listening

“Listen with the ear of your heart.”
St. Benedict of Nursia


(a coyote listening for his prey / Cades Cove / Great Smokey Mt. National Park?
Julie Cook / 2015)

Be slow to anger, quick to learn, also slow to speak,
as St. James says, equally quick to listen.

St. Columban.J

resting place

We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting
place for those who love us.”

St. Bernard of Clairvaux


(Methodist Church/ Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mts National Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

“Since all our love for God is ultimately a response to His love for us,
we can never love Him in the same way He loves us,
namely, gratuitously.
Since we are fundamentally dependent on God and in His debt for our creation
and redemption, our love is always owed to Him, a duty, a response to His love.
But we can love our neighbor in the same way that He loves us,
gratuitously—not because of anything the neighbor has done for us
or because of anything that we owe him,
but simply because love has been freely given to us.
We thereby greatly please the Father.
God the Father tells Catherine [of Siena]:
This is why I have put you among your neighbors:
so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—-that is,
love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for
any profit for yourself.
And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.”

Ralph Martin, p. 261
An Excerpt From
Fulfillment of all Desire, p261

“these three Persons determine my life…”

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship,
and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

St. Basil the Great


(wild crabapples blossoms / Julie Cook / 2013)

“Now surely I do see what an immense effect such a doctrine
[of the Holy Trinity] must have upon life.
It is no mere question for theologians, but one that concerns every living soul.
Whatever is allowed by God’s power must be guided by His wisdom and
urged on by His love.
All that happens to me in life, the little worries and the great anxieties,
the crises and the daily annoyances, the sorrows and the joys,
the harms that reach me through the sins of others,
the great crimes of history, the huge and devastating wars,
the partings and loves and the whole cycle of human experience
are permitted by Power, which is itself wise and loving.
These three Persons determine my life, and, since I walk by faith,
I must surely grow very patient in my attitude toward life.
For how can I complain or criticize God’s Providence,
since it all comes under that triple influence of Power, Wisdom, and Love?
Under the guidance, then, of this mystery,
I can walk through the valley of death or the more perilous borders
of sin without loss of courage or hopefulness.
Nothing can make me afraid. How these are separate, yet one,
I do not know, nor can I reconcile in my concrete experience
the claims of each.
It is always a mystery, but a mystery in which I believe.
Whatever Power allows on earth is designed in Wisdom
and attuned by Love.”

Fr. Bede Jarrett, p. 10
An Excerpt From
Classic Catholic Meditations, p 10

cry of the soul

Suffering should be treated not as a twitch or a muscular contraction,
but as the cry of a soul, to whom another brother,
the doctor, runs with the ardent love of charity.

St. Giuseppe Moscati
from the book St. Giuseppe Moscati:
Doctor of the Poor by Antonio Tripodoro, SJ


(Gleann Cholm Cille, Co.Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

“There was much in the Magdalen that she had never used,
perhaps never dreamed of, until she came to our Lord.
He revealed to her the secret of true self-development,
which is another word for sanctity.
And she found under His guidance that everything in her had henceforth to be used,
and used in a fuller and richer way than she had ever imagined possible.
It was in no narrow school of self-limitation,
in no morbid school of false asceticism,
that this poor sinner was educated in the principles of sanctity,
but in the large and merciful school of Him who has been
ever since the hope of the hopeless,
the friend of publicans and sinners;
who knows full well that what men need is not to crush and kill their powers,
but to find their true use and to use them;
that holiness is not the emptying of life,
but the filling; that despair has wrapped its dark cloud
around many a soul because it found itself in possession of powers
that it abused and could not destroy and did not know how to use.
Christ taught them the great and inspiriting doctrine
‘I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.’”

Fr. Basil W. Maturin, p. 40

what remains eternal

“One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life;
but one should say that it is not easy.
Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain.”

St. Antony Of The Desert


(Klyemore Abbey /Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Beauty and every charm of this life passes….
The only thing that remains eternal is love,
the cause of every good work, which outlives us,
which is our hope and our religion, because God is love.

St. Giuseppe Moscati
from the book St. Giuseppe Moscati:
Doctor of the Poor by Antonio Tripodoro, SJ

living in the world…

Where we see sin, God sees pain;
and He wishes to heal us, refresh us, and free us.

Fr. Éamonn Bourke
from his book Make Your Home in Me: Reflections on Prayer


(quince blossom / 2017 /Julie Cook)

“I discovered later, and I’m still discovering right up to this moment,
that is it only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.
By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties,
problems, successes and failures.
In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God,
taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world.
That, I think, is faith.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

believe in order to understand

“I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe,
but rather, I believe in order that I may understand.”

St. Anselm of Canterbury


(Stained glass of Saint Anselm in Chester Cathedral cloister | photo by Mum’s taxi)

“I was striving unto God but
collided with myself. I was seeking rest in my inner recesses but
found tribulation and grief in my inmost being.”

Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion

“Lord, give me what you have made me want;
I praise and thank you for the desire that you have inspired;
perfect what you have begun, and grant me what you have made me long for.”

Anselm of Canterbury

pondering…proposes, invites, counsel and freewill

“And above all, be on your guard not to want to get anything done by force,
because God has given free will to everyone and wants to force no one,
but only proposes, invites and counsels.”

St. Angela Merici


(Julie Cook / 2022)

On a snowy Sunday afternoon…way down here in the deep South—
a day full of anomalies…meaning….
that the two notions of a deep South and a snowy day are not usually
found within the same sentence, it seemed to be a perfect day for pondering.

Pondering.

Merriam Webster tells us that the definition of the word ponder is:
to weigh in the mind or to think about or reflect on…

And so, on this stay inside sort of day, this day of a deep South’s
day of ice and snow, pondering simply seemed to be a perfect pairing.

To weigh, to think, to reflect…

I found the following quotes, both above and below, to be so full
of thoughtfulness..so full of deep reverberations…
so full of infinite truths…
all of which each echo within the walls of any longing soul…
so much so that each quote has caught my breath.

words spoken…

Words which speak of purpose…
words which speak of freewill…
words which speak of accepting actions…
words which speak of burdens…
words which speak of conscience…
words which speak of opportunity,
words which speak of forgiveness…

All three quotes give us much to contemplate, examine and reflect upon…
all during these dark days of winter…

Tis the season to ruminate…to ingest and to ponder…

“We have difficulty understanding this,
just as a blind man has difficulty understanding color,
but our difficulty doesn’t alter this fact:
God’s omnipotence and omniscience respects our freedom.
In the core of our being we remain free to accept or
reject God’s action in our lives—-
and to accept or reject it more or less intensely.
God wants us to accept him with all our ‘heart, soul, mind, and strength’—-
in other words, as intensely as possible.
But he also knows that we are burdened with selfishness and beset by the devil,
so it will take a great effort on our part to correspond to his grace.
Every time our conscience nudges us to refrain from
sharing or tolerating that little bit of gossip, every time we feel a tug
in our hearts to say a prayer or give a little more effort,
every time we detect an opportunity to do a hidden act
of kindness to someone in need,
we are faced with an opportunity to please the Lord
by putting our faith in his will.”

Fr. John Bartunek,

The more I wanted to pray for my father and could not,
the more I realized how much my hatred of him had harmed me
instead of harming him.
I can’t remember where I heard this saying,
but it came back to me then:
Refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and hoping that
the other person will die.

Derya Little
from her book From Islam to Christ

grace not lost

“He took what is mine in order that He might impart to me what is His.
He took it not to overturn it but to fill it.”

St. Ambrose


(Cades Cove, TN / Julie Cook / 2015)

We must animate ourselves by the thought that God is always with us,
that he only allows this trial for our greater good,
and that we have not necessarily lost his grace because
we have lost the taste and feelings of it.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

your heart…house of traffic or house of God

Our technological society has no longer any place in it for wisdom
that seeks truth for its own sake, that seeks the fullness of being,
that seeks to rest in an intuition of the very ground of all being.
Without wisdom, the apparent opposition of action and contemplation,
of work and rest, of involvement and detachment,
can never be resolved.

Thomas Merton


(Spaghetti junction / Atlanta / Julie Cook / 2021)

Your heart.

Not the physical beating muscle within your chest that pumps life
sustaining blood racing throughout your body…
but rather I speak of the heart, the place where both your soul and
inner “being” each reside…

Is that heart, that place within your soul,
is that personal and private inner space a place of madness and confusion…
a place of never ending infuriating traffic?

Meaning… is your heart reeling, congested, frustrated, overwhelmed
and rife with rage?

or in contrast…is it…

a house of and for the omnipotent God…
that hallowed dwelling place of the Holy of Holies?
Is that very sacred place and space, is it a place where
the Great I Am can reside?
A place of interior silence, severe reverence and a place of
deafening peace?

I wonder.

And thus I must ask…are we, meaning both you and me…
are we oddly and surreally more content with the confusion, noise, madness
and chaos…the frenetic swill of uncertainty…
Are we actually afraid of finding that long awaited
overwhelming silence…are we afraid to find that astounding reverence
and that most deafening Peace?

Should we not actually be willing, or rather pleading, to quiet the rage within,
detach from this world and recollect our true home?

“Man will not consent to drive away the money-changers from
the temple of his soul until he realizes that it is a Holy of Holies—-
not a house of traffic, but in very truth the house of God.
We thus reach two striking conclusions:
There cannot be entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance,
which is the true meaning of living in Christ, without complete self-renunciation.
There cannot be complete self-renunciation without the constant
underlying spirit of faith, without the habit of interior silence,
a silence where God is dwelling.
Many do not see the connection between thoughts about the King
and the service of the King; between the interior silence…
and the continual detachment…
If we look closer, it will be seen that there is a strong, close,
unbreakable link between the two.
Find a recollected person, and he will be detached;
seek one who is detached, and he will be recollected.
To have found one is to have discovered the other…
Anyone who tries, on a given day, to practice either recollection
or detachment cannot ignore the fact that he is doing a double stroke of work.”

Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 39-40