My Gracious Lord

My Gracious Lord,
How beautiful the graces
That flow, unceasingly,
In torrents, from Your Sacred Heart.

Though I am all gratitude,
I am so small and unworthy.
I make small return,
For Your magnificent beneficence

Broaden my capacity to love,
And, thereby, to render infinite thanksgiving,
Putting on Christ,
As the incense of gratitude,
Ever, an offering pleasing to You.

© 2017 Joann Nelander



From the Explanations of the Psalms by Saint Ambros

From the Explanations of the Psalms by Saint Ambrose –The appeal of the Book of Psalms

Though all Scripture is fragrant with God’s grace, the Book of Psalms has a special attractiveness.

Moses wrote the history of Israel’s forefathers in prose, but after leading the people through the Red Sea–a wonder that remained in their memory–he broke into a song of triumph in praise of God when he saw King Pharaoh drowned along with his forces. His genius soared to a higher level, to match an accomplishment beyond his own powers.

Miriam too raised her timbrel and sang encouragement for the rest of the women, saying: Let us sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has cast horse and rider into the sea.

In the Book of Psalms there is profit for all, with healing power for our salvation. There is instruction from history, teaching from the law, prediction from prophecy, chastisement from denunciation, persuasion from moral preaching. All who read it may find the cure for their own individual failings. All with eyes to see can discover in it a complete gymnasium for the soul, a stadium for all the virtues, equipped for every kind of exercise; it is for each to choose the kind he judges best to help him gain the prize.

If you wish to read and imitate the deeds of the past, you will find the whole history of the Israelites in a single psalm: in one short reading you can amass a treasure for the memory. If you want to study the power of the law, which is summed up in the bond of charity (Whoever loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law), you may read in the psalms of the great love with which one man faced serious dangers singlehandedly in order to remove the shame of the whole people. You will find the glory of charity more than a match for the parade of power.

What am I to say of the grace of prophecy? We see that what others hinted at in riddles was promised openly and clearly to the psalmist alone: the Lord Jesus was to be born of his seed, according to the word of the Lord, I will place upon your throne one who is the fruit of your flesh.

In the psalms, then, not only is Jesus born for us, he also undergoes his saving passion in his body, he lies in death, he rises again, he ascends into heaven, he sits at the right hand of the Father. What no man would have dared to say was foretold by the psalmist alone, and afterward proclaimed by the Lord himself in the Gospel.

Draw Close to God

Draw Close to God

Draw close to God.
Remove competing wills.
In humility,
Take your repose.
Pride conquers all,
Till dying on Christ’s Cross.
Boundless Heart,
Encompassing Universes,
In all dimensions,
You are outside of Time,
Yet close to me.
Eclipse all matter,
Minds, and might,
To draw me nigh to Thee.
By Joann Nelander

Job bewails his affliction

From the book of Job
29:1-10; 30:1, 9-23
Job bewails his affliction

Job took up his theme anew and said:
Oh, that I were as in the months past!
as in the days when God watched over me,
While he kept his lamp shining above my head,
and by his light I walked through darkness;
As I was in my flourishing days,
when God sheltered my tent;
When the Almighty was yet with me,
and my children were round about me;
When my footsteps were bathed in milk,
and the rock flowed with streams of oil;

When I went forth to the gate of the city
and set up my seat in the square –-
Then the young men saw me and withdrew,
while the elders rose up and stood;
The chief men refrained from speaking
and covered their mouths with their hands;
The voice of the princes was silenced,
and their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths.

But now they hold me in derision
who are younger in years than I;
Whose fathers I should have disdained
to rank with the dogs of my flock.
Yet now they sing of me in mockery;
I am become a byword among them.
They abhor me, they stand aloof from me,
they do not hesitate to spit in my face!
Indeed, they have loosed their bonds; they lord it over me,
and have thrown off restraint in my presence.

To subvert my paths they rise up;
they build their approaches for my ruin.
To destroy me, they attack with none to stay them;
as through a wide breach they advance.
Amid the uproar they come on in waves;
over me rolls the terror.

My dignity is borne off on the wind,
and my welfare vanishes like a cloud.
One with great power lays hold of my clothing;
by the collar of my tunic he seizes me:
He has cast me into the mire;
I am leveled with the dust and ashes.

I cry to you, but you do not answer me;
you stand off and look at me,
Then you turn upon me without mercy
and with your strong hand you buffet me.
You raise me up and drive me before the wind;
I am tossed about by the tempest.
Indeed I know you will turn me back in death
to the destined place of everyone alive.

RESPONSORY Job 30:17, 19:7:16

All night long my bones are racked with pain, a gnawing pain that never sleeps.
— God has cast me into the mire, where I am like dust and ashes.

Spare me, Lord, for my days are but a breath.
— God has cast me into the mire, where I am like dust and ashes.

Second reading
From a letter by Saint Boniface, bishop and martyr
The careful shepherd watches over Christ’s flock

In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.

The ancient fathers showed us how we should carry out this duty: Clement, Cornelius and many others in the city of Rome, Cyprian at Carthage, Athanasius at Alexandria. They all lived under emperors who were pagans; they all steered Christ’s ship—or rather his most dear spouse, the Church. This they did by teaching and defending her, by their labors and sufferings, even to the shedding of blood.

I am terrified when I think of all this. Fear and trembling came upon me and the darkness of my sins almost covered me. I would gladly give up the task of guiding the Church which I have accepted if I could find such an action warranted by the example of the fathers or by holy Scripture.

Since this is the case, and since the truth can be assaulted but never defeated or falsified, with our tired mind let us turn to the words of Solomon: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own prudence. Think on him in all your ways, and he will guide your steps. In another place he says: The name of the Lord is an impregnable tower. The just man seeks refuge in it and he will be saved.

Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him: O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.

Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful and he tells us: My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, let us die for the holy laws of our fathers, so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them.

Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead let us be careful shepherds watching over Christ’s flock. Let us preach the whole of God’s plan to the powerful and to the humble, to rich and to poor, to men of every rank and age, as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out of season, as Saint Gregory writes in his book of Pastoral Instruction.

RESPONSORY 1 Thessalonians 2:8; Galatians 4:19

I have longed to give you the Gospel, and more than that, to give you my very life;
— you have become very dear to me.

My little children, I am like a mother giving birth to you, until Christ is formed in you.
— You have become very dear to me.


May the Martyr Saint Boniface
be our advocate, O Lord,
that we may firmly hold the faith he taught
with his lips and sealed in his blood
and confidently profess it by our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
— Amen.