Does He aim at detaching a soul from earthly things and uniting her strongly to Himself? He will deluge her with light and love. Plunged in God, of whose presence and action she is delightfully conscious, inflamed with the holy ardors of unitive love, fascinated by the divine beauty and goodness and by the tenderness of a Lord so great and holy for His miserable creature, she becomes instantly silent and contemplates Him in a hush of admiration. She envelopes her Well-Beloved with a long, lingering look wherein jostle each other the emotions of astonishment, joy, and love, which hold her captive. She enjoys her God in a union full of peace and sweetness, like St John reposing on the bosom of His beloved Master. –Abbot Vital Lehodey

I like the use of the female pronoun in the above quote. Embracing manliness, masculinity to a brutish nature, the passivity necessary for the proper reception of God calls for a female receptivity, a complete penetrating of self. In the world, I am a strong man. Before God, I find it more appropriate to think of myself as a weak impoverished bride–a King marrying a wretched peasant child.


St Clare tribute

I do not mean to be extravagant, yet sometimes I have intuitive moments.   Today during mass, I felt a deep love from St Clare.  I attended mass away from the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  Today, I returned to their home to celebrate mass.  During mass, absorbed in the profound, I observed a large stain glass depicting St Clare warding off attacking Saracens with the Eucharist.  St Clare, a true contemplative, possesses a sacred and strong place in my heart. I pray to her to protect my spiritual partner.  I want to post an image in her honor.  I love this image.  St Clare pray for us.




Mary Hidden

Can I offer myself to God solely based upon pure intent, simple and humble in nature, seeking no accolades or self-glorification on the deepest level. Unworthy servant I am, do I truly understand who I am and who God is? Forsaking self-promotion, abandoning faith focused upon personal elevation, I touch upon truth. Praying in a hidden alcove, loyal to the Church, collapsed upon the shoulders of saints, reposed within ritual and tradition, adoring the cross, resurrection, and Eucharist, the nature of grace reveals herself. A loving Mother hovering tenderly above dispenses abundantly.

Mary lived in obscurity most of her life. Her humility was so great that she desired to hide, not only from all other creatures, but even from herself, so that only God should know her. She asked Him to conceal her, and to make her poor and humble. God delighted to hide her; in her conception, in her birth, in her mysteries, in her resurrection and assumption. St Louis de Montfort ‘True Devotion to Mary’

Mary’s unknowing: “How shall this happen, since I do not know man?” Luke 1:34

So often God performs his greatest work in silence. Mary is alone. As the Holy Spirit comes upon her, and the power of the Most High covers her with its shadow (Luke 1:35-36), she conceives the Holy One to be called Son of God. The whole world was to be affected by this event which God worked in seclusion and silence. So, too, does His grace work in one’s soul. Mary’s was a secret joy until God willed to reveal it to others.

Mother Mary, pray for us that we may always allow God’s grace to work silently in our soul

Mary Assumption

Mary Assumption

During mass, am I consumed with adoration, gratification for the miracle of the Eucharist? Am I participating fully, or am I focused upon others, perhaps imagining others admiring, reducing the most sacred of time down to worldly imperfection? Does my mind wander, unfocused, consumed by fantasy, imagination running wild? Am I intellectualizing, perceiving myself an authority of the Church, judging the piety of others, reasoning, delusional in thought, seeing myself as a Bible scholar. Am I consumed with myself or have I stilled my mind? There before me, willing to be consumed, is the Presence. Opening heart and mind, the left hand unaware of the right, I must offer my brokenness to Christ, concentrating upon who Christ is? Who are you Lord? Lord who are you? Please, I beg Lord, let Yourself be known to me? I am quiet, stilled, empty, constantly engaged in the process of transforming myself into a vessel worthy of filling. I hear the Gospel–the Good News. I ingest the Host. I verbalize responses? I have prepared myself for mass through proper conduct, maintaining sanctifying grace, devoted to contemplation, cleansing psychologically, I wait upon You, my Lord. Lord, authentically, I approach. I am willing to acknowledge ignorance in order to know You better my Lord. Allow me to understand who you are. Lord I want to know You, to accept You in your fullness. Fill me Lord–my heart, soul, body and mind are Yours. All I am is Yours.

Oh Great and Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity. Grace me with understanding and knowledge so that I may carry out Thy commandments. The simple prayer offered by Saint Francis of Assisi before the cross of San Damiano. Christ responded.


Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Two videos with different takes on hymnal words being sung. The first silence and the original rendition of Bach’s intention. The second proficiently and craftily demonstrating beauty through simple meaningless intoning.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.


Giving chase

Once again, I requested permission to use an Unlikely Wanderer photo. Here is the request.

I would like to ask permission to use Jirisan photo, giving credit and pointing to this post. You and Contemplative in the Mud are important to me. Actually only two other blogs I annoy. The idea motivating the photo request is the omnipresence of God, active yet subtle, allowing freedom while omnipotent. I felt your photo profoundly expressed matters. As well as another topic I plan to go more into depth on that being the appreciation of authentic beauty. To appreciate the beauty of creation is to glorify the creator. To move away from that, inflicting complexity, alterations in presentation, impressionism, are to impede into the area of becoming a creator–in truth placing accountability onto our backs. Your photo splendidly covers current topic, while foreshadowing a future. Thanks.

And reply: You are welcome to use the photo and thank you for your thoughts. I look forward to your forthcoming posts.

I have not put together the implied post. Following the blog, I was swept away by a recent composition, ‘A New Song’, causing me to move forward with this post. I dare to post the last two lines by an Unlikely Wanderer. They are beautifully profound. True beauty.

From where does this inward burning come, O Lord?
I give chase as though chasing a breath…

Here is the photo.  I believe all Unlikely Wanderer’s photos possess an intuitive perceptive eye seeing deeply into creation.  The circular white light of the sun, the singular tree seemingly arising in praise, I find amazing.



Holy Presence


If a statue which the sculptor had niched in the gallery of some great prince were endowed with understanding, and could reason and talk; and if it were asked: O fair statue, tell me now, why art thou in that niche?—It would answer,—Because my master placed me there. And if one should reply,—But why stayest thou there without doing anything?—Because, would it say, my master did not place me here to do anything, but simply that I should be here motionless. But if one should urge it further, saying: But, poor statue, what art thou the better for remaining there in that sort? Well! would it say, I am not here for my own interest and service, but to obey and accomplish the will of my master and maker; and this suffices me. And if one should yet insist thus: Tell me then, statue, I pray, not seeing thy master how dost thou find contentment in contenting him? No, verily, would it confess; I see him not, for I have not eyes for seeing, as I have not feet for walking; but I am too contented to know that my dear master sees me here, and takes pleasure in seeing me here. But if one should continue the dispute with the statue, and say unto it: But wouldst thou not at least wish to have power to move that thou mightest approach near thy maker, to afford him some better service? Doubtless it would answer, No, and would protest that it desired to do nothing but what its master wished. Is it possible then, would one say at last, that thou desirest nothing but to be an immovable statue there, within that hollow niche? Yes, truly, would that wise statue answer in conclusion; I desire to be nothing but a statue and ever in this niche, so long as my master pleases, contenting myself to be here, and thus, since such is the contentment of him whose I am, and by whom I am what I am.

O true God! how good a way it is of remaining in God’s presence to be, and to will to be, ever and forever, at his good-pleasure! For so, I consider, in all occurrences, yea, in our deepest sleep, we are still more deeply in the most holy presence of God.

–St Francis de Sales ‘Treatise on the Love of God’.


Pursuit Personified: Beauty Unsullied

St Joseph, father and guardian of virgins, to whose faithful keeping Christ Jesus, innocence itself, and Mary, virgin of virgins, were entrusted. I pray and beseech thee by that two-fold and most precious charge, Jesus and Mary to save me from all uncleanliness. Keep my mind untainted, my heart pure, and my body chaste. Help me always to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity.

Close in proximity to a chaste protectee of St Joseph, the responsibility of purity amasses toward awesomeness, an awareness of love individualized, God’s ways personified through a companion. I know who she is, where her heart reposes, the totality of her desired innocence. The vision is so sharp its acuteness is cutting. Profound accountability, possibilities demand a tender, intelligent touch, grave submission to the needs of establishing protectiveness. To guard, shelter, allowing tranquility within the holy for one incorruptibly defensive, one quartering an accretion of armory throughout years of distancing from pain, unable to encounter one capable of melting away inhibitions through sanctified love. Bountiful in spirituality, beauty, passion, intelligence, interest and intrigue, she moves about in her private world purely pristine, sheltering a home, calling with a silent heart. Brokenness amending, strengthening a rendering, I know not how to utilize my manhood in order to appease. Stumbling, bumbling, within the concretization of emotion realized on into the consecrated, my heart shudders. Through, with, and in, Jesus I ground myself upon unpolluted attraction, unadulterated captivation, focused, locked onto the eternal.

Recognizing difficulty, a chore of immense proportion, Greek mythological stories crop up in mind, fertilized through fascination. The state of innocence, beauty, virginity pursued within vested interest. Daphne fleeing. Actaeon, a stag a making.

Daphne, youthful beauty a splendor, innocent of vulgarity, physically free from desire, the God Apollo longs lustfully for encounter, transformation through physicality. Fearing the foe, Daphne flees, running and hiding from the mighty God of abundance. Clinging to virtue, purity, the state of negative metamorphosis, she refuses to acquiesce to that which will defile, rejecting surrender to the brutish nature of one stronger and wiser. Without love, without the profound, with the heart a moving into realms unperceived, a calling, a yearning on into depths unknown, a strong attraction obsessed, ignited, thorough the call of the Divine. Unknown, blissfully ignorant, Daphne comprehends negation as a path. She will not experience, memorize, attach through experience to that which detracts, that which untracks. Chastity sheltered, she calls out to her father, praying for protection. Altering states, metamorphoses, her conviction is answered. A tree she becomes, never knowing the lust of the beauty induced madness overcoming the god of Gods Apollo.

The other Greek beautifully charming rendition of the sanctity of loveliness unsullied, the difficulty of fulfilling the charismas of such a wholesome state is the ill-begotten termination of the hunter Actaeon. A proud hunter trained none the less by the wiles and ways of the centaur Chiron, the master of Achilles, Actaeon prowls the forest, solitarily hunting with only his powerful pack of dogs abreast. Exploring, he ventures into a cave of sweet smelling address. Astound by his finding, a bathing a plenty of sweet virgins tending to the needs of cleanliness demandingly requested by their sweet highness, the sister to Apollo, the goddess Artemis, the healer of young children, a virgin eternal , the easer of burdens afflicting women giving birth. Naked, radiating, purity astonishing, Artemis is witnessed by Actaeon, the bewildered hunter adoring the goddess of the hunt. The hunter becomes victim as the protection of Artemis’ immaculate status mandates redemption. A stag, a male deer, metamorphoses complete, Actaeon knows the being of a wild beast. Fear overwhelming, fear a natural state of creatures of the forest, the animal Actaeon flees from the cave, the well-spring of washing for the lovely goddess Artemis. Actaeon’s pack of dogs, being the beings they are, know only one thing. The hunt a way of life, the dogs take offensive, attacking, striking down their former master. Overwhelmed, rushing insanely into the forest, Actaeon is eaten by his own dogs. His intrusion upon beauty and innocence exposed his undoing.

Greek mythology, unpossessing the fullness of truth, entertaingly, intelligently, with charm and appeal, insightfully touches upon the mastery of life. The wonderful fullness of truth, lovingly reposed within the completeness of the body of Christ, the Catholic Church, presents the highest esteem for the sanctity of virginity, the beauty of the unsullied, through the most blessed of all women our sweet Virgin Mary, without whose fiat would never be known salvation. Pope Benedict XVI during the 2011 solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, praising the Angelus, defines the sacred status of the loveliest of all women and the sanctity of the fullness of truth existing within the Church.

We are also given the “fullness of grace” which we must make shine in our life, for, as St Paul writes: the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, … has blessed us … with every spiritual blessing … even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless …. to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:3-5). We receive this sonship through the Church on the day of Baptism. In this regard St Hildegarde of Bingen wrote: “The Church is, therefore, the virgin mother of all Christians. In the secret power of the Holy Spirit she conceives them and brings them to the light, offering them to God in such a way that they too might be called sons of God” (Scivias, visio III, 12: CCL Continuatio Mediævalis XLIII, 1978, 142). And, finally, among the many who have sung of the spiritual beauty of the Mother of God, St Bernard of Clairvaux stands out. He declares that the invocation “Hail, Mary full of grace” is “pleasing to God, to angels and to men. To men, thanks to her motherhood, to the angels, thanks to her virginity, to God, thanks to her humility” (Sermo XLVII, De Annuntiatione Dominica: SBO VI,1, Rome 1970, 266).

St Bernard of Clairvaux declares a soul’s ability to attain beauty through the imitation of the humility behaved by the Holiest of Mothers.

Let us see what is meant by the soul’s twofold beauty, for that is what seems to be intimated here. Humility is the soul’s loveliness. This is not my opinion merely, the Prophet has already said: “Sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed,” symbolizing in this lowly herb the humility that purifies the heart. He who was once both king and prophet trusts that this will wash him clean from his grave offence, and give him back the snowy brightness of his innocence. But though we are attracted by the humility of one who has gravely sinned, we may not admire it. If, however, a man retains an innocence now graced with humility, do you not think that his soul is endowed with loveliness? Mary never lost her holiness, yet she did not lack humility; and so the king desired her loveliness, because she joined humility to innocence. As she said: “He looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.” Happy then are those who keep their garments clean, who guard their simplicity and innocence, but on condition that they strive for the loveliness of humility. One so endowed will hear words like these: “Behold, how beautiful you are my dearest, O how beautiful.”