Saturday, February 13, 2016


Sorry for the gap between posts, but here is an update and a Reflection from Cricket:
Last year, we sold the house where Cricket's health was not optimal and moved to the North Ga Mtns where we border the Appalachian Trail; cell phones don't work and there are only basic electronics in the home. Her health is now excellent! This curtails our travels (wifi is everywhere as you know), but she is now giving small retreats joyfully on our large property!
Also, Jerry is now teaching Theology at the Marist School and loving every minute of this ministry!

Here is her reflection:
As I am recuperating from oral surgery, I am realizing a special awareness we are given to be drawn closer to Christ in all our circumstances. How often we are hurting, whether it is due to an injury that is physical, mental, or emotional, and we have the opportunity to let that suffering draw us more deeply into Christ, or more deeply into self absorption. Always we are given those very different ways of focusing our attention.
This morning, as I was experiencing the constant discomfort of my surgery, I thought about what Christ suffered. His, of course, to a much deeper degree, and yet I can say I know a little of it. And I can choose this experience of pain to be a time of intimacy and deeper appreciation of what Christ endured for love of us. I can choose, in my own suffering, to dwell on my pain and difficulty, or I can enter into who Christ truly is, and how perfectly he turned everything into an act of love.
Maybe that is what this is about, even more than physical reasons for my surgery. It is, more importantly, a gift for me to enter more deeply into Christ and the power of love that overcomes the destructive subtleties of self-focus.
            “Rejoice in all circumstances,” we are told, Philippians 4:4. Have we even begun to take these experiences in everyday life of pain and discomfort, and use them to come to a deeper awareness of Christ's love for us? Do we seek to know the depth of Christ's love which transcends all things, even evil itself, so that in and through our own trials we come out better, holier, and more Christ like because of what we went through?
Christ has extraordinary ways to help us, grace us, and fashion us into His image. May we use everything we go through with faith in His love, surrender to His will, and a steadfast focus on God instead of self.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Autumn 2014

Greetings from Cricket and Jerry!
We have trips to tell about but they have been amidst our selling our home of nearly 25 years in the Atlanta area! We are relocating and not yet sure where our base of operations will be; "taking nothing for the journey" is such a challenge! We will be announcing our new location(s) soon!

We were blessed to give a retreat to the prayer teams for the Archdiocese of Atlanta's Annual Eucharistic Congress this summer.
 Cricket has given a number of talks, highlighted by her Releasing Our Trials to God presentation for the Secular Franciscan fraternity in Chicago.
This was held at Mayslake Retreat center, which was the former Peabody mansion, and then a Franciscan Friary for many years.

We put together a combination of Cricket's book on this with some of Jerry's music and released it with an audio book read by Cricket. We intend to do more of this in years to come. Watch for announcements!

Jerry then flew to give a concert and help with the Memorial at the ARG in Black Mountain, NC. Meanwhile Cricket visited with our daughter Talia who sings professionally in the Chicago and NY areas.

Jerry gave a talk on Balance in a crazy busy world at St. Meinrad Archabbey and School of Theology this summer.

Jerry has also been completing his dissertation for a Doctorate in Ministry which involves best practices for teaching Catechetics. This project will be published and be included in a workshop we are developing for parish and Catholic school teachers!

God Bless you and yours, jerry and cricket

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easter 2014!

Spring is creeping in as a winter with plenty of muscle is moving out. We were blessed to serve St. Mark's parish in Clarkesville Ga with a Lenten Mission that had been requested after we provided a day of reflection for the parish council and staff during Advent. It was a wonderful time in the mountains of North Ga with great themes. Jerry played a responsorial and reflection song at the weekend masses, and Cricket spoke of each night's focus.

Sunday night began with a wonderful Lenten supper at the home of our hosts, Bill and Ann Cassano. What a joy they were to get to know. The stories and humor were even more 'over the top' when the Pastor, Fr. Jose Luis, came to spend Monday afternoon! One of the ministers told me that evening driving in the cold and rainy March weather was not preferred by many parishioners, but the turnout was twice what he expected. Cricket spoke on the application of God's Lenten and Easter graces in our daily lives on Sunday night. She followed on Monday evening with her wonderful "making the Mass more meaningful" talk that is often requested. Jerry brought music and did an interactive part during the talk on 'boundaries in the land of overwhelm'.
Tuesday night concluded the Mission with a parish Penance service after a short presentation on carrying our crosses with Christ.

Jerry plays hymns and church songs quietly on the classical guitar as people come back into the sanctuary after their confession, and it is a often a rare time of contemplation and prayer for people late into the evening. As is always the case, we were more blessed than anyone we served. Bless the Lord o my soul! And may this Easter be all God wants it to be for all of us!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring 2014!

Someone once said that "spring is life with the windows open": and after the winter most of us have experienced this year, it may be more welcome than ever! Such a day it was as we served St. Mary, Help of Christians Parish and the Secular Franciscan fraternity there for their Lenten Retreat again this year.

The theme requested had to do with "Discovering the Joy of the Cross", and doing so in the way St. Francis of Assisi did.

Here is a lesson Cricket felt was given to her in prayer after Mass when she asked a question we all ask at times: "How, Lord, can we learn to love what is painful and difficult for us? "   

Cricket felt this reply was given, and helped form the study she led the group through along with Scriptures, quotes from the Saints, and quiet time of reflection:
   Your daily offerings, your dying to self, your choices to follow My will in place of your own, all have the power of transformation within. Learn to love the transformation that takes place in your soul. Learn to love the depth and sincerity of love that makes your heart like Mine. Learn to love the gift that reaches out to those who cause your crosses --- because, not only is your own dying to self allowing you to be transformed, it also plants, waters, and nourishes  the seeds of new life in those who hurt you.
    How much I long to heal the broken, hurting, and hate-filled hearts. But know that your acts of selfless love, patient endurance, and joy-filled faith in Me, all make a difference in the soul that is far from My love.
    Learn to love Me for them. Learn to use your moments of dying to self for their resurrection.
    All will be well. I cannot but love and will for good. Trust Me with your crosses and teach others, too, to love them.
May God bless you and yours this Spring!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Year newsletter from Cricket!

“But the fruit of the Sprit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,

Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”   Gal.5:22-23

As we begin a new year with a focus on Evangelization, I offer some thoughts that came to me while I was praying in the sanctuary of our church today.

I was noticing the candle that remains lit above the tabernacle.  It is always lit, always reminding us that Christ is truly present – right there – in the consecrated hosts held within.  I was reflecting on how much we should be like that continuously – burning – candle always giving off the light of Christ’s love and patience, kindness, gentleness, peace and joy.

“Easier said than done,” you might be thinking, because we go through life having to face situations that are not always lovely, peaceful, joyful or kind.  But that is perhaps when evangelization is most powerful.   Whatever we are going through, Christ gives us reason – and equipping -- to still live by these words Paul used in describing “the fruit of the Spirit.”    

We are not loving, peaceful or joyful because our circumstances and relationships are such.  We are loving, peaceful and joyful because of who Christ is.  And the more we acknowledge Christ’s authority, power, and pure love   -----  the more we dwell on that, rejoice in that, and live our lives very present to Christ’s presence within us, the more effective we will be in our call to evangelization.  When people can see the “fruit of the Spirit” truly present in us, especially in times of adversity, they are awakened and renewed to the love Christ is asking us to show them.

 We will still feel sorrow at times.  We will still “weep with those who weep” and experience our own cause for weeping.  But an interior peace that passes understanding is possible and attainable.  Christ still ‘reigns in our hearts’ and for that we always have reason to rejoice! 

So, like the faithful who have gone before us as shining examples of evangelization, let others see in us that we, too:

Rejoice always, giving thanks in all circumstances.  (1 Thess. 5:16, 18)

              Rejoice as we forbear trials with kindness.  (Phil. 4:4-5)

              Rejoice even as we are sorrowful.  (2 Cor. 6:10)

When we rejoice, it puts our focus on what God is doing more than the ever-present doubts and fears of this world.  Rejoicing in Our Lord may, in fact, be one of our most effective means of evangelization.   And it may also be an effective way to keep our hearts aflame with Christ’s presence, like the candle above the tabernacle that I was reflecting upon today.

Blessing in Christ,

Cricket Aull, OFS


Monday, January 6, 2014

Epiphany 2014

This is the view from our the home of our good friend and Secular Franciscan Marie's window. It is the first snow of the season and Jerry is up here in the mountains writing and recording a new project. In 2014, Cricket will be writing some new material that will be accompanied by jerry's music. There are some other new things planned for this year which you will see on this site as the year progresses.
A group of prayer supporters for our ministry hosted a retreat in the home of Michelle Heekin, and here her son Christopher is giving jerry some pointers on the guitar. Even in his 'jammies', Christopher played that guitar for a good hour! The evening was mostly some beautiful teaching from Cricket on her book Penance. 

This is our newest grandchild (#8) Santiago. Jerry got the duty to watch him while our daughter and her husband listened to speaker Jeff Cavins at our parish Advent by Candlelight celebration.

May God Bless you and yours this year, and we hope to see you on the road!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Newsletter from Cricket!

(Rom 13:11-12, 14)

Advent Newsletter 2013

          We are all on a journey.  And like the three wise men who traveled across the desert following the star to be in the presence of this newborn King who was the Christ, God is leading us---each of us---in a journey into our own deeper encounter with the same Christ.

          God sees this journey clearly, where we are and where we need to be, and how to best guide us to our destination.  He sends us people and circumstances to aid us. He sends us signs and ‘stars’ to reflect upon.   And God knows how to work even our difficulties for good along the way.

          But keep in mind that while there is only one Christ to discover at the end, there are, in a sense, two journeys we make to get there.  One will be an external journey---the way we live and practice our faith outwardly.  The other will be an interior one---the journey we make as we follow the desires and motivations of our heart, what we dwell on in our thoughts, and the more ‘interior’ ways we live.  I mention two journeys because we can be doing all the right things on the external one and still make little or no progress on our interior one.

          Both journeys, though, will challenge us to make choices that either draw us closer to Christ and his holiness, or draw and pull us in another direction.  Even now, perhaps, the smallest choices can be making a difference in our journey’s end.

          But we can remember that:

          Quiet stillness to listen and pray will help.  Determined efforts to follow the way of the Lord instead of the way of the flesh will help.  Rejoicing in God’s goodness’, love, and constant faithfulness to us will also help. 

          During this season of Advent I would like to offer a suggestion:

          Reflect especially on the journey of your interior life.  Reflect on its growth, reflect on the signs God is sending, and on your own choices to follow, or ignore, his leadings of Love. 

          Then, whatever encourages, supports, and deepens your closeness to Christ and helps you grow as a true reflection of his selfless love, follow that way.  Do this every day of Advent.  And if we do, by the time we celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas Day there will be, I believe, a new and deeper ‘birth of Christ’ in our own lives---in our heart, our thoughts, and in our desires and actions. 

          What joy for us when we get to that place of seeing Christ’s presence come to life in deeper and richer ways.  It will be worth the time we took to pray and be still before Him.  It will be worth the struggle and the dying-to-self choices we had to make.  It will all be worth it, and we will rejoice with deeper faith, a firmer hope, and more authentic love in our heart.  And that would be a beautiful ‘gift’ to give to the Christ child on Christmas morning.

          Blessings of Advent joy to you all.  Cricket