Or have I done so inadvertently?

And thus I am reminded…
He calls…

He calls not simply Simon bar Jonah the poor fisherman, or Matthew the
greedy taxman or Mary the broken and abused or even Judas the traitor…
He’s calling me.
He’s calling us all.
Now.
Today.

Will I listen to Him or will I allow the misery of our times to consume me?

My angry, depressed, and most bewildered heart…?

Pierce my heart for your sake oh Lord…

https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen