Where True Beauty Lies


Forsaking the Land of Shadows, yet again,
And prostrate before You,
I enter with my candle,
Wick, barely alive,
Smoldering,
Awaiting the gentle breeze,
That will kindle my flame
To blaze forth, anew.

Praise rises in my soul,
As a lifetime of thanks given,
Recall to memory
The reason for my trust.
Can Faith be called blind,
When a thousand thousand yesterdays
Form the foundation of our friendship?

Now, I look upon You,
Upon the Altar of Adoration.
Beauty captures my attention.
The monstrance, a delight to my eye,
All aglow,
As it catches the early rays of morning.
Golden shafts stream from its center,
Whispering “Glory.”

The pedestal,
Ornate with pomegranates, grapes and lilies,
Celebrate the gift of Your Creation.
Yet, You, in Your splendid Humility,
Reside in true beauty, Unadorned, and at rest,
Your work accomplished,
Awaiting only my disfigurement.

What will You with me?
Transfigure in longed for alchemy of Spirit.

By heartfelt confession and remorse,
At Your Word,
Spoken in Persona Christi,
I wash my robes clean
In the Blood of the Lamb.
You do not horde Your beauty,
But send it forth,
To renew all creation,
And, forgetting not the least,
Remember me.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander


The passion of the Whole Body of Christ

From a commentary on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop

The passion of the whole body of Christ

Lord, I have cried to you, hear me. This is a prayer we can all say. This is not my prayer, but that of the whole Christ. Rather, it is said in the name of his body. When Christ was on earth he prayed in his human nature, and prayed to the Father in the name of his body, and when he prayed drops of blood flowed from his whole body. So it is written in the Gospel: Jesus prayed with earnest prayer, and sweated blood. What is this blood streaming from his whole body but the martyrdom of the whole Church?

Lord, I have cried to you, hear me; listen to the sound of my prayer, when I call upon you. Did you imagine that crying was over when you said: I have cried to you? You have cried out, but do not as yet feel free from care. If anguish is at an end, crying is at an end; but if the Church, the body of Christ, must suffer anguish until the end of time, it must not say only: I have cried to you, hear me; it must also say: Listen to the sound of my prayer, when I call upon you.

Let my prayer rise like incense in your sight; let the raising of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

This is generally understood of Christ, the head, as every Christian acknowledges. When day was fading into evening, the Lord laid down his life on the cross, to take it up again; he did not lose his life against his will. Here, too, we are symbolized. What part of him hung on the cross if not the part he had received from us? How could God the Father ever cast off and abandon his only Son, who is indeed one God with him? Yet Christ, nailing our weakness to the cross (where, as the Apostle says: Our old nature was nailed to the cross with him), cried out with the very voice of humanity: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The evening sacrifice is then the passion of the Lord, the cross of the Lord, the oblation of the victim that brings salvation, the holocaust acceptable to God. In his resurrection he made this evening sacrifice a morning sacrifice. Prayer offered in holiness from a faithful heart rises like incense from a holy altar. Nothing is more fragrant than the fragrance of the Lord. May all who believe share in this fragrance.

Therefore, our old nature, in the words of the Apostle, was nailed to the cross with him, in order, as he says, to destroy our sinful body, so that we may be slaves to sin no longer.