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”.


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.”


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

The hour grows late…yet…

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

St. Teresa of Avila

(summer is dried and faded in Autumn’s waning light / Cades Cove, TN / The Great Smokey Mountains National Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

As the sun hangs low along the horizon,
While we mourn both November’s fading light
and Summer’s long spent blooms…
Our remaining hopes and joys are left to slowly shrivel and decay…

The drum beat sounds in the distance,
as wars continue to rage.
While the politicians haggle and leaders finagle
With the truth getting lost in the fray.

Justification and inclusiveness for all is hoisted high above our heads,
as human sin is simply no more as everything is now wrongly so right…
All the while the revelers cry…”Come one, come all to the party,
for everything is accepted tonight…”

With each tragic news story,
While the masses grow numb to the tales,
There are those who are left wondering…
Has the Devil finally had his due…

With everyone preparing for the season of shopping,
The catharsis for Misery’s woes,
No one seems to take notice…
There’s a small reminder hanging hopeful in the changing cooling air

Ancient words rumble across the seemingly silent ages
Forgotten to all but just a few
With warnings signs and omens now colliding each as one…

Yet a King sits waiting and watching
Securely on his throne…
While Hope and Grace ready themselves
for the battle is soon in sight

The wait will soon be over
as the demons will take their leave
Good and Right will rule the night
as Grace and Glory triumphantly save those hopeful souls.

The tale of the passion of the tiny old woman

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
Albert Einstein

(crystal stoppers, Julie Cook / 2014)

Passion and indifference–two polar opposite emotions, stances, choices, feelings. . .the excess of or the lack of an internal drive.

Both can be quite dangerous.

One can bring about something positive or something quite negative, depending on the drive and focus. The latter can also bring about change—but often sadly so. . .
Both can be quite frustrating—for both the owner of and the recipient of.

Yet, Big things come in small packages.

There once was a tiny young girl named Agnes who prayed very hard that she may grow up to one day do big things for the very big God of her heart.
The God of all gods answered the tiny girl’s prayer.
He told her what she was to do.
She got busy.
This was her passion.

Time passed.

The tiny girl grew up becoming a tiny woman. She worked hard doing the big things for the big God of her heart.
Frustrated her work just didn’t seem to be enough she decided she needed to do more. Her passion was so great that she imagined her work must be greater— as the need of those she worked to help was greatest.
She wanted to do more.
Bigger things for the big God of her heart.
So she prayed really hard once again, asking to do more things, really big things for this very big God of her heart.
He spoke again.
She got busy.

Time passed.

The tiny woman grew to be a tiny old woman.
She had spent her entire life doing big things for the big God of her heart.
She was so busy, she never thought of herself. There was simply no time for self.
She never asked anyone to do anything that she had not already done herself.
There were just so many who needed so much that she had to work so very hard. So very many people were in such great need that it was almost over whelming. The tiny old woman worked non stop as she knew that this was what she had prayed for and that the big God of her heart had answered her prayer.

Sadly however, to the tiny old woman, the very big God of her heart had now remained silent for such a very long time. She had not heard from Him since her last really big prayer. But it didn’t matter, she still had big things to do for the big God of her heart.
She thought that if she was not doing the right things then He would certainly say something. Obviously His silence was an indication of her doing the right things.

Time passed.

The tiny old woman now grew to be a tiny frail sickly old woman.
She continued working, doing the big things she had asked to be able to do, but inwardly she worried.
Why was the big God of her heart so silent for so long?
No matter.
There was still so very much to do.

And so the story went—until one day the tiny frail old woman closed her eyes for the final time.

She had lived a very long life doing those big things for the big God of her heart.
She had worries of the heart but never allowed them to distract her focus of the big things for the big God of her heart. She had doubts and questions but no one but the tiny old woman knew of these doubts and worries—no one but herself and the big God of her heart.

There was never the concern for self. Never vying for a stance of “I’m right, you’re wrong”. No vacations, no shopping sprees, no finding of one’s self. No indifference. Instead there was simply the passion of the big work for the big God of one’s heart.

When the tiny young girl named Agnes was 18 years old, she changed her name. She had entered the religious order of the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland. As a young girl she had greatly admired the young saint known as the little flower–Thérèse de Lisieux. Agnes also admired the spanish mystic nun St Teresa of Avila.

Both of these women were considered to be giants of the Church. Each had worked to do big things for the big God of their hearts. One did so quietly, the other was much more bold. Young Agnes simply wanted to do the same–daring to do big and perhaps bold things. Not because she wanted fame. Not because she wanted the world to notice–though the world would eventually notice, she just wanted so much to do something important for the big God of her heart. Doing big things for the big God of her heart was simply the most important thing–there was no indifference–young Agnes was simply full of passion.

Time passed.

Pieces of the world are now better for all of the work of the tiny young Agnes who grew to be a giant of a tiny old woman. And it all came about simply because of a tiny young girl who had a big desire to do really big things for the very big God of her heart. So it matters not if you are big or small, rich or poor, highly educated or not—it only matters if you have passion, and if that passion is genuinely set upon doing the big things for the big God of your heart. There is really still so very much to be done, it’s all just a matter of passion.

(painting by Julie Cook)