Letting go, and letting God, still holds challenge.
A lifetime of learning hasn’t made it easier,
Just more imperative,
As my way just gets in my way.
Like a little lamb, I follow,
Though the way be set by trial ,
My shepherd walks before.
In hallowed steps
I plant my feet.
Surety and Covenant abiding
Your Way, my way, forevermore.
From the Imitation of Christ
The truth of the Lord endures for ever
You thunder your judgments upon me, O Lord; you shake all my bones with fear and dread, and my soul becomes severely frightened. I am bewildered when I realize that even the heavens are not pure in your sight.
If you discovered iniquity in the angels and did not spare them, what will become of me? The stars fell from heaven, and I, mere dust, what should I expect? Those whose works seemed praiseworthy fell to the depths, and I have seen those who once were fed with the bread of angels delighting in the husks of swine.
There is no holiness where you have withdrawn your hand, O Lord; no profitable wisdom if you cease to rule over it; no helpful strength if you cease to preserve it. For if you forsake us, we sink and perish; but if you visit us, we rise up and live again. We are unstable, but you make us firm; we grow cool, but you inflame us.
All superficial glory has been swallowed up in the depths of your judgment upon me.
What is all flesh in your sight? Can the clay be glorified in opposition to its Maker?
How can anyone be aroused by empty talk if his heart is subject in the truth to God?
The whole world cannot swell with pride the man who is subject to truth; nor will he be swayed by the flattery of all his admirers, if he has established all his trust in God.
For those who do all the talking amount to nothing; they fail with their din of words, but the truth of the Lord endures for ever.
In loving the creature,
Have you discerned the Creator?
By Joann Nelander
Two wombs unite us.
One of mother,
Separated in Time.
The other is forever,
Touched by the Eternal.
Womb of Love,
Bearing the Savior and shared.
Here it is I reach for you, my sister.
Touching you with my heart.
Can you feel me?
By Joann Nelander
Reaching for You in the Night, I marvel.
What worlds my prayer spans!
The darkness of Space and Ages
Is penetrated by Your Light,
Pierced by my cry of recognition.
My will, like Longinian sword,
Penetrates Your Heart,
Tapping perpetual Springs.
Hallowed walls of Flesh part
To welcome me, a sinner, to sweet repose.
By Joann Nelander
From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot
I love because I love, I love that I may love
Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.
The Bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved?
Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of that original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with the fountain.
What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?