Be Ready For The Infant King

Nine days to get ready! Time enough for a novena.

Who will come to the stable
On Christmas Day?
And what will they take away?

Wise men, steadfast and earnest, came,
Instead of palace music,
They heard the donkey brae.
A lowly sound and sight,
Yet their wonder unallayed.

Many come rejoicing,
To behold the Newborn King,
Bowing low,
While angels sing.

Christ’s comes for all
But not all come.
Some come, behold, then fall away,
Being rootless, they merrily go their way.

Father God prepared a voice
To announce His Only Word,
A messenger, born before, to go before.
Another child, spared Ramah’s plight
To live and pierce Sin’s long night
John, O, John, still cries, “Repent!”

Prepare if you would follow.
At Jerusalem’s Gate,
Many cried, “Messiah,”
Who would soon cry, “Crucify.”

Whose will will you do,
When the music fades in life?
Pride prides itself on ‘my way,’
Confounds with will and strife.

Without a ready, willing heart,
Nothing changes Christmas Day.
Corrupt hearts go on corrupting,
All the while the kingly Infant cries,
As throughout His life,
“I am the Way.”

Whose heart will live in yours
As angelic songs fade away.
Will you simply leave the stable
To follow your own way?

Come, O come, rejoicing!
Praying for a change.
Receive the Babe within your Heart;
The humble He teaches His Way.

By Joann Nelander

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On Virginity

The virgin for St, Ambrose is the faithful enamored lover seeking only her Beloved, closed to the world, the flesh and the Devil, waiting in fruitful expectation on Love.

“Whoever seeks Christ in this way, whoever prays to Christ in this way, is not abandoned by him; on the contrary, Christ comes again and again to visit such a person, for he is with us until the end of the world”

On St. Ambrose’s On Virginity

Dearest Love, shine in my humanity,
Making my soul radiant.
I come to know You in my waiting.
As the world passes,
I witness the parade of fools and follies.

From my window, I surmise
The ways of friend and foe,
And resolve that my lover
Must be a friend
And lover of my soul,
Cherishing it as his own.

My Lover bids me call,
And call I do,
Throughout the bitter night
And in the brightness
Of each new day.

When I call He always comes,
I do not doubt His promise or His Presence.
“Knock and it shall be opened.”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him…’

I embrace Him Whom I love,
Even when He comes and hides,
For He takes pleasure of watching me
In my search of faith.

I know He is here;
He is near,
Attuned to my longing,
Knowing that the treasure
Of my possessing Him
Increases as my desire
To see Him grows.

My seeking is both invitation and encounter.
My eyes may be blind,
But my soul is awake to His nearness
And reaches to catch Him
As He plays with me.
My soul ensnares Him
And begs Him do not run away.

Let me breathe Your essence.
Your Presence is my delight.
Though Your Spirit be like the wind,
Then tousle my hair as You rush by.
Let me find evidence of Your visit,
In the changes in my being.

I pledge my ardor
And banish the lukewarm.
I promise my heart
And scorn all negligence.
Vain imaginings
Shall not steal my soul.
Your promise is all I need.
If it seems You are gone,
I shall search You out,
Until I find our hiding place
And lie beside You.

I will ravish You by sighs of love
And hold you fast
By reins of love’s longing,
For You have conquered the world
And won my heart.
You have conquered my depths
By knowing Your beloved.

Your chamber remains within my soul,
Our secret place of meeting.
All is in readiness for You,
Though You come late in the night.

My room is swept clean and I am eager.
Your coming is all sun,
And You waken me by Your Light.
I draw You by spiritual reins,
By my plaintive call.

All the world is witness
To the power of virginal love.
Is it not the Virgin Mother,
Who now instructs my soul.

by Joann Nelander

Sorrow Of Heart -The Imitation of Christ

SORROW OF HEART

IF YOU wish to make progress in virtue, live in the fear of the Lord, do not look for too much freedom, discipline your senses, and shun inane silliness. Sorrow opens the door to many a blessing which dissoluteness usually destroys.

It is a wonder that any man who considers and meditates on his exiled state and the many dangers to his soul, can ever be perfectly happy in this life. Lighthearted and heedless of our defects, we do not feel the real sorrows of our souls, but often indulge in empty laughter when we have good reason to weep. No liberty is true and no joy is genuine unless it is founded in the fear of the Lord and a good conscience.

Happy is the man who can throw off the weight of every care and recollect himself in holy contrition. Happy is the man who casts from him all that can stain or burden his conscience.

Fight like a man. Habit is overcome by habit. If you leave men alone, they will leave you alone to do what you have to do. Do not busy yourself about the affairs of others and do not become entangled in the business of your superiors. Keep an eye primarily on yourself and admonish yourself instead of your friends.

If you do not enjoy the favor of men, do not let it sadden you; but consider it a serious matter if you do not conduct yourself as well or as carefully as is becoming for a servant of God and a devout religious.

It is often better and safer for us to have few consolations in this life, especially comforts of the body. Yet if we do not have divine consolation or experience it rarely, it is our own fault because we seek no sorrow of heart and do not forsake vain outward satisfaction.

Consider yourself unworthy of divine solace and deserving rather of much tribulation. When a man is perfectly contrite, the whole world is bitter and wearisome to him.

A good man always finds enough over which to mourn and weep; whether he thinks of himself or of his neighbor he knows that no one lives here without suffering, and the closer he examines himself the more he grieves.

The sins and vices in which we are so entangled that we can rarely apply ourselves to the contemplation of heaven are matters for just sorrow and inner remorse.

I do not doubt that you would correct yourself more earnestly if you would think more of an early death than of a long life. And if you pondered in your heart the future pains of hell or of purgatory, I believe you would willingly endure labor and trouble and would fear no hardship. But since these thoughts never pierce the heart and since we are enamored of flattering pleasure, we remain very cold and indifferent. Our wretched body complains so easily because our soul is altogether too lifeless.

Pray humbly to the Lord, therefore, that He may give you the spirit of contrition and say with the Prophet: “Feed me, Lord, with the bread of mourning and give me to drink of tears in full measure.”[5]