Slide show of Landscape Dreams Slide Show is now up.
O Infant King benign
I offer You the face
Of Mother Mary
As she gazed upon You
That very first time
Your holy countenance.
Her eyes, drinking in her Babe,
Her King, her Priest,
Her Son Divine,
Wept tears of joy,
In silent adoration,
She smiled in inward exultation.
You will never forget
Her look of love
As she gazed upon
Him, Who no earthly eye
A treasure for the world,
In her care,
To be wrapped
In lowly swaddling clothes
You, O Christ Child,
In Your humanity divine.
Robert Reilly, acclaimed author of THE CLOSING OF THE MUSLIM MIND, imagines a scene in Heaven: a Muslim catechized by Jesus Himself.
By Robert Reilly
Scene: Before the heavenly Throne.
Muslim (upon seeing Christ): “Is this a dream?”
Christ: “No. Something much better.”
Muslim: “I didn’t expect to see you here far above everyone. I thought you were coming back at the end of time to break the Cross, as we Muslims believe.”
Christ: “No, I’m not coming back to break the Cross. Rather, I was broken on the Cross, which is why you’re able to appear before me today.”
Muslim: “But we believe that the all-powerful God would not allow one of his prophets to be treated that way. That is why we refuse to believe you were crucified. It was some other man, or a shadow.”
Christ: “But I am not simply one of the prophets. I am God. I chose to allow myself to be treated this way to fulfill what the prophets foretold of the Suffering Servant.”
Muslim: “But God can’t do that! He can’t suffer and die.”
Christ: “Who are you to limit what God can do?”
Muslim: “But we are the true defenders of God’s absolute omnipotence. God is whoever is all powerful."
Christ: “So, right is the rule of the stronger?”
Muslim: “Yes. God decides because He is the strongest.”
Christ: “And He can decide anything?”
Muslim: “Yes, anything, and whatever He decides is just.”
Christ: “He is not bound even by His own word?”
Muslim: “No, not by anything.”
Christ: “But I am the Word. I am true to Myself. Pure will and power are arbitrary, tyrannical. I would be a despot.”
Muslim: “But we were taught that God cannot be confined by our human ideas of justice.”
Christ: “From where did you think you got those ideas of justice in the first place, if not from Me?”
Muslim: “I don’t know. Islam tells us to submit without questioning. The great al-Ghazali taught us that, ‘the mind. . .once it testifies to the truthfulness of the prophet, must cease to act.’”
Christ the Redeemer by Andrea Mantegna, 1493
All I have known
Has possessed me,
The world and the men
Who walk its way.
All I have known
Ruled my heart
And burned on its altars
The wood of my life.
Now, you give me gold,
And open the door
To Your Kingdom,
To enter through my heart
Into Your Heart.
The fire that once
Consumed my wood,
Now, fires the gold You give me
To shape and fashion
A daughter of faith
Alive for You and in You,
Earthy flesh, taking on heaven,
As Your Spirit wants,
And woos and waits,
Upon the handmaiden
Of grace and virtue
You are creating for Yourself
As Bride to the King.
All I now know
For all I know is Thee.
© 2013 Joann Nelander All rights reserved
December 22, 2012 – “What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or read in history books,” she likes to tell audiences.
“I am a witness to history.
“I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.
If you remember the plot of the Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family escaped over the Alps rather than submit to the Nazis. Kitty wasn’t so lucky. Her family chose to stay in her native Austria. She was 10 years old, but bright and aware. And she was watching.
“We elected him by a landslide – 98 percent of the vote,” she recalls.
She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.
“Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.”
Hitler is welcomed to Austria
“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.
Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.
“My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.’
“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.
Austrian girls welcome Hitler
“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.
“Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.
“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.
“After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.
“Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.
“Then we lost religious education for kids
Poster promoting “Hitler Youth”
“Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school.. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,’ and had physical education.
“Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail.”
And then things got worse.
“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.
“We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.
“My mother was very unhappy,” remembers Kitty. “When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination.
“I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing.
A pro-Hitler rally
“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.
“It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.
“In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death.
“Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.
“Soon after this, the draft was implemented.
Thank you, God Almighty!
In these new moments
Of the New Year,
I bow before You,
Lord of All.
Creation like Time
Continues to pour forth
From Your Glorious Majesty.
Never an unprovided instant,
All as You command
For the good of all.
Given is the peace and plenty,
Heard the prayers that bind
Your Heart to mine,
Mended are the trampled fences.
On guard our sure defenses,
Yet at rest,
In the Bosom of Blessedness.
When against the grain
We trespass Your Will
We die outside the Great City
Join now our dying to That One Death
That slayed all Death,
And ravaged the slayer of souls.
Born aloft on the dawn of New Day,
Graced beyond measure,
Provide the Bread and Wine
To become our Health and Healing,
Daily provision given
As day unto day
With Splendid Son.
Copyright 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved.