God’s Path in the World

The path to Anna Ruby Falls

The path to Anna Ruby Falls

    As three of us (Carrie, John Paul and I) walked up the trail to Anna Ruby Falls I could not help but think of my son Kevin.  Almost every time we are out in the woods he says,”God made nature, and I like it.”  Kevin, at the tender age of nine, recognizes God imprinted his law on us through natural law.  He “gets it” better than most of us much older folks.  I just wish the politicians would go back and read the Declaration of Independence, and learn the founders state all laws must conform to natural law (or nature’s God) to be just.

    Many people today, afraid to be labeled religious or tied to a group, call themselves “spiritual.”  They find their way on their own through the forrest of life.  If they are attentive to natural law, and heed it, they have great potential to make good choices in their moral lives.  The problem with just finding your “own way” though the forrest, is your experiences are very narrow.  So the chance for misinterpreting a sign is higher than if you had advice on reading the signs as you approach a rattlesnake habitat.  If you stumble and the snake strikes, no one will be there to hear your cry.  There is also nothing supernatural to sustain your body and soul in this earthly journey if you go it alone.

    In this photo I purposefully left the trail in the shot.  I did this because as I thought of Kevin’s statement, I was also thinking of the peace which comes from growing ever more into a Catholic life.  The trail stood out in my viewfinder.  With each glance I found a reminder of how God also gave us so much more than natural law.  He gave us a path of safety through the dangerous forrest of life, and a means to walk it.  All we need to do is use the path and his grace to avoid the greatest dangers of the forrest.

    I revel in the knowledge I do not have to be Solomon, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila or John Paul II to survive in the forrest.  I just have to turn to the collective wisdom imparted over almost 6,000 years through revelation and illumination of God’s laws to my church and the world!   Being the thinker I am, I fall more in love with the Catholic magisterium as each new lesson clicks into place like custom made Lego blocks in a slick design.  I know this magisterium is stronger than the efforts of fallible men who may try to twist it to their own political designs.

    Not only do we Catholics have the lessons, but we can receive supernatural graces pouring forth from sacraments.  God cleanses in baptism, restores with mercy in confession, nourishes at communion, sanctifies matrimony and holy orders, and comforts in anointing of the sick.  So not only do I get a path to follow, but a complete pit crew as well for my life journey using supernatural grace.  This allows God to be with me in every place, in my body, and in my most important earthly relationships.

    So God’s path through the forrest is the one I chose.  I pray after reflection, you may chose to investigate the strongest and safest path through the woods to heaven.

   

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Everything New is Really Old

Troll Tavern, Helen, Georgia June 2016

Troll Tavern, Helen, Georgia June 2016

    This weekend my wife and I had our first excursion weekend in four year…with only one child in tow.  One topic which we discussed in our adult discussion time was how nothing new is really new.  The reality is every “new” idea is really a permutation on an old idea.  Most “new” ideas are actually as old as the pyramid.  The difference is the new idea is written in English and using a computer instead of papyrus paper.  This photo is just an example of the what I mean. 

    Photographer Scott Bourne loved to preach that no one did anything new in photography (See our discussion was not even new, it was just new to us).  It was just someone found they liked a style they stumbled across and started claiming it was new for marketing.  Meanwhile the photographer was ignorant of the technique of style’s history in the photographic art world.  For instance I could say of the photo above: “I really like the deep contrasty colors I put in this photo, it will be my new style for an album!”  Someone like Scott or my friend Skip Cohen would then tell me…”Dude we called that style Velvia film and left it at that.”  

    So history is good for something no matter what you do for a living.  It will help you not be a fool in front of your elders, and prevent you from being pompous before your peers and youth.

-ehw

    

Open to Grace: Two Fruits of Classical Catholic Education

    Today our little Catholic Hybrid School will graduate our senior class.  Through family friendships and school events, I watched two of them grow into peaceful and God Fearing young adults.  These two also became my very first senior photo clients!  

    Neil is a quiet young man of deep thought (like some of my best high school friends).  He will go out west to college, and will begin the study of media production from a Catholic perspective at John Paul the Great Catholic University.  This is a great fit for him.  

    In our school I observed how he is a quiet, humble leader of the younger students.  Many boys looked to him, literally looked directly at him, before doing almost anything to observe the example he would set.  His example became their course of action.  He respectfully fulfilled his duties to the school and family very well.  His quiet leadership leaves a void for the school population, which will be noticeable until another boy fills his vacated role.

    Mikayla is a lovely young woman, of sincere virtue.  She lets God’s grace work through her life to help others.  She will enter studies at Aquinas College in Nashville this fall.  She will be more than a normal student though, as she continues her discernment of vocation with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, a teaching order of nuns.  

    Again a great fit for this woman’s character.  In our school, and with her family, she is a guidon for a prayerful life. You can see it when she enters a room.  Small children hold her hand, and admire her.  Her baby sister simply adores her.  She also walks with a grace beyond her years.  When she enters chapel with her matillia, she peacefully focuses herself and those around her on the mass and prayer.  She is no wallflower though.  She demands unimproved family campsites, and can rough it with the best of them.

   I hope I captured a bit of the reflected glory of God these two bring to the world.  I enjoyed watching as my children gravitated to them at school and band over the last two years.  I knew their example would be good ones, and not misguide my children on their own path to adulthood.  I continue to learn a great deal from their parents as well, since they are good examples of parenting in a stormy world.

    Mikayla and Neil:  May God’s grace continue to fall on you, and your souls never let your eyes wonder off the prize of heaven.  You’ve started the race for the prize well, and may the finish be even more virtuous in God’s eyes as you change the world for His Glory.  Amen!

-ehw

    

    

Motherhood and Personal Crosses

Loving our Desert Rose

Loving our Desert Rose

     The epitome of virtuous love is selfless giving of one’s whole self.  I cannot imagine any greater gift than selfless gifting love with a cross of pain on your back.  Christ did this for all of us to open the gates of heaven.  I am proud to say I know quite a few women (three very close to me) who fight through their own crosses and chronic pain and illness to be living pillars of virtuous love as mothers.  

Building a home in Indiana

Building a home in Indiana

    I’ve watched many go home exhausted from work with nerve pain causing a raging fire across the body with no know cure, asthma induced weariness, digestive problems,  hormone imbalances, diabetes, excruciating pregnancy illnesses, and emotional turmoil when children reject good moral choices of living. When I ask why they do it,  the same women tell me, “If I do not push through this pain my children do not get the home life they need in the world to be ready for it when I am gone.”  It is a common theme in each of these women.  This mission is indeed grafted on their souls for life.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

    I can imagine the temptation these women face when they see other moms bounce through life with the greatest of health and outgoing personalities.  Those people get held up as the great ones in our world.  To know these chronic sufferers will never be able take an “easy” walk with their children, awake without chronic pain, and will be looked down on by many because they supposedly just don’t have the “mental fortitude” to be “more” than they are.  These situations must produce feelings of envy, hopelessness and induce despair.  Yet these chronic suffers, who hold a deep sense of faith in God, turn these vice filled thoughts around and defeat those harmful thoughts time and time again. 

Making joy for Kellie Marie

Making joy for Kellie Marie

   These women are my inspiration.  They create homes with hearts of joy, and communities of charity through their hidden pains.  They take up the Cross of Christ, whether they acknowledge it or not, everyday.  They suffer the pain of pierced hearts like Mary in silence, and turn the pain into graceful living.  These two examples turn other hearts towards God by creating homes and families which match their hearts of sacrifice.

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

    For these women I pray for God’s mercy to shower on them forever.  Today I hope you too join me in this noble cause.