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

Party like it’s….

I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin’, could’ve sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple, there were people runnin’ everywhere
Tryin’ to run from the destruction, you know I didn’t even care
Say say two thousand zero zero party over, oops, out of time
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine

Lyrics to the song 1999 by Prince

DSCN0568
(a retired copper pot (still) on the grounds of the Jameson Distillery, Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, Julie Cook / 2015)

You know the song…
That turn of the century, energy popping, everyone up on their feet, dancing fever crazy song that we shouted out with reckless abandon on New Year’s Eve 1999…

You know how us humans get on the eve on any sort of major potential earth altering event….
What with the turning of the century, and even better yet, the turn of the millennium…
Some of us were carrying the plackets “Repent the End is near”
while others of us were, well, throwing caution to the wind and partying hardy…
like it was 999, 1999…
you get the picture.

With the mindset having been that if this is indeed the proverbial “it,” as in the end of life as we know it, we might as well let out all the stoppers, no hold’s barred and live, literally, like there’s no tomorrow….

Well, guess what…?
Tomorrow came.
We actually survived the turn of the century, the turn of the millennium and even Y2K…
Yet some of us are still carrying on like it’s still 1999…

Our culture seems to be obsessed with the mindset of living and living large in the moment.
As each and every minute we spend waking should be pleasure absorbing—and if it’s not, life is simply less than.

Get, gather, have, possess, and enjoy.

Acquire as many goodies and toys as possible.
Live the good life.
Materialism.
Extravagance.
Glamorous
Rubbing elbows
The who’s who….

Live on the edge, throw your head back, smile, laugh, eat, drink and be merry… and let loose.

Cause this here life is one big party and if you ain’t enjoying and having fun,
then you ani’t living….
…and if you’re not living large, then you’ve got problems…

Or that’s what the world of entertainment and the big marketers of all those goodies would have us believe.

And there are even those of faith who would add to all of that by reminding us that our days are indeed numbered. Because hadn’t God not said that we have been promised but the one day we open our eyes…and even the full day isn’t a guarantee…
So yes, live life to the fullest because you are not promised tomorrow…

Yet that, living life so large that we block everything else out, was never the intent…
despite what the world would have any of us to believe.

Life is not one big party—and I know many of you don’t want to hear that.
“Debbie downer” is such a current quip slapped on anyone attempting to rain on the parade of all things grand.

And Christians get a bum wrap as the deadbeats of any party.
Throughout history those glum and dire faces that seem to exude nothing but sacrifice, denial and misery have not done much to further the faith as it were.
The world standing on one side all festive and shiny, while Christians stand on the other looking all stiff in their hair shirts are viewed as terribly uninviting…

No wonder so many observers are flummoxed over the whole opposing polar opposites of the world vs Christianity.
Who doesn’t want to be happy and have fun?
And who wants to put on a less than fashionable hair shirt…?

But there’s more to it than all of that surface business.
It goes much much deeper.

For you see, this whole world, with all it’s fancy smancy trappings, is but an illusion–
an illusion of both space and time…and the master of this realm works very hard to make you
feel quite at home and “comfortable”…in the illusion.
This world as we know it, is passing all away before our very eyes.
However most of us have been deluded into thinking otherwise…

Yet at the mere mention of such there are those of you who bristle.
You’re in charge of your own thinking, your own observations, and you will think what you choose.
Who wants to hear mumbo jumbo of the what ifs, the stifling Christian dribble…
for you see nothing of merit to the words I speak…

Yet there is something much more serious at the root of all of this…
There are underlying reasons to your unabashedly intense drive and desire for all that glitters..

There’s that disturbing little matter of one’s soul.
The what happens when this little party is indeed finally all over worry…the thing you never want to spend much time fretting over…
It’s the “what then” that is often the missing piece to the puzzle….

Do you really think that when it’s all over, when your life is over, that you just simply cease to be?
That the dearly departed just fall into the abyss of some black hole—the void of pure nothingness?
Is that what bothers you?
As in there is no more and that’s that?
Is it those nagging questions that you prefer not thinking about, is that what this living fast and furious is all about?

Or perhaps you think that it’s ok because you rationalized that if you’re good, you haven’t killed any one, you haven’t really been all “that” bad, as you’ve just wanted to live happy and have certainly done such,
so you think that that’s all ok with God as He’ll obviously let all the good people go to heaven….

What then of Jesus…?
What of His words…“if you love me…”
What of that….?
That nagging question?
There was also a “you will keep my commandments” which followed….
As in “do as I have commanded you.”
“If you love me”

Just like when he said…
“I am going now, leaving you here. But don’t worry, I’m sending a helper.
The Holy Spirit.
He will help guide you.
Don’t fret, I’ve given you what you need…and now it’s your turn…
You’ve got to go forth and share my words…my commands…all to a hurting world.
It won’t be easy.
You will be ridiculed.
You will be beaten.
You will be isolated
You will be thrown out.
You will be separated…
You won’t be believed.
You won’t be welcomed.
You will meet obstacles.
You will face perils.
It won’t be easy…

Yet rich will be your reward…

As in the reward which will follow after this party hardy world is finally quiet and all said and done…

Rich, welcoming, loving, inviting, arms open wide, fall into this love, sort of reward…

So yeah…
When the party is over in this short lived realm, the next party is going to pretty unbelievable and certainly out of this world…
The question…
Will you be invited?
and should you care if you aren’t….?

There is indeed so much more…

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
Revelation 22:12

Practicing the presence of God

“I must first have the sense of God’s possession of me
before I can have the sense of His presence with me.”

Watchman Nee

DSCN0335
(remains of St Kevin’s Monastery, Glendalough National Park, County Wicklow, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

A.W. Tozer tells us that to the convinced Christian, “the practice of the presence of God” consists not of projecting an imaginary object from within his own mind and then seeking to realize its presence; it is rather to recognize the real presence of the One whom all sound theology declare to be already there, an objective entity, existing apart from any apprehension of Him on the part of His creatures.
The resultant experience is not visionary but real.

The world would have us all believe otherwise…

It is however our faith, our belief, our experience, our relationship that teaches us, tells us, assures us that His presence is indeed real…without doubt….
yet…we are left with a nagging…
what then…?

The question begs….
What then are we do with and in this realness that is a distinct part of our God?
What of the intimacy of the relationship?
The going deeper?
The nurturing?
The growth?
The sharing?

Is merely accepting, believing and moving forward enough?
Is that all there is or all there should be…
to believe in, pray to, to worship…
the Great I AM, Elohim, YHVH, Jehovah, Yahweh..
The name that truly, we the created, are not worthy, not equal to, not “friends” with…to utter.

To approach with reverence and awe
To be silent and still
To empty ourselves of everything…
of the distractions
the preoccupations
the materialism
the worry
the fear
the fretting
the lamenting
the sorrowfulness

To become wholly empty…
making a space within a space that is open and vast
Hungry and yearning
Desiring, wanting, needing…
Needing so desperately that it hurts…
Just as a wound would cause pain…then ache…so does the empty heart…

Oh to be filled with the only thing that can soothe, refresh, renew and heal
The One who yearns to fill that space
Yet will not reveal Himself, unless we come before Him, in total submisson.
No bravado, no ego, no toughness, no holier than thou, no anger, no resentment,
no bitterness, no pride, no self….
Only humble emptiness…longing to be filled by the One who longs for communion
with the created….


And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6