the soul humbles herself…

“Our perfection does not consist of doing extraordinary things,
but to do the ordinary well.”

St. Gabriel Possenti


(Julie Cook / 2020)


(Julie Cook / 2020)


(Julie Cook / 2020)*

“No human motive should lead us to pray:
neither routine, nor the habit of doing as others do, nor a thirst for spiritual consolations.
No, we should go to prayer to render homage to God.
It is not, however, a common-place visit of propriety,
nor a conversation without any precise object;
we want to obtain from Him some definite spiritual good,
such or such progress in the uprooting of some vice, in the acquisition of some virtue.
We have, therefore, a purpose upon which we are bent, and all our considerations,
affections, petitions, and resolutions should combine for its attainment.
God is there, surrounding us and penetrating us;
but we were not, perhaps, thinking of this.
We must, therefore, withdraw our powers from the things of the earth,
gather them together, and fix them upon God;
thus it is we place ourselves in His presence.
Naturally, we approach Him by saluting Him with a profound and humble act of adoration.
In presence of so much greatness and holiness,
the soul perceives herself to be little and miserable;
she humbles herself, purifies herself by an act of sorrow;
apologizes for daring to approach a being of so lofty a majesty.
Powerless to pray as she should, she represents her incapacity to God,
and begs the Holy Ghost to help her to pray well.”

Rev. Dom Vitalis Lehodey, p. 91
An Excerpt From
The Ways of Mental Prayer

(Fall’s wild persimmons hang and fall from the tree)

ask

“When one has nothing more to lose, the heart is inaccessible to fear.”
St. Théodore Guérin


(an odd place for a road sign / Julie Cook / 20202)

We were out walking a property line over the weekend, in the middle of the woods
in the middle of nowhere.

We found an old logging road so we headed down the clearing rather than creeping
our way through the thick bramble and new growth woods.

The logging road bordered an old-growth forest and a clear cut on the opposite side.
We walked down the road a bit further before being stopped abruptly by a deep flowing creek.
There was no bridge but we could see that the old road continued on the other side.

However, it was obvious there was no way to cross.
Not unless we opted to slip down a wet muddy slope while attempting to ford a deep flowing creek
then pull ourselves up on the other slippery slope—
needless to say, we opted to turn around…

And that’s when I saw it.

There in the middle of these woods, in the middle of nowhere, was a sign.
To be fair, there was a posted sign tacked to a tree,
but it was the road sign that had me most intrigued.

It was a beat-up old road sign propped up against a tree.
A curve in the road sign.
A skewed curve sign, but a curve sign none the less.
A warning to drivers that a curve was up ahead.

Yet here, deep in the woods, where there was no road per se, no curve, there was indeed a sign.

Obviously, for good or bad, there had been others here long before we showed up.

“In the spiritual life there are two great principles which should never be forgotten:
Without grace we can do nothing; with it we can do all things.
Sometimes it anticipates our desires; ordinarily, God waits till we ask for it.
This is a general law thus expressed by Our Lord: ‘Ask, and it shall be given to you.’
Prayer is, therefore, not only a precept, it is a necessity.
God places the treasure of His graces at our disposal, and its key is prayer.
You desire more faith, more hope, more love; ‘ask, and it shall be given to you.’
Your good resolutions remain sterile, resulting always in the same failures:
‘ask, and it shall be given to you’.
Precepts are numerous, virtue painful, temptation seductive, the enemy ruthless,
the will weak: ‘ask, and it shall be given to you.'”

Rev. Dom Vitalis Lehodey p. xv
An Excerpt From
The Ways of Mental Prayer

Prayer, penetrating to Heaven

“When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than the proceedings from the mouth.”
St. Bonaventure


(somewhere over the Pyrenees Mountains / Julie Cook / 2018)

“Prayer, considered as petition, consists entirely in expressing to God some desire in order
that He may hear it favorably; a real desire is, therefore, its primary and essential condition;
without this, we are merely moving the lips, going through a form of words which is not the expression
of our will; and thus our prayer is only an appearance without reality.
The way, then, to excite ourselves to pray, to put life and fervor into our prayer,
and to make of it a cry which, breaking forth from the depths of the soul, penetrates even to heaven,
is to conceive the real desire mentioned above, to excite it, to cherish it;
for the fervor of our prayer will be in proportion to the strength of the desire we have to be heard;
just as what we have but little at heart we ask for only in a half-hearted way,
if even we ask it at all; so what we desire with our whole soul we ask for with words of fire,
and plead for it before God with an eloquence that is very real.”

Rev. Dom Lehody, p. 4-5
An Excerpt From
The Ways of Mental Prayer