“The Lord promised that He would dwell in a cloud.” ~ 2 Chronicles 6:1
Symbol of star or lily of the snows,
rainbow or root or vine or fruit-filled tree:
these image the immaculate to me
less than a little cloud, a little light cloud rising
from Orient waters cleft by prophecy.
And as the Virgin in a most surprising
maternity bore God in the mysteries of grace
beseech her: Cloud, encompass God and me.
Nothing defiled can touch the cloud of Mary.
God as a child willed to be safe in her,
and the Divine Indweller sets His throne
deep in a cloud in me, His sanctuary.
I pray, O wrap me, Cloud, . . . light Cloud of Carmel
within whose purity my vows were sown
to lift their secrecies to God alone.
Say to my soul, the timorous and small
house of a Presence that it cannot see
and frightened acre of a Deity,
say in the fullness of your clemency:
I have enclosed you all.
You are in whiteness of a lighted lamb wool;
you are in softness of a summer wind lull.
O hut of God, deepen your faith anew.
Enfolded in this motherhood of mine,
all that is beautiful and all divine
is safe in you.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
I recently got back from a wonderful trip to Scotland. My daughter and I visited the beautiful and magical city of Edinburgh and later on we took a full day tour to visit the Scottish Highlands—It was such a wonderful experience to be surrounded by majestic mountains and valleys, visiting small Victorian little towns, cruising the dark and deep waters of Loch Ness with breathtaking views followed by a visit to Urquhart Castle. And feeding the Highlands Cows—Unforgettable! What an amazing day we had!
I’m feeling very humble and blessed by the extraordinary experiences we had with my daughter during our visit to Scotland. So thankful to our Beloved Lord for blessing us with this amazing opportunity to travel together and treasure those moments for a lifetime.
Here I share a few of the photos I took during our visit to this beautiful land of many treasures. . .
For a Lover of Nature
Your valley trails its beauty through your poems, the kindly woods, the wide majestic river. Earth is your god—or goddess, you declare, mindful of what good time must one day give her of all you have. Water and rocks and trees hold primal words born out of Genesis.
But Love is older than these.
You lay your hand upon the permanence of green-embroidered land and miss the truth that you are trusting your immortal spirit to earth’s sad inexperience and youth. Centuries made this soil; this rock was lifted out of aeons; time could never trace a path to water’s birth or air’s inception, and so, you say, these be your godly grace. Earth was swept into being with the light— dear earth, you argue, who will soon be winning your flesh and bones by a most ancient right.
But Love had no beginning.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
On my way to Heaven, Where I shall see you, Your beloved image accompanies me on my earthly journey to be my Perpetual Help. You know how your sweet image captivates my soul, Near you I breath the fragrance of love, And find my peace in your gaze. Your maternal smile shone above me, When I was good, When I erred, sad was your gaze upon me. My childish prayer you welcomed with caresses and maternal love, I look upon you and weep no longer, For I anticipate my Heaven. My Mother, support me in the terrors of my battle for God on earth, To bring to Him my prisoners of war, A thousand souls for His love. Image of Mary, be always for me A rich honeycomb of love, To sweeten the bitterness of death;
My eyes to ever draw from you my consolation. From this earth to you I go Throwing myself into your arms, To rest forever in your sweet embrace, which none will ever take from me.
~ A poem by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, O.C.D.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, ora pro nobis!
The Church of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri stands out among the many churches in Rome…not for its’ external beauty but for what it contains: The original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
About the Image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help:
The original painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is, perhaps, the most widely-recognized icon in the world.
The image was, for some time, kept in Saint Matthew’s Church in Rome. Then in 1798, the church was destroyed by Napoleon’s forces. In January 1855, the Redemptorist Order purchased a villa located here for their headquarters. They were unaware of the fact that the land they had purchased was actually the location of the church and monastery of Saint Matthew–the place which the Virgin Mary had specified for the image to be placed in an earlier vision.
The Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour) hangs above the main altar.
It is not very large, about 16 x 20″. But it is of great significance to many Catholics who have sought the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To stand in front of the icon–quite often un-disturbed by other visitors– is a wonderful experience.
*This information has been taken from The Catholic Travel Guide.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs — Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Go, roads, to the four quarters of our quiet distance, While you, full moon, wise queen, Begin your evening journey to the hills of heaven, And travel no less stately in the summer sky Than Mary, going to the house of Zachary.
The woods are silent with the sleep of doves, The valleys with the sleep of streams, And all our barns are happy with peace of cattle gone to rest. Still wakeful, in the fields, the shocks of wheat Preach and say prayers: You sheaves, make all your evensongs as sweet as ours, Whose summer world, all ready for the granary and barn, Seems to have seen, this day, Into the secret of the Lord’s Nativity.
Now at the fall of night, you shocks, Still bend your heads like kind and humble kings The way you did this golden morning when you saw God’s Mother passing, While all our windows fill and sweeten With the mild vespers of the hay and barley.
You moon and rising stars, pour on our barns and houses Your gentle benedictions. Remind us how our Mother, with far subtler and more holy influence, Blesses our rooves and eaves, Our shutters, lattices and sills, Our doors, and floors, and stairs, and rooms, and bedrooms, Smiling by night upon her sleeping children: O gentle Mary! Our lovely Mother in heaven!
~ A poem by Thomas Merton
Happy & Blessed Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary!