Pieces // Amanda Cook

Since becoming a mom, I am so behind the times when it comes to music. I pretty much listen to Raffi, Disney and talk radio (I don’t hate it). Every once in a while, I’ll catch a gem that I missed out on. Josh introduced me to this song last night:


Powerful. Last night and today as I reflect on the lyrics, I realize how much I parcel out my love in pieces, afraid of what it would cost to give my love unreservedly in one whole gift. It’s risky to love without limits. It makes you vulnerable before everyone. I realize how, in my own brokeneness, I feel unworthy to receive such a complete, unearned love…but that God gives it anyway, patiently waiting as I learn to receive more and more of him. I know in my heart that this is the kind of love I want to give to my husband and my children, but I’ll never be able to do so perfectly in this life time. And loving my enemies or people who annoy or inconvenience me with such a brave love? How do I even begin? I thank God that his love is that big, that complete, that perfect…because where I inevitably fall short, he will make up for it tenfold. I can ask Him to help me grow in both giving and receiving this wild, selfless, radical love and to not be afraid.

For love to be real, it must cost; it must hurt; it must empty us of self. – Saint Teresa of Kolkata


Healing for Boston.

Yesterday people of all faiths came together to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to pray, to reflect. Last time I was in the Cathedral was to witness the beautiful beginning of a vocational journey for the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth. And I thought the Cathedral was full then! Yesterday, when I tuned in to the live stream, I was touched to see so many people coming together in the house of our Lord…putting aside their differences, their politics and together seeking healing. The place was overflowing.

I was moved by President Obama’s speech and I want to share it with you. Especially today in the wake of more death; we need to hold onto hope, to love. Let us pray for Boston, for family and friends, for victims, for police…and yes, for the bombers. It may be hard to remember in the midst of this pain and anger…but they are real people, with real hearts and souls. Just like me…just like you…they need Jesus’ Divine Mercy.

We know that they will feel the full weight of justice, but I pray they also feel the full embrace of our Lord’s mercy.

Throughout the day I will be praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for Boston and all those involved in this tragedy. If you feel called to do so, I invite you to join in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Here are the prayers if you’re not familiar with the prayer.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Mother Olga at the Cathedral, consoling those impacted in Boston.


Yesterday afternoon my mom forwarded me a link that gave some initial information about the bomb explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

I didn’t really know what to do or think.

Next thing I know I ‘m getting texts from Josh, and remembering that we know people that run in the race.

I know people who go to watch the runners cross the finish line.

I know people who volunteer in the medical tents.

I’ve watched the marathon.

I know these people.

But still, I didn’t know what to do or feel.

I didn’t look at video footage online. I didn’t search for pictures. I instant messaged with my friends in the city on gmail, and asked questions. But I felt numb mostly.

And I tried to feel sad for feeling numb, but my emotions were just turned off.

And I went home, and talked to Josh and I could hear the sadness in his voice. And I told him about how I couldn’t feel anything. Then our President came on TV and Josh hung up to listen to him. I turned on NPR on the radio in our hallway, and sat down by it to listen.

And then I cried. Boston is my city. These are my people. Those sidewalks, the ones spattered with blood, are the same sidewalks that I frequently ventured upon. Patriot’s Day is a holiday I celebrated, to remember the beginnings of our great nation and have an excuse to drink a mimosa at 9am while watching the elite runners.  The energy, the passion that the marathon brings….people from all over the world…this celebration of greatness, athleticism, history, culture…is marred with the blood of our people.

I was horrified to know that family’s of the Sandyhook victims were invited as special guests to the Boston Marathon finish line. 26 people died in Newtown, and so there was a special significance to remember them at the 26 mile marker.

Sadness swept over me for our President. For how many tragedies will he face the cameras and address our nation – to bring bitter news. My heart hurts for him, for the burdens he carries.

My thoughts turned to Mother Olga, our beloved nun from Iraq. How many wars and bloodshed she saw when growing up…and now here, too, in America. More blood. More hatred.

But instead of responding with despair, Mother and the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth held vigil. And Mother shared these words:

“We really need a lot of grace to be able to overcome the darkness of hatred,” said Mother Olga. “We just celebrated the power of the Resurrection. We know that there is no sin too big for the cross — we’ve been redeemed by his blood; we’ve been covered by his mercy, and we have to remember that we have to turn to the power of Resurrection.”

She added,  “[The only way] we can overcome such evil, such darkness, is by turning to the light of the Resurrection.” [Justin Bell, NCR)

We’re with you Boston, and all the people from across the globe who came to your streets to celebrate, to cheer. In the darkness remember that there is no greater light than that of our Lord’s Resurrection. Even when it seems like darkness is winning… Jesus has won the victory. He has overcome sin. There is nothing that can keep us from His love. We must place our trust, our hope in this. As Pope Francis said in his first homily as Bishop of Rome:

” Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ.”