The Mystery of Our Reconciliation with God

 

From a letter by Saint Leo the Great, pope

The Mystery of Our Reconciliation with God

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

To speak of our Lord, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man is of no value to us if we do not believe that he is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospel.
Matthew’s gospel begins by setting out the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, and then traces his human descent by bringing his ancestral line down to his mother’s husband, Joseph. On the other hand, Luke traces his parentage backward step by step to the actual father of mankind, to show that both the first and the last Adam share the same nature.

No doubt the Son of God in his omnipotence could have taught and sanctified men by appearing to them in a semblance of human form as he did to the patriarchs and prophets, when for instance he engaged in a wrestling contest or entered into conversation with them, or when he accepted their hospitality and even ate the food they set before him. But these appearances were only types, signs that mysteriously foretold the coming of one who would take a true human nature from the stock of the patriarchs who had gone before him. No mere figure, then, fulfilled the mystery of our reconciliation with God, ordained from all eternity. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin nor had the power of the Most High overshadowed her, so that within her spotless womb Wisdom might build itself a house and the Word become flesh. The divine nature and the nature of a servant were to be united in one person so that the Creator of time might be born in time, and he through whom all things were made might be brought forth in their midst.

For unless the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful humanity, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stooped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan. The Conqueror’s victory would have profited us nothing if the battle had been fought outside our human condition. But through this wonderful blending the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth we too might be born again in a spiritual birth; and in consequence the evangelist declares the faithful to have been born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jesus on the Sidelines – No Room in the Inn

Quoting Benedict XVI:

“There are many today who claim that God should be left on the sidelines, and that religion and faith, while fine for individuals, should either be excluded from the public forum altogether or included only in the pursuit of limited pragmatic goals.”

(This worldview)  “presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone, in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a world-view.”

“Society will be shaped in a godless image, and debate and policy concerning the public good will be driven more by consequences than by principles grounded in truth”

The “world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises.”

Your baptism has made you a temple.  Make room in the inn of your heart- open the door this Christmas to an eternity with Christ Jesus

Song of Salvation

Sing Lord
To make of me a song
Rising on the wind
Spreading throughout the land.

By the movement of Your tune
I proclaim Your Love.
By the rushing of Your Spirit
Borne anew on hallowed wings,
I announce the Year of Favor.

Proclaim
Reclaim. Reclaim.
Reclaim Your own.
Seat sons and daughters
Of Your Love
Upon Your Heart
On Mercy throne.

© 2013  Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Prayer to Mary, by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort

Hail MARY, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father. Hail MARY, admirable Mother of the Son. Hail MARY, faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Hail MARY, my Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sovereign. Hail, my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul. Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am Thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently Thine. I now give myself wholly to Thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If Thou seest anything in me which does not belong to Thee, I beseech Thee to take it and make Thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine.

Destroy in me all that may displease GOD; root it up and bring it to nought. Place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to Thee. May the light of Thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind. May Thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may Thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination. May Thy continuous sight of GOD fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of Thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine. May Thy virtues take the place of my sins; may Thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of GOD and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but Thine to know JESUS and His Divine Will; that I may have no other soul but Thine to praise and glorify GOD; that I may have no other heart but Thine to love GOD with a love as pure and ardent as Thine.

I do not ask Thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotions, or spiritual pleasures. It is Thy privilege to see GOD clearly; it is Thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is Thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the right hand of Thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons. It is Thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of GOD, just as Thou willest. Such, O heavenly MARY, is the ʻbest partʼ, which the Lord has given Thee, and which shall never be taken away from Thee, and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was Thine, to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures, to suffer joyfully without human consolation, to die continually to myself without respite, and to work zealously and unselfishly for Thee until death, as the humblest of Thy servants. The only grace I beg Thee, for me, is that every moment of the day, and every moment of my life, I may say, “Amen, so be it, to all that Thou art doing in Heaven. Amen, so be it, to all Thou didst do while on earth. Amen, so be it, to all Thou art doing in my soul,” so that Thou alone mayest fully glorify JESUS in me for time and eternity. Amen.

 

Our Lady of Lourdes – "I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION"

Narrated by Mariola Paini


In 1858 the virgin Mary Immaculate appeared to Bernadette Soubirous near Lourdes in France within the cave of Massabielle. Through this humble girl, Mary called sinners to conversion and enkindled within the Church a great zeal for prayer and charity, especially service to the sick and poor. From a letter by Saint Marie Bernadette Soubirous, virgin (Ep. ad P. Gondrand, a 1861: cf. A. Ravier, Les écrits de sainte Bernadette, Paris 1961, pp. 53-59) The lady spoke to me I had gone down one day with two other girls to the bank of the river Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I turned my head toward the field by the side of the river but the trees seemed quite still and the noise was evidently not from them. Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads. At this I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things, and I put my hands into the fold of my dress where my rosary was. I wanted to make the sign of the cross but for the life of me I couldn’t manage it and my hand just fell down. Then the lady made the sign of the cross herself and at the second attempt I managed to do the same, though my hands were trembling. Then I began to say the rosary while the lady let her beads slip through her fingers, without moving her lips. When I stopped saying the Hail Mary, she immediately vanished. I asked my two companions if they had noticed anything, but they said no. Of course they wanted to know what I was doing and I told them that I had seen a lady wearing a nice white dress, though I didn’t know who she was. I told them not to say anything about it, and they said I was silly to have anything to do with it. I said they were wrong and I came back next Sunday, feeling myself drawn to the place…. The third time I went the lady spoke to me and asked me to come every day for fifteen days. I said I would and then she said that she wanted me to tell the priests to build a chapel there. She also told me to drink from the stream. I went to the Gave, the only stream I could see. Then she made me realize she was not speaking of the Gave and she indicated a little trickle of water close-by. When I got to it I could only find a few drops, mostly mud. I cupped my hands to catch some liquid without success and then I started to scrape the ground. I managed to find a few drops of water but only at the fourth attempt was there a sufficient amount for any kind of drink. The lady then vanished and I went back home. I went back each day for fifteen days and each time, except one Monday and one Friday, the lady appeared and told me to look for a stream and wash in it and to see that the priests build a chapel there. I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners. I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven she told me she was the Immaculate Conception. During the fifteen days she told me three secrets but I was not to speak about them to anyone and so far I have not. This letter from St. Bernadette (linked above) is from the Office of Readings for this day. I put this letter here because the language in which she speaks of Mary’s apparitions is that of a child. Dear Bernadette was young and poor when The Blessed Mother appeared to her. She aspired only a simple life, was not overly bright, and it would seem that she was incapable of greatness by this world’s standards. Yet, the Blessed Mother appeared to her, and spoke to her kindly and gave her gentle instructions. When Bernadette first saw Our Lady, she did not immediately identify her. She saw, rather, a beautiful woman. In fact, she did not presume to admit that the lady was the Blessed Mother until she was told by the lady herself. Mary called herself the Immaculate Conception, a true expression of beauty. Mary’s message to Bernadette was simple and caring, like that of a Mother. Bernadette, although not great, was a saint of blessings and virtue. Mary chose to appear to her and laid upon her shoulders the charge of sharing Mary with others. Bernadette did not live a very long life… but it was one of patient suffering and hope for the world to come. "I cannot promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next" was the promise of the Blessed Mother to her daughter. Bernadette trusted in this promise, with that childlike faith and obedience that were so exemplary in her visits with Mary. This is an example of how Mary is a mother to us. Her apparitions to her gentle daughter Bernadette brings us a message of prayer and healing. Each time that Mary has visited us, she has come with the same tender love and caring. Let us always remember how deeply Mary loves us, how intimate she is with Jesus, and seek to follow her Motherly guidance and receive her consolation.

A Letter of Saint Marie Bernadette Soubirou

God of mercy,
we celebrate the feast of Mary,
the sinless mother of God.
May her prayers help us
to rise above our human weakness.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

– Amen.

Loving Freely

Mother Mary,
Hold my hand tightly,
As I live my freedom,
As a Child of God.

©2012 Joann Nelander

You Chose Me From the Earth

The day has begun,
And, already,
You have embraced
Your wee one.

I greet You
With the opening
Of my eyes,
With thoughts
That stream anew.

My slumber has brought me
To New Day.
The night was spent
In healing, and a continuity,
That like the day
Follows one unto the other,
Within Your sovereign embrace.

My body leaned
Upon You in trust,
To rise refreshed.
Phantoms of the night
Fled as Your Sun
Rose with purple dawn,
For I place my Trust
In You.
You knit me,
Body, soul and spirit,
Into a unity,
I have known
Since You willed me
Into being.
Unity creating one nature,
Sharing in your dual nature
Of God and Man.
Born of God,
In the Holy Spirit,
I am wed to You
And made ready,
Sun on sun,
For Eternity.

Remembering my frame,
And my need,
Stir into flame
Your Godly Presence,
So that the Bridegroom
Of my Soul
May this day
Take to Himself
The bride He won
From the Cross,
And I ,
Dust of the Earth,
May know the sacred bliss
Of having been chosen.
Being chosen,
And living, in the flesh,
The Life of God.

©2012 Joann Nelander

Many Veils

Still the many veils
Stand between us.
I know they are the weave
Of my concupiscence,
Hanging over my heart,
Weighing the corners
Of my smile,
Hiding me from You
In my shame.

Must I forgive myself
For being other
Than Your Christ?
My imperfection,
And repeated falls
Spoil my high hopes,
But I find them useful as well,
For the crushing of my pride.

The temptation to reign
In the place of God
Is Satan’s prompt,
And plays persistently,
Appealing in its disguise
As progressive,
And Evolution at its finest.

Unveiled before you
In humility
I see my call to be least,
And allow You to reign
Great in me.

Lord, triumph over vain glory,
Accomplish all
The Father’s desires for me,
That my baptismal garment
Of purest white
May appear
In all the colors
Of Your Glory,
God resplendent
Even in His smallest work
And humblest creature.

Crown of Thorns

Crown of Thorns,
Kingship crowned,
Where the diamonds?
Where the gold?
Riverlets of Your Mercy
Covering Holy Face.

Crown of Thorns,
Kingship in rejection,
Shining as diamonds,
Pure as gold,
Blood, all holy,
Innocence dying on a Cross,
Satisfying the Father’s desire
For sons and daughters
Made holy in His Christ,
Now by our willing,
And humble assent.

Crown of Thorns,
Glorious Redeemer,
They kingdom come.

Even Slaves and the Persecuted Can Preach it

No one can chain the Word of God.  Our bishops couldn’t have picked a more appropriate reading for this day, if they tried. Even slaves, those in chains  and the persecuted can preach it.  So preach it, People. Preach it!

Phil 2:12-18

My beloved, obedient as you have always been,
not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent,
work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
For God is the one who, for his good purpose,
works in you both to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life,
so that my boast for the day of Christ may be
that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
But, even if I am poured out as a libation
upon the sacrificial service of your faith,
I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.
In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

Under My Roof

O my Lord,
My Friend,
Your saints labored so
To remove the roof
That stood between You
And their friend in need.

Here in this morning,
It was You,
Who labored,
In Your Sacrifice.

To enter under my roof,
You forgave me,
That nothing
Might stand in the way
Of Your coming to me,
In my need.

To my delight.
I am ,now, tabernacle,
Ciborium and chalice.
I hold You,
Body,mind soul
And divinity.
Under my roof.

Here in my heart,
You labored,
And now rest.
What joy!
What sweetness,
Having You
For this moment
Of holy time,
That I may be healed.

©2012 Joann Nelander All rights reserved

Make of Me a Vessel

Lord , make of me, a vessel,
Filled to over-flowing with my God.
Transform my water,
That becoming wine,
I may be poured out
At His will and direction,
As medicine and libation,
For body, mind and soul,
Ever joyful in purity,
And grateful in thanksgiving.
Amen.

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Now

Long Now,

Time unending,

Enduring immediacy,

Poorly perceived.

©2011 Joann Nelander

Poetry Picnic  Week 19

Divine Office

Christmas Blessing

Mannheim Steamroller: Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (h/t Barb at Suffering With Joy)

 

 

Advent – Prayer in Waiting

Advent is upon my soul.
Divine gift of season,
I listen for the cry of a First Born Son,
Begotten before Time begun,
And enfleshed in the Virgin’s womb.

I come to her,
Who is the Ark,
Your Mercy Seat.
Kneeling beside her,
In these pregnant moments,
I lay my head upon her lap.

Her wonderment, and awe,
In steadfast contemplation,
Inspire angels’ songs.

I hear their reverent voices
In my night.
Their chorus bids me come.
Come to the stable of simplicity.

Leave the noisy city for a deserted place,
The Wilderness, whose hidden way
Leads to the waiting manger,
Now, in expectant readiness,
For the Food, that will feed
The hungry world.

My Advent prayer,
Come, O Holy Infant!
Come to my straw

 

©2010 Joann Nelander

Listening to Love

What are you saying, dear Lord?

You Who speak with Your poor creature.

Give voice to Your desire.

Place Your lips to my ear.

 

How do You speak?

Will I hear a voice?

See a vision?

Feel Your stirrings in my soul?

Will there be thunder as on Sinai

Or the breeze of Carmel?

 

Can I see in my blindness?

Hear, despite ears that have inclined to foreign gods?

Barnacles of perversion weigh on me.

Encrustations of sin hamper my ascent.

 

Give me feathers,

And wings of desire,

That I might rise, weightless and free,

Drawn by Your Love for me,

As music on the Wind of Your Spirit.

 

©2011 Joann Nelander

Babe of All Perfection

O happy Babe!

Babe of All Perfection,

Your little heart, so full of love,

Your face radiant,

Reflected in Your mother’s gaze.

Your soul, ablaze!

Hearth of longing and compassion,

The Family of Nations comes to adore You

 

©2011 Joann Nelander

Well of Sorrows

You behold my inner groaning.
You grieve within me.
Low pitched moaning
Stirs my depths,
Awaiting  promised vindication.
No eye, but Yours,
Beholds the river of unspent tears,
Hidden from the world of Men.
Prayer without ceasing
Issues forth
For Your ears only.

Words without sound
Shape my inner being
Fashioning a future full of bliss.
Hope of hallowed blessing,
Worthy of a king,
Yet reserved for but a slave.

O hidden well of sorrow
Dare always hope.
Here comes in triumph and thanksgiving,
The dawn of Day Spring
And Morning Star.

Not yet,
But always present.
In Faith, believing.
The Time of the Bridegroom
Coming to claim His Bride,
Robed now in wedding garments,
Washed resplendent
By crystalline waters.
Purified eyes of soul’s desire,
Embrace the eternal Son as His Beloved.

Well of sorrow,
House of Clay,
Delight now appearing
Open unto Eternity
The door of unending Joy
Hearts beating now as One.
Thy Kingdom come.

© 2011  Joann Nelander

New Day Dawning

O Lord,  I have no doubt
Of Faith’s fulfillment.
I no longer ask "when,"
For passing days,
But flavor and add splendor,
To my Sabbath Rest,
My dream of Love unending.

If weary of this wasteland
Spring returns with leaf and bud.
Birds’ refrain and cricket chirp
Pull back the curtain,
Time and Sin descended,
To light on promise
Dawning of New Day.

Copyright  2011 Joann Nelander

Virgin Mary Consoles Eve

This painting is so consoling, I just have to share it again since Advent brings us closer and closer to the precious moment of our Savior’s birth.  He comes to save Fallen Man, and with such a gentle hand.

“Virgin Mary Consoles Eve”


Crayon and pencil by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO
Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey

A Prophecy Concerning Egypt, Assyria and Israel


From the book of the prophet Isaiah
19:16-24

The future conversion of Egypt and Assyria

On that day the Egyptians shall be like women, trembling with fear, because of the Lord of hosts shaking his fist at them. And the land of Judah shall be a terror to the Egyptians. Every time they remember Judah, they shall stand in dread because of the plan which the Lord of hosts has in mind for them.

On that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt speaking the language of Canaan and swearing by the Lord of hosts; one shall be called “City of the Sun.”

On that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the land of Egypt, and a sacred pillar to the Lord near the boundary. It shall be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt, when they cry out to the Lord against their oppressors, and he sends them a savior to defend and deliver them. The Lord shall make himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day; they shall offer sacrifices and oblations, and fulfill the vows they make to the Lord. Although the Lord shall smite Egypt severely, he shall heal them; they shall turn to the Lord and he shall be won over and heal them.

On that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria; the Assyrians shall enter Egypt, and the Egyptians enter Assyria, and Egypt shall serve Assyria.

On that day Israel shall be a third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land, when the Lord of hosts blesses it: “Blessed be my people Egypt, and the work of my hands Assyria, and my inheritance, Israel.”