The Company of Friends

I walk in the company of saints.

Faith opens my heart revealing Truth,
As Eucharist brings enlightenment.

Hope opens my eyes to gaze on Past
And throws light upon the future.

With Jesus in the fore,
My saints say, “Follow me.”

Holy friends, pray for me.

© 2017 Joann Nelander

Heavenward

Heavenward

As dust upon the Wind,
I am drawn upon a breeze of Spirit,
To realms above the world and worldly.

Higher, ever higher,
I implore,
Detach me for the heavenly.

Sweet Sustenance,
Food for my soul,
As You lift me,
You transform and sustain me.

I am of Earth,
But created for You and Your Heaven,
In Eucharist,
I become all gratitude and thanksgiving.

© 2017 Joann Nelander

I Believe

I Believe

You are here, with me, within me,
Your indwelling Spirit alive,
For the life of me.

You give Your Holy Life to my soul.
Raising nature above the world
To breathe with Your Spirit.

I am in You, for You.
I am Yours.
May Your Heart ever hold me fast.

© 2017 Joann Nelander

You Looked Down

You looked down
From Your Cross
To behold faithfulness.
There stood Your Mother.

You beheld her look of grief,
Her suffering Your pain.
You wed it
To Your Own,
Presenting all
Before Our Father’s holy throne.

© 2013 Joann Nelander

Riding the Wind

He rides the Wind in power and right,
Born of Eternal Light.
All goodness follow in His train,
Like comet tails, falling stars,
That fire my night.

Here light upon my soul and nest,
As spirit bird, find place of rest,
Spreading feathered wing
As shelter, and friend,
To Godly bless.

Stirring, fan the embers of my love,
To blaze anew in fire from above
Transforming dust and dross,
To forge one who walks
Amongst the flame, O Holy Dove.

©2013 Joann Nelander

Suddenly in Time

Eons marked in time, an ocean drop by drop
Faith tested to the nth, suddenly to be here
Sand through an hour glass, seeds promising the crop
Eons marked in time, an ocean drop by drop
Cathartic rhythms purging like the wild hop
You wanted wine, we gave you beer
Eons marked in time, an ocean drop by drop
Faith tested to the nth, suddenly to be here

©2013 Joann Nelander

Graced to Be

I offer You, O Lord,
The ground of my being,
The deep from wither
My thoughts and prayers arise.

O Holy Spirit,
Hover over the abyss within,
To grace the land
Rising out of my chaos,
Like the signal blessing
Of the dove of peace,
And a new beginning
Over the waters
After the Flood.

Free me from sin and disorder,
That my unique soul
May shout for joy,
Even for the wonder
That I am,
That You rejoice
To reveal me to be
In true humility,
That I may awaken
To give You due
Honor and praise.

Break up the clods
Of my ignorance
And self-satisfaction.
Plow my field cross hatch,
Plant my furrows with gospel seed.
Water me
That I may be a garden
Of hidden delights,
And a comfort to You
In Your rest.

Passion Deed

Lord, my tears are plentiful,
As I behold Thee in Thy rest.
Kneeling in poverty of spirit,
I am thrice blessed.

Your forever Union
With our Heavenly Father
Embraces me as the child,
That I am want to be,
Obedient, merciful and mild.

The Holy Spirit of God
Rests upon me,
Gifting me in sorrow for sin,
Raising me above the world,
And lifting me
To the lap of Abba Father,
With You, within.

Here in hallowed Presence,
My tears fall upon the garden,
You plant in my soul,
To water this consecrated plot
Replete with the promised fulfillment
That heals and makes me whole.

Already, but not yet,
Here in seed,
With You in Eternity,
Won by Cross and Passion-Deed.

©2012 Joann Nelander

People of Praise

Your people praise you, O Lord.
As points of light,
Scattered about
The surface of the Earth.
Together with angelic choirs,
That dot the firmament,
Your children sing.

With fish, and bird,
With rivers and seas,
With mountains,
And heavenly heights,
Creation sings in chorus,
Affirmation,
Acclamation,
And affection,
In sanctifying hosannas,
That fall as bountiful rain,
To water man and beast
With fruitful exaltation,
Multipling our delight,
As we magnify our God.

We are your mothers,
Fathers, sisters,
Brothers, friends
Of Your fold,
Returning praise,
And worship due
The Most High Lord
Of all creation.
In Your Light we
Become Your Light.

© 2012 Joann Nelander

People of Praise

Your people praise you, O Lord.
As points of light,
Scattered about
The surface of the Earth.
Together with angelic choirs,
That dot the firmament,
Your children sing.

With fish, and bird,
With rivers and seas,
With mountains,
And heavenly heights,
Creation sings in chorus,
Affirmation,
Acclamation,
And affection,
In sanctifying hosannas,
That fall as bountiful rain,
To water man and beast
With fruitful exaltation,
Multipling our delight,
As we magnify our God.

We are your mothers,
Fathers, sisters,
Brothers, friends
Of Your fold,
Returning praise,
And worship due
The Most High Lord
Of all creation.
In Your Light we
Become Your Light.

© 2012 Joann Nelander

Listening and Silent

It seems…
I am always talking to You,
That I am always with You,
And have no doubt
You are with me,
Listening and silent.

I am an endless monologue.
You, hovering Spirit,
Wordlessly eloquent
Abide.
You are Presence and Truth,
Listening and silent,
Thunderously silent,
Save for the stirring of my heart,
And the sometime rush of thought,
Coming, as it were,
From the bowels of my being
With frightening conviction,
And challenging my reticence
To speak aloud
The thoughts of solitude.

Reluctant always
To go about,
And leave the cloister of my heart,
Where in Your chambers I find,
And hold dear,
Private audience with the King,

The world without is a noisy charade,
And woos the pride of me take center stage.
Where suddenly I realize
I have been talking much, too much,
To my regret.

I, naggingly, suspect
I have diminished
What was my treasure
And ceased to learn.
Cacophony of me,
I cease to learn,
And simply rearrange,
That with which I am familiar.

Where do prophet, poet and a would be recluse
Find voice if not in You,
Rejecting even audience
To find You in my silence,
Your silence?

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

A Willing Heart

The least of Your children, O Lord,,
Can bring forth fruit one hundred fold.
Such is the mystery of grace and love
Planted in a willing heart.

By Joann Nelander

Candles on Altars

Candles on Altars

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle holder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All men are candles,
Burning on some altar.
Some disappear into nothingness,
Before worldly idols,
Unable to sustain their spark
Beyond the veil,
Into eternity.

Others light the heavens
As they are consumed
On the altar of Love,
Merging imperceptibly,
Creature with Creator.

When my wax is spent,
I pray I am not distracted
By my sin.
When I melt
Into the arms of God,
May it be that Love,
That lit my flame,
Outshines my imperfections
In holy consummation.

Burn candle, all alight
Warming with mercy rays the night,
To Penetrate hearts of friend and foe,
To soothe and mend wounds,
Dispelling darkness
With the Uncreated Light
That set creation into being.

Now and forever,
I cast myself
Into the flame,
The furnace of His Sacred Heart.
Passing through pierced side,
One with the Virgin,
Holy angels and expurgated saints of ole,
Melted in union,
I am formed anew in Christ,
With the Father and Spirit,
Candle, altar and Salvation might.

© 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

In this Your Temple

In this Your Temple

Settle upon me, Lord, my Savior.
Here in this temple, ever be.
In me, about me, ever near,
More and more dear.

My Refuge, receive me,
Hide me in abandonment,
Cover with Your mantle,
Growing Your Life in me.

© 2017 Joann Nelander

Mary the Dawn

Mary the Dawn

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Mary the Dawn

Mary the Dawn

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Medieval Lyrics to Mary the Dawn

Medieval Lyrics to Mary the Dawn

Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the Heav’nly Way!
Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the Rose-Tree, Christ the Rose Blood-red!
Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the Temple, Christ the Temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the Mother, Christ the Mother’s Son.
Both ever blest while endless ages run.
Amen.

Cause of My Rejoicing

Cause of My Rejoicing

Not a voice from beyond,
Not an apparition,
Outside myself,
But You, my God,
Here with me,
Here in me,
So, I rejoice in awe,
O, Gift Divine.

© 2017 Joann Nelander

Thanksgiving Kiss

O, Mary, thank you for Your Child.
See my empty arms.
See my open heart.
Place your Treasure
In my embrace.

He smiles at me,
As I push aside  His swaddling,
To gaze in awe
On the Babe of my redemption.

Mystery of mysteries,
Mercy of God,
You’ve come to me.
You’ve come for me
I dare a kiss on Your sweet brow,
My Emmanuel.

© 2011 Joann Nelander

Perfected Through the Cross

I would like to offer You the perfect,
But all I have is me.
So, here I am,
Sorrowful, in all my misery.

In hope I approach You,
Through the gaping wound in Your Side,
Through which flowed Your Mercy,
Your Final Word.

Wash me, Son of God,
In that endless river,
Your Life poured out
Throughout Time.

I stand, I kneel,
Then prostrate
At Your Cross,
I wait to receive You.

You are taken down,
And placed in Mary’s arms,
It is in her arms,
I find You.

There with You,
I am held fast,
Giving and receiving,
The Love You have won for Me.

By Joann Nelander

Teen’s Patriotism Expressed in this Flag

My Lord and my God

My Lord and my God
From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope

Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief.

Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvellous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection.

Touching Christ, he cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Paul said: Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what can not be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: You have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: My Lord and my God. Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see.

What follows is reason for great joy: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. There is here a particular reference to ourselves; we hold in our hearts one we have not seen in the flesh. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practices what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. Therefore James says: Faith without works is dead.

God can be found in man’s heart

God can be found in man’s heart

From a homily by Saint Gregory of Nyssa

God can be found in man’s heart

In our human life bodily health is a good thing, but this blessing consists not merely in knowing the causes of good health but in actually enjoying it. If a man eulogizes good health and then eats food that has unhealthy effects, what good is his praise of health when he finds himself on a sickbed? Similarly, from the Lord’s saying: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God, we are to learn that blessedness does not lie in knowing something about God, but rather in possessing God within oneself.

I do not think these words mean that God will be seen face to face by the man who purifies the eye of his soul. Their sublime import is brought out more clearly perhaps in that other saying of the Lord’s: The kingdom of God is within you. This teaches us that the man who cleanses his heart of every created thing and every evil desire will see the image of the divine nature in the beauty of his own soul. I believe the lesson summed up by the Word in that short sentence was this: You men have within you a desire to behold the supreme good. Now when you are told that the majesty of God is exalted above the heavens, that his glory is inexpressible, his beauty indescribable, and his nature transcendent, do not despair because you cannot behold the object of your desire. If by a diligent life of virtue you wash away the film of dirt that covers your heart, then the divine beauty will shine forth in you.

Take a piece of iron as an illustration. Although it might have been black before, once the rust has been scraped off with a whetstone, it will begin to shine brilliantly and to reflect the rays of the sun. So it is with the interior man, which is what the Lord means by the heart. Once a man removes from his soul the coating of filth that has formed on it through his sinful neglect, he will regain his likeness to his Archetype, and be good. For what resembles the supreme Good is itself good. If he then looks into himself, he will see the vision he has longed for. This is the blessedness of the pure in heart: in seeing their own purity they see the divine Archetype mirrored in themselves.

Those who look at the sun in a mirror, even if they do not look directly at the sky, see its radiance in the reflection just as truly as do those who look directly at the sun’s orb. It is the same, says the Lord, with you. Even though you are unable to contemplate and see the inaccessible light, you will find what you seek within yourself, provided you return to the beauty and grace of that image which was originally placed in you. For God is purity; he is free from sin and a stranger to all evil. If this can be said of you, then God will surely be within you. If your mind is untainted by any evil, free from sin, and purified from all stain, then indeed are you blessed, because your sight is keen and clear. Once purified, you see things that others cannot see. When the mists of sin no longer cloud the eye of your soul, you see that blessed vision clearly in the peace and purity of your own heart. That vision is nothing else than the holiness, the purity, the simplicity and all the other glorious reflections of God’s nature, through which God himself is seen.

Morning Prayers from Sts. Mechtilde & Gertrude

Morning Prayers from Sts. Mechtilde & Gertrude

ASPIRATION TO JESUS

Jesus said to St. Mechtilde: Whoever shall breathe a sigh towards Me from the bottom of his heart when he awakes in the morning, and shall ask Me to work all his works in him throughout the day, he will draw Me to him; so that his soul shall have life from Me even as his body has life from his soul, and he shall do all things through Me and by Me. For never does a man breathe a sigh of longing aspiration towards Me without drawing Me nearer to him than I was before.

O MOST loving Jesus, I breathe towards Thee this sigh, drawn from the depth of my heart, beseeching Thee with all my might that Thou wouldst deign Thyself to work in me all my works, whether of body or of soul, to cleanse them all in thy sweetest Heart, and to offer them, in union with Thine Own most perfect works, to God the Father as an eternal thanksgiving. Amen.

COVENANT WITH GOD

O ALMIGHTY God, I sanctify, dedicate, and consecrate to Thee every beating of my heart, and every pulsation of my blood; and I desire to make this compact with Thee, that their every beating shall say to Thee: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; and I beseech Thee to impute this meaning to them, so that they may be before Thy Divine Majesty as the unceasing echo of that heavenly canticle, which seraphims sing without ceasing unto Thee. Amen. Amen.

Salute to the Heart of Jesus

I ADORE, praise, and salute Thee, O most sweet Heart of Jesus Christ, fresh and gladdening as the breath of spring, from which, as from a fountain of graces, sweeter than the honeycomb, floweth ever more all good and all delight. I thank Thee with all the powers of my heart for having preserved me throughout this night, and for having rendered to God the Father praises and thanksgivings in my behalf. And now, O my sweet Love, I offer Thee my wretched and worthless heart as a morning sacrifice; I place it in Thy most tender Heart, and entrust it to Thy keeping; beseeching Thee that Thou wouldst deign to pour into it Thy Divine inspirations, and to enkindle it with Thy holy love. Amen.

RECOMMENDATION TO JESUS

It was revealed to St. Gertrude that if anyone commends himself to God, praying to be kept from all sin, God will never forsake him; and even though he be permitted to fall into some grievous fault, the grace of God will sustain him like a staff, and enable him to return more easily to repentance.

O JESUS, full of compassion, I commend to thee my spirit and my soul, in union with that love wherewith thou didst commend Thine Own to the Father on the Cross; and I place them in the most sacred wound of Thy tender Heart, that they may be therein protected from all the snares of the enemy. Thou knowest, O good Jesus, and I know by my own sad experience, how weak and frail I am, so that I could not of myself persevere in good, or resist temptation even for one single hour. Wherefore I pray Thee, by the reverence due to that union wherein Thy manhood is united to the adorable Trinity for our glorification, that Thou wouldst deign to unite my will to Thine, and so to strengthen and secure it, that it may be unable to rebel against Thee. In union with Thy most sinless limbs, I commend to Thee all the members of my body, with all their movements, that they may throughout this day love for Thy glory alone, for Thy praise and Thy love. Amen.

INTENTION TO BE FORMED IN THE MORNING

Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude, that He records with letters of gold in the book of life all those actions which are done purely for the love of God, in union with the Passion of Christ, and for the salvation of all mankind, without thought of our own merit. And although all good works receive from God an abundant reward, those which are done simply and purely for His glory are of far higher merit, and obtain for us a far greater increase of glory.

O LORD, my God, for Thy sake I resolve to perform all my actions, whether outward or inward, purely for Thy glory, and for the salvation of the whole world; with such intention and in such manner as Thou dost desire and enjoin; and in union with that love whereby Thy Son came down from Heaven, and wrought out the whole work of our salvation, especially during His Passion. Wherefore I entirely disclaim all merit, all reward and grace which I might otherwise hope to obtain by these actions, that I may offer to Thee, my God, a pure sacrifice of praise, and give Thee a proof of my love.

MORE EXTENDED COVENANT TO BE RENEWED EVERY WEEK

The great efficacy of this covenant may be shown thus: Were a person to resolve that by every movement he made he wished to be understood to ratify and approve all the sins that are committed all over the earth, and to be held a partaker of them, it is easy to see what guilt he would thus contract. And if such an intention would have so great influence for evil, why should it not have immense force and merit for good?

O LORD God, my Creator, all my desire is before Thee, and my groaning is not hidden from Thee; but inasmuch as the necessities of this life prevent the constant application of my mind to Thy praise, I make with Thee this covenant, earnestly desiring that it may remain in force throughout this week.

Whenever I look up towards Heaven, I desire and intend to rejoice with Thee in Thine infinite perfections; that Thou art what Thou art, supremely strong and wise and loving and just.

As often as I open or close my eyes, I desire and intend to approve and concur in all the holy actions which Thine Only-begotten Son, and all the Saints in Heaven and just on earth, have ever done, or shall ever hereafter do, to Thy glory, and desire to be held a partaker in them all.

As often as I draw my breath, I offer to Thee the Life and Passion and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the merits and sufferings of all the Saints, to Thine eternal glory, for the welfare and peace of all the whole world, and in satisfaction for the sins of all men.

Whenever I sigh, I intend to detest and abhor every sin, as well my own sins as those which have ever been committed from the beginning of the world against the honour of Thy Name. Would that the slight and worthless offering of my blood might be accepted in satisfaction for them!

Lastly, as often as I move my hand or my foot, so often do I cast myself with entire resignation upon Thy most holy will, desiring that Thou wouldst dispose of me in time and in eternity, according to Thine adorable Will.

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