1167. My job is to inform, not to convince. ~Saint Bernadette

Looking for God?
And haven’t found Him In a building
Or on an altar
Or in a religious rite
Or in a churchly ceremony
Or in the words/actions of Christians?

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“And the Holy Spirit descended in
a bodily shape like a dove upon Jesus,
and a voice came from heaven, which said,
“Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
~Luke 3:22  ✝

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So the answer lies in Jesus and what He taught
and how then, upon learning that, that people
choose to live out His teachings in their daily lives.
Of course there are always the proverbial “rotten apples”
found in any kind of “barrel,” but even though they
don’t  get it at all or get it right, they can’t spoil the Truth 
Sadly, however, there are those who pervert it
or by their wrong actions keep others from finding it.

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If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. ~1 Corinthians 13:1  ✝

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If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:2-3  ✝

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13: 4-7   ✝

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And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~1 Corinthians 13:13  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

1008. Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be. ~Unknown

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The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine;
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.

The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old;
They brought Him little new-born lambs–
They had not any gold.

The wise men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.

The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.

The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.

The angels sang through all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.
~Sara Teasdale

For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. ~Matthew 2:2  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

866. An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

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Questers of the truth, that’s who dogs are;
seekers after the invisible scent
of another being’s authentic core.
~Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

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We can judge the heart of a man
by his treatment of animals.
~Immanuel Kant

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Animals are such agreeable friends-
they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
~George Elliot

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All of the animals except for man know
that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.
~Samuel Butler

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The purity of a person’s heart
can be quickly measured
by how they regard animals.
~Author Unknown

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Love the animals: God has given them
the 
rudiments of thought and joy untroubled.
~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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I love cats because I enjoy my home;
and little by little they become its visible soul.
~Jean Cocteau

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Animals are not property or “things”
but rather living organisms, subjects of a life,
who are worthy of our compassion,
respect, friendship, and support.
~Marc Bekoff

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If all the beasts were gone, men would die
from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens
to the beasts also happens to the man.
All things are connected.
~Chief Seattle of the Suwamish Tribe

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Animals are God’s creatures.
He surrounds them with his providential care.
By their mere existence they bless Him
and give Him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.
~Catholic Church, Catechism

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Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us. Animals are so easily overlooked, their interests so easily brushed aside. Whenever we humans enter their world, from our farms to the local animal shelter to the African savanna, we enter as lords of the earth bearing strange powers of terror and mercy alike. ~Matthew Scully

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the sky, and they will tell you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hands is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind…” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

723. Bee to blossom, moth to flame; each to his passion; what’s in a name? ~Helen Hunt Jackson

I wanted to know the name
of every stone and flower
and insect and bird and beast.
I wanted to know 
where it got its color,
where it got its life…
~George Washington Carver

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The real name of this beauty is Tradescantia, but it’s commonly called Spiderwort, a name not my favorite for two reasons. First, I’m not a big fan of spiders and secondly as a kid I had lots of warts. And so to put those two irksome things together for such a colorful and interesting bloom seems to me to do it a terrible injustice. But then it’s real name is a tad hard to spell and to remember for that matter too. So what’s one to do? Though it got its color and its life from the Lord, it was mortal men who gave it such a dreadful name; perhaps now it is time for a change, and one day I shall just have to come up with a name of my own for this lovely, small, but fetching flower.

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Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear much fruit with seed in it, according to the various kinds.” And it was so…And God said, “Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” ~Genesis1:11 and Genesis 1:20  ✝

**The top photo is one I took in my yard yesterday; the others I found on Pinterest.

543. Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature. ~C.S. Lewis

Miracles, the sense of phenomena
we cannot explain,
surround us on every hand:
life itself is the miracle of miracles.
~George Bernard Shaw

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WHY! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
 water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds–or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down–or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring–yet each distinct, and in its place.
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the 
same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,
and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships,
with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
~Excerpts from Miracles
by Walt Whitman

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9   ✝

On November 9th, 2012, after two clots in my brain threatened my life, You, Lord Jesus, held me in Your precious hands and restored my health and wholeness. I praise and thank You, now and always.  Help me to stay under the mighty wings of Your grace and holiness!

390. And the fruits will outdo what the flowers have promised. -François Malherbe, French poet

The sun with all those planets
revolving around it and dependent on it,
can still ripen a bunch of grapes
as if it has nothing else in the universe to do.
~Galileo

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Yummy! Yummy! Yummy! What deliciousness can be found in a garden! The flowers that precede the fruits and vegetables, as Malherbe suggests, are definitely not impressive. Not only are they unimpressive but they are also smallish and challenge the ordinary camera lens’ ability to get a good focus on them. On the other hand, the mature fruits photograph quite well because they are more substantial and anything but ordinary. Like Galileo, I stand amazed at the process, but then I am perennially in awe of all that Creation does and is.

Recently in a National Geographic snippet that aired on the internet, the narrator remarked that present-day humanity is the recipient of a 400,000,000 year old legacy bequeathed by the earth. Imagine that! For 400 million years, the sun has risen and set, fruits have ripened, and the earth has turned issuing one season after the other. And all that the earth is and does for those who depend on it for life and sustenance is the loving gift of Him who created Heaven and Earth.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

258. If your heart is straight with God, then every creature will be to you a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine. ~Thomas à Kempis

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures
from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow man.
~St. Francis of Assisi

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Between the houses on our street and the ones on the street behind us run power lines which also function as a sort of “interyard” highway for our sizable squirrel population.  During the course of a day’s time the squirrels run back and forth and back and forth along the elevated “freeway” that exits on various nearby “farm to market” tree branch roads.  From there they scamper down to the ground below or up to their hand built “high rise condos” or take “fence-line” lanes into adjoining yards.  When not engaged in foraging for food or water they playfully chase each other round and round.  Their spunky antics whilst doing so are often engagingly comical, and the agility with which they perform daring acrobatics with no fail-safe never ceases to amaze me.

The fluffy-tailed creatures seem to have little fear of me, but they become alarmed if and when a feral cat begins to stalk them.  To date, though they’ve barely escaped being pounced upon a time or two, they’ve perceived the threat in time and avoided being captured by scampering up, up, and away into places too lofty for most cats to follow.  Afterwards the escapee sometimes stays on high making chicken-like noises, until I, the games keeper, chase the predator away, or the cat grows weary of the clucking and leaves of its own accord, or the squirrel’s attention is diverted to or by something else.

The earth, its resources, and its creatures are a part of a holy, good deposit.  And because I’ve always felt a closeness to and reverence for Creation, I try to be a good steward of my deposit–my home, my family, and my little patch of Eden.  To that end through the National Wildlife Federation, my yard has been established as a wildlife habitat– a sacred sanctuary for me and all who dwell in or come here to visit.

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.  2 Timothy 1:14  ✝