Playing with God

Don’t go alone.
Take God dancing.
Swim in Him.
Chase butterflies by His side.
Taste Him in the ice cream.
Try to find Him hiding in broccoli.
Look for Him in a tickle.
God goes undercover in every hug, wink and smile.
You can’t miss Him in a kiss.

You are the dimple in God’s smile.
He delights in your laughter.
When He throws you in the air,
Never fear, He catches you on the way down.
Did you know, He’s got your picture on His fridge?

©2012 Joann Nelander

A Man Clothed in Sin

A man clothed in sin
Walked the long aisle
To stand before the Crucifix.

Long years,
No tears,
He came to say,
“You died for me,
And I don’t give a damn!”

The hardened before the Hallowed,
The clock running down,
Time spent and unreflected,
Deeds done and unrepentant.

Challenged to say the words,
He began,
“You died for me,
And I don’t give…”

Undaunted, he repeated,
“You died for me
And I don’t…..”
Gaze focused
On that bloodied Corpse,
Resolute, again, he began.
“You died for me…”
…….
“You died for me…”
“You died for me!”

Tears, tears,
Rivers of tears,
Years unspent,
And now in flood.

Miracles at the Red Sea,
Yet, none greater
Than the Passover,
One innocent Lamb,
Slain, and yet standing,
Lifted up,
Drawing thee.

© 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

 

Inspired by another story :

 

MONDAY, 6 AUGUST 2007

Cardinal Lustiger RIP 1926-2007


I didn’t always agree with the former Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who died yesterday, but his tenure of that see brought a great deal more good than harm, I think. On his watch, the Catholic life of the city gained a huge boost; the new movements revitalized many parishes, and vocations to the priesthood soared. I remember that he habitually celebrated Mass in Notre Dame almost every Sunday evening for the young people who came to that Mass; a great example to the other bishops of France, many of whom are facing the priestly extinction of their dioceses.
I heard a story attributed to him—maybe it is one he told rather than a story about himself (since he himself was a Jewish convert). I was given to understand that the story is a true one.
Two boys were, out of mischief, determined to tease their parish priest, so they went to confession and made up outrageous sins, just to see what the priest would say. The priest, listening to the second boy, realizing that he was being ‘had’, and hurt by the mockery of the sacrament, asked the second lad as a ‘penance’ to go to the crucifix over the tabernacle and shout out loud, three times ‘you died for me, and I don’t give a damn’. The lad did as he was asked; by the third time he was in tears. Some years later, he was ordained a priest.
May Jean-Marie Lustiger rest in peace.

This Day For God

John the Baptist baptizing Christ

Image via Wikipedia

Father, I thank you for this day, this holy day.

As I rise from sleep, may my soul arise, leaving sin to seek Your face.

As I wash in preparation for new day, I recall my Baptism

and the cleansing River of Life that flowed from the side of my Redeemer.

As I clothe my body, I remember the dignity of Christ and the Name by which He calls me.

I am clothed in the robes of a priest to sacrifice with Jesus in my day.

The words of a prophet live on my lips ready to give an account of my hope and joy.

The Kings of Kings proclaims me a king,

and by the power of His throne in heaven,

He rules in my life

and the lives my life touches through all generations.

Through my prayer of faith, covered in humility as the Blood of Christ, angels minister to the people of God,

bringing peace, protection, strength and provision

as I proclaim my “Amen” to His Will and His prayer “Father, forgive them.”

Go before me,Lord. Walk with me, Lord. Be my rearguard, Precious Savior, Warrior King!

You, Who live in me,  suffer in my flesh that which is to be in this hour on Your Cross.

You are “more than a conqueror” as You bring about Your kingdom in this day.

O Love sublime, my life is Thine.

 

By Joann Nelander

The Hollow of Your Hand

The Hollow of Your Hand

Hollow in the palm of Your hand,
See me here, a child hiding in this darkness, Which is All Light and All Truth.
The brightness of Your Sun has blinded me.
I grasp Your hand and cling to You, my Three, my One.

Bright Angel announce your Truth in my soul.
Let me not fear the shadows,
But find all things awakening anew my confidence in You,
O Truth and Trusted One.

Reign. God of my heart;
I have sought You moment by moment,
Day after day.
Holy Solace, wrap me as in petals.
Heart of healing, open in the warmth of a new and holy day,
The Lord makes new day, Day of the Lord.

No fear here, all comfort, all strength, all joy.
I have become a child in the palm of Your hand, Ever resting, ever secure, O Holy Love,
To You abandoned, to You promised, to You wed.

By Joann Nelander

A King, A Victim, A Priest

A king,
A victim,
A priest,

A king accused,
A victim scourged,
A priest condemned,

A king crowned and robed,
A victim beaten and humiliated,
A priest on the altar of the Cross,

O Anointed One,
O Crucified One,
O Holy One,
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done.
Eternal Priesthood won.

“Move the Hands of God by Prayer”

In the silence God invites without words.  My prayers are often noisy affairs filled with faces, memories, love and feelings of sorrow.  I am often overwhelmed and moved to tears by the poignancy of a fleeting thought. My heart tells me that what seems insignificant holds a treasure.  God’s gifts often come in disguise like the beggar at the door who is Christ.  The Spirit says minister here in this place at this time; reach back through the years to move the hand of God by prayer.

In prayer, I am with God, the Lord of All, including Time.  I may have missed or miss used moments to do good, but God reigns in Eternity, as present in the Past as He is in my heartbeat.  God’s hands are not tied by the flow of Time.  He is there and here and Eternal Now.  My lowly prayer, clothed in The Name, breaks down the wall that stands between my need or regret, and blessing.  Like the little donkey that carried the King of Kings, my humble prayer sets in motion the flow of grace to love, to heal, to mend, to restore and bless anew.

TotusTuus – St. Louis De Montfort

Explanation of Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary:

Opening Hymn of Compline at Mr.Saviour Monastery

A Little Night Prayer

Gardening and the Soul – 101

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Lent means that spring is just around the corner.  Looking at my garden, it was obvious that it was in need of some serious tender loving care. All I had the energy for was to uproot a few of the hundreds of weeds, but I did begin. Immediately, a thought interrupted my picking. “Many souls are dead and don’t even know it.” Surprised by the seriousness of the pronouncement, I turned to the Lord,  “Why is that, Lord?”

“Look at the weeds you’re uprooting; they look healthy and well, don’t they? Yet, you know they’re counterfeits; you root them up.  Many people no longer know what’s good for them.  They opened their soil to the world and allowed the world to decide what grew in them;  no questions asked!

Empty places invite weeds.  Weeds take the place of authentic, productive life.  Soon they choke out the good by sheer  numbers and their greedy appetites.  Weeds look pretty good for a while.  It isn’t until you miss the flowers and the fruit,  that you notice something has gone awry.  In life, people are like gardens. Some are dying but still look good.  Sin like weeds is deceptive.  People are kept busy and entertained by counterfeit life.  Yet they are loosing ground to the world.  They are losing the reward of their time and effort.  Their work and play have no eternal end,  just transitory vigor and flash. It’s really death wrapped in greenery.

This morning I weeded my entire garden. I also went to confession.

Days of Elijah – Paul Wilbur

Great way to begin a day and a renewed life.

"Everything Is Ready Now" – Towards Living

Because Lent leads us to think about the Last Four Things, it is a good preparation for life as it is for death.  A little more than a year ago, Richard John Neuhaus died, Jan. 8, 2009.  On that day First Things reprinted an article he published in 2000, Born Toward Dying.(Read here) It recounted his near death experience, which became for him as much a confirmation of life as it was a preparation for death.

Neuhaus recalls the children’s nighttime prayer  “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take.”

“Death is the most everyday of everyday things. It is not simply that thousands of people die every day, that thousands will die this day, although that too is true. Death is the warp and woof of existence in the ordinary, the quotidian, the way things are…..Every going to sleep is a little death, a rehearsal for the real thing.

Neuhaus surveys our way with death from reticence and silence to “processing”, even to commercial exploitation. Whether your own or a loved one, he writes:

“The worst thing is not the sorrow or the loss or the heartbreak. Worse is to be encountered by death and not to be changed by the encounter.”

Neuhaus writes of his own encounter(summarized):

The days in the intensive care unit was an experience familiar to anyone who has ever been there. I had never been there before, except to visit others, and that is nothing like being there. I was struck by my disposition of utter passivity. There was absolutely nothing I could do or wanted to do, except to lie there and let them do whatever they do in such a place. Indifferent to time, I neither knew nor cared whether it was night or day. I recall counting sixteen different tubes and other things plugged into my body before I stopped counting….

Astonishment and passivity were strangely mixed. I confess to having thought of myself as a person very much in charge. Friends, meaning, I trust, no unkindness, had sometimes described me as a control freak. Now there was nothing to be done, nothing that I could do, except be there. Here comes a most curious part of the story, and readers may make of it what they will. Much has been written on “near death” experiences. I had always been skeptical of such tales. I am much less so now. I am inclined to think of it as a “near life” experience, and it happened this way.

It was a couple of days after leaving intensive care, and it was night. I could hear patients in adjoining rooms moaning and mumbling and occasionally calling out; the surrounding medical machines were pumping and sucking and bleeping as usual. Then, all of a sudden, I was jerked into an utterly lucid state of awareness. I was sitting up in the bed staring intently into the darkness, although in fact I knew my body was lying flat. What I was staring at was a color like blue and purple, and vaguely in the form of hanging drapery. By the drapery were two “presences.” I saw them and yet did not see them, and I cannot explain that. But they were there, and I knew that I was not tied to the bed. I was able and prepared to get up and go somewhere. And then the presences—one or both of them, I do not know—spoke. This I heard clearly. Not in an ordinary way, for I cannot remember anything about the voice. But the message was beyond mistaking: “Everything is ready now.”

That was it. They waited for a while, maybe for a minute. Whether they were waiting for a response or just waiting to see whether I had received the message, I don’t know. “Everything is ready now.” It was not in the form of a command, nor was it an invitation to do anything. They were just letting me know. Then they were gone, and I was again flat on my back with my mind racing wildly. I had an iron resolve to determine right then and there what had happened. Had I been dreaming? In no way. I was then and was now as lucid and wide awake as I had ever been in my life.

Tell me that I was dreaming and you might as well tell me that I was dreaming that I wrote the sentence before this one. Testing my awareness, I pinched myself hard, and ran through the multiplication tables, and recalled the birth dates of my seven brothers and sisters, and my wits were vibrantly about me. The whole thing had lasted three or four minutes, maybe less. I resolved at that moment that I would never, never let anything dissuade me from the reality of what had happened. Knowing myself, I expected I would later be inclined to doubt it. It was an experience as real, as powerfully confirmed by the senses, as anything I have ever known. That was some seven years ago. Since then I have not had a moment in which I was seriously tempted to think it did not happen. It happened—as surely, as simply, as undeniably as it happened that I tied my shoelaces this morning. I could as well deny the one as deny the other, and were I to deny either I would surely be mad.

“Everything is ready now.” I would be thinking about that incessantly during the months of convalescence. My theological mind would immediately go to work on it. They were angels, of course. Angelos simply means “messenger.” There were no white robes or wings or anything of that sort. As I said, I did not see them in any ordinary sense. But there was a message; therefore there were messengers. Clearly, the message was that I could go somewhere with them. Not that I must go or should go, but simply that they were ready if I was. Go where? To God, or so it seemed. I understood that they were ready to get me ready to see God. It was obvious enough to me that I was not prepared, in my present physical and spiritual condition, for the beatific vision, for seeing God face to face. They were ready to get me ready. This comports with the doctrine of purgatory, that there is a process of purging and preparation to get us ready to meet God. I should say that their presence was entirely friendly. There was nothing sweet or cloying, and there was no urgency about it. It was as though they just wanted to let me know. The decision was mine as to when or whether I would take them up on the offer…………………………

Tentatively, I say, I began to think that I might live. It was not a particularly joyful prospect. Everything was shrouded by the thought of death, that I had almost died, that I may still die, that everyone and everything is dying. As much as I was grateful for all the calls and letters, I harbored a secret resentment. These friends who said they were thinking about me and praying for me all the time, I knew they also went shopping and visited their children and tended to their businesses, and there were long times when they were not thinking about me at all. More important, they were forgetting the primordial, overwhelming, indomitable fact: we are dying! Why weren’t they as crushingly impressed by that fact as I was?

Surprising to me, and to others, I did what had to be done with my work. I read manuscripts, wrote my columns, made editorial decisions, but all listlessly. It didn’t really matter. After some time, I could shuffle the few blocks to the church and say Mass. At the altar, I cried a lot, and hoped the people didn’t notice. To think that I’m really here after all, I thought, at the altar, at the axis mundi, the center of life. And of death. I would be helped back to the house, and days beyond numbering I would simply lie on the sofa looking out at the back yard. That birch tree, which every winter looked as dead as dead could be, was budding again. Would I be here to see it in full leaf, to see its leaves fall in the autumn? Never mind. It doesn’t matter.

It took a long time after the surgeries, almost two years, before the day came when I suddenly realized that the controlling thought that day had not been the thought of death. And now, in writing this little essay, it all comes back. I remember where I have been, and where I will be again, and where we will all be.

God bless you Richard John Neuhaus for being a part of my living and laying the ground work for my dying. No doubt we’ll meet someday and know each other in our depths of being;simply a glance will unleash a new joy and speak volumes of God’s mercies and designs.


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.

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – Dec. 8th

Podcast for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

H/T  the Jesuits in Britain.

Visit pray-as-you-go.org for a marvelous prayer experience.  Get God on your pod.

Goodness and Peace in Man

From My Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis:

Goodness and Peace in Man

First keep peace with yourself; then you will be able to bring peace to others. A peaceful man does more good than a learned man. Whereas a passionate man turns even good to evil and is quick to believe evil, the peaceful man, being good himself, turns all things to good. The man who is at perfect ease is never suspicious, but the disturbed and discontented spirit is upset by many a suspicion. He neither rests himself nor permits others to do so. He often says what ought not to be said and leaves undone what ought to be done. He is concerned with the duties of others but neglects his own. Direct your zeal, therefore, first upon yourself; then you may with justice exercise it upon those about you. You are well versed in coloring your own actions with excuses which you will not accept from others, though it would be more just to accuse yourself and excuse your brother. If you wish men to bear with you, you must bear with them. Behold, how far you are from true charity and humility which does not know how to be angry with anyone, or to be indignant save only against self! It is no great thing to associate with the good and gentle, for such association is naturally pleasing. Everyone enjoys a peaceful life and prefers persons of congenial habits. But to be able to live at peace with harsh and perverse men, or with the undisciplined and those who irritate us, is a great grace, a praiseworthy and manly thing. Some people live at peace with themselves and with their fellow men, but others are never at peace with themselves nor do they bring it to anyone else. These latter are a burden to everyone, but they are more of a burden to themselves. A few, finally, live at peace with themselves and try to restore it to others. Now, all our peace in this miserable life is found in humbly enduring suffering rather than in being free from it. He who knows best how to suffer will enjoy the greater peace, because he is the conqueror of himself, the master of the world, a friend of Christ, and an heir of heaven.

As I Am

Prayer by Fr. Raymond:

Because I am obnoxious, forgive me Lord.

Because I am dishonest, forgive me Lord.

Because I am egotistical , forgive me Lord.

Because I am undisciplined, forgive me Lord.

Because I am weak, forgive me Lord.

Because I am impure, forgive me Lord.

Because I am arrogant, forgive me Lord.

Because I am self-centered, forgive me Lord.

Because I am pompous, forgive me Lord.

Because I am insincere, forgive me Lord.

Because I am judgmental , forgive me Lord.

Because I am grasping, forgive me Lord.

Because I am shallow, forgive me Lord.

Because I am inconsistent, forgive me Lord.

Because I am unfaithful, forgive me Lord.

Because I am immoral, forgive me Lord.

Because I am disobedient, forgive me Lord.

Because I am selfish, forgive me Lord.

Because I am lukewarm, forgive me Lord.

Because I am slothful, forgive me Lord.

Because I am unloving, forgive me Lord.

Because I am uncommitted, forgive me Lord.

Because I am sinful, forgive me Lord.

Because I am loved by You, thank you Lord.

Loosing the World of Face to Face?

How much of your world is face to face?  Twitter, Facebook,virtual networking, email; all “thin community”.  “Thick community” is eye to eye, face to face and human.

Os Guinness says that four things are important to humans: meaning, belonging, identity (Who am I?) and  purpose (What am I here for?) Reminding me of Socrates’ “The unreflected life is not worth living.” Guinness writes:

“We are, quite literally, spread thin across space and time, potentially everywhere and nowhere at once. We thus tend to have, in the words of Gilbert Meilaender, ‘not an individual identity, but fragments of experience; not the narrative of a life that is in some sense a whole, but a decentered flow of experience.’ “

As I peek in on Facebook, I leave feeling as though I don’t know anyone anymore, just shouts and waves as comments and faces rush by. (Twitter’s even worse!)  Am I alone in feeling this?

Guinness has an engaging discussion:  “Survival of the fastest: Living sanely when life is fired point blank.” on the Veritas Forum .

Hold on to Your Joy

I don’t know about you but I have to fight to hold on to peace and joy.  A friend brought me a gift yesterday as a memento of her trip to celebrate St. Joseph’s Feast Day with her family. I prayed this morning than opened it for encouragement.  Here is the answer to my prayer:

Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise me, in this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His Tabernacle He shall hide me; He sall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing; yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.  When You said, “seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 27:3-8

This is all the more meaningful to me because I did an oil painting of the face of Christ and it hangs near my desk.  I do gaze on Him throughout the day.  Sometimes, like today, I need a reminder.

Intense Hunger for God – Purgatory

Since these Easter days lead up to Mercy Sunday, I read a little from Divine Mercy in My Soul, St. Faustina’s diary.  Here’s what got my attention. It has to do with purgatory.

1185 July 9.1937. This evening, one of the deceased sisters came and asked me for one day of fasting and to offer all my [spiritual] exercises on that day for her. I answered that I would.

1186 From early morning on the following day, I offered everything for her intention.  During Holy Mass, I had a brief experience of her torment, I experienced such intense hunger for God that I seemed to be dying of the desire to become united with Him.  This lasted only a short time, but I understood what the longing of the souls in purgatory was like.

Praying for the souls in purgatory is, of course, a good work and a good habit, but sometimes I lose track of who they actually are. They can seem a homogenous mass of unknown people, like the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” on our Statue of Liberty.  Who are they to me personally.  For me, they are my mother and father, my husband’s mother and father, sister and brother, my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who have preceded me in death, intimate loved ones awaiting my prayers. Somehow it makes a difference to how I pray and that I pray.

Console Jesus in the Garden


From Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux:

How can a soul so imperfect as mine aspire to the plenitude of
Love? What is the key of this mystery? O my only Friend, why dost
Thou not reserve these infinite longings to lofty souls, to the
eagles that soar in the heights? Alas! I am but a poor little
unfledged bird. I am not an eagle, I have but the eagle's eyes and
heart! Yet, notwithstanding my exceeding littleness, I dare to
gaze upon the Divine Sun of Love, and I burn to dart upwards unto
Him! I would fly, I would imitate the eagles; but all that I can
do is to lift up my little wings--it is beyond my feeble power to
soar. What is to become of me? Must I die of sorrow because of my
helplessness? Oh, no! I will not even grieve. With daring
self-abandonment there will I remain until death, my gaze fixed
upon that Divine Sun. Nothing shall affright me, nor wind nor
rain. And should impenetrable clouds conceal the Orb of Love, and
should I seem to believe that beyond this life there is darkness
only, that would be the hour of perfect joy, the hour in which to
push my confidence to its uttermost bounds. I should not dare to
detach my gaze, well knowing that beyond the dark clouds the sweet
Sun still shines.

So far, O my God, I understand Thy Love for me. But Thou knowest
how often I forget this, my only care. I stray from Thy side, and
my scarcely fledged wings become draggled in the muddy pools of
earth; then I lament "like a young swallow,"and my lament
tells Thee all, and I remember, O Infinite Mercy! that "Thou didst
not come to call the just, but sinners."

Yet shouldst Thou still be deaf to the plaintive cries of Thy
feeble creature, shouldst Thou still be veiled, then I am content
to remain benumbed with cold, my wings bedraggled, and once more I
rejoice in this well-deserved suffering.

O Sun, my only Love, I am happy to feel myself so small, so frail
in Thy sunshine, and I am in peace . . . I know that all the
eagles of Thy Celestial Court have pity on me, they guard and
defend me, they put to flight the vultures--the demons that fain
would devour me. I fear them not, these demons, I am not destined
to be their prey, but the prey of the Divine Eagle.

O Eternal Word! O my Saviour! Thou art the Divine Eagle Whom I
love--Who lurest me. Thou Who, descending to this land of exile,
didst will to suffer and to die, in order to bear away the souls
of men and plunge them into the very heart of the Blessed
Trinity--Love's Eternal Home! Thou Who, reascending into
inaccessible light, dost still remain concealed here in our vale
of tears under the snow-white semblance of the Host, and this, to
nourish me with Thine own substance! O Jesus! forgive me if I tell
Thee that Thy Love reacheth even unto folly. And in face of this
folly, what wilt Thou, but that my heart leap up to Thee? How
could my trust have any limits?

I know that the Saints have made themselves as fools for Thy sake;
being 'eagles,' they have done great things. I am too little for
great things, and my folly it is to hope that Thy Love accepts me
as victim; my folly it is to count on the aid of Angels and
Saints, in order that I may fly unto Thee with thine own wings, O
my Divine Eagle! For as long a time as Thou willest I shall
remain--my eyes fixed upon Thee. I long to be allured by Thy
Divine Eyes; I would become Love's prey. I have the hope that Thou
wilt one day swoop down upon me, and, bearing me away to the
Source of all Love, Thou wilt plunge me at last into that glowing
abyss, that I may become for ever its happy Victim.

O Jesus! would that I could tell all _little souls_ of Thine
ineffable condescension! I feel that if by any possibility Thou
couldst find one weaker than my own, Thou wouldst take delight in
loading her with still greater favours, provided that she
abandoned herself with entire confidence to Thine Infinite Mercy.
But, O my Spouse, why these desires of mine to make known the
secrets of Thy Love? Is it not Thyself alone Who hast taught them
to me, and canst Thou not unveil them to others? Yea! I know it,
and this I implore Thee! . . .

I ENTREAT THEE TO LET THY DIVINE EYES REST UPON A VAST NUMBER OF
LITTLE SOULS, I ENTREAT THEE TO CHOOSE, IN THIS WORLD, A LEGION OF
LITTLE VICTIMS OF THY LOVE.
(The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Ame)


Holy Thursday – Agony

How are we to understand the Agony in the Garden?  Sweating drops of blood is beyond the ordinary experience of the sinner or saint.  Look at those who suffer well for a glimpse into the mystery.

St. Therese of Lisieux experienced her first hemorrhage on Holy Thursday 1896.  In her Story of a Soul we read something of her agony:

For several days, during the month of August, Therese remained, so to speak, beside herself, and implored that prayers might be offered for her. She had never before been seen in this state, and in her inexpressible anguish she kept repeating: “Oh! how necessary it is to pray for the agonising! If one only knew!” One night she entreated the Infirmarian to sprinkle her bed with Holy Water, saying: “I am besieged by the devil. I do not see him, but I feel him; he torments me and holds me with a grip of iron, that I may not find one crumb of comfort; he augments my woes, that I may be driven to despair. . . . And I cannot pray. I can only look at Our Blessed Lady and say: ‘Jesus!’ How needful is that prayer we use at Compline: ‘Procul recedant somnia et noctium phantasmata!’ (‘Free us from the phantoms of the night.’) Something mysterious is happening within me. I am not suffering for myself, but for some other soul, and satan is angry.” The Infirmarian, startled, lighted a blessed candle, and the spirit of darkness fled, never to return; but the sufferer remained to the end in a state of extreme anguish. One day, while she was contemplating the beautiful heavens, some one said to her: “soon your home will be there, beyond the blue sky. How lovingly you gaze at it!” She only smiled, but afterwards she said to the Mother Prioress: “Dear Mother, the Sisters do not realise my sufferings. Just now, when looking at the sky, I merely admired the beauty of the material heaven–the true Heaven seems more than ever closed against me. At first their words troubled me, but an interior voice whispered: ‘Yes, you were looking to Heaven out of love. Since your soul is entirely delivered up to love, all your actions, even the most indifferent, are marked with this divine seal.’ At once I was consoled.”

My Desires Are Infinite – Carmel

Here is a site with much to offer by secular Carmelites . Their calling: “to listen to hear the whisper of God in the silence of our hearts. We seek Him, who we know loves us, and contemplate His wonders…… The meditations (& podcasts) are taken directly from the writings of the Church Doctors of Prayer, Mysticism, Confidence and Missionaries (Saints Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Thérèse of Lisieux) as well as many other Carmelites you may not have known before!”

Meditations from Carmel:

Mother Isabel of the Sacred Heart

“My desires are infinite. . . I have often made  them known: firstly, the salvation of souls, of all the souls now on earth and of those which will exist until the end of the world; then that divine love may reign in every soul; that those consecrated to God, especially priests, may reach the height of sanctity to which  their vocation calls them; to obtain baptism for  infants; that Purgatory may free its captives and may be closed for ever by souls being taught how to fly straight to heaven on leaving this world; that physical and bodily pain may be consoled, soothed, and to a great extent abolished. Yet these desires, like Saint Teresa’s become very grievous when I reflect that Jesus Himself could not obtain the salvation of all souls, nor make Himself loved by all, nor save them all from the tortures of Purgatory or from Limbo. I am troubled by the profound mystery of God s will being frustrated in His wishes by the contrary designs of His creatures, and I pray: “Father, since this is so, I entreat Thee to grant as far as possible the longings of the Heart of Jesus, for all His desires are mine,” and this brings me peace.

This was, for a long time, my only way of hearing Mass. When the sacred Host was up raised after the words of Consecration, I used to say: “Father, behold Thy beloved Son in “Whom Thou has set all Thy pleasure; hear Him!” This “Hear Him!” which expressed all my longings, meant: “Grant all He asks; realize all His desires!”

– Mother Isabel of the Sacred Heart

Happier Than the Blessed Mother?

From Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux:

Speaking of that Blessed Mother, I must tell you of one of my
simple ways. Sometimes I find myself saying to her: “Dearest
Mother, it seems to me that I am happier than you. I have you for my Mother, and you have no Blessed Virgin to love. . . . It is
true, you are the Mother of Jesus, but you have given Him to me; and He, from the Cross, has given you to be our Mother–thus we are richer than you! Long ago, in your humility, you wished to become the little handmaid of the Mother of God; and I–poor little creature–am not your handmaid but your child! You are the Mother of Jesus, and you are also _mine!”_

Making the Ordinary Holy

From Story of a Soul by St.Therese of Lisieux:

Questioned as to her method of sanctifying meals, she answered:

"In the refectory we have but one thing to do: perform a lowly
action with lofty thoughts. I confess that the sweetest
aspirations of love often come to me in the refectory. Sometimes I
am brought to a standstill by the thought that were Our Lord in my
place He would certainly partake of those same dishes which are
served to me. It is quite probable that during His lifetime He
tasted of similar food--He must have eaten bread and fruit.

"Here are my little rubrics:

"I imagine myself at Nazareth, in the house of the Holy Family.
If, for instance, I am served with salad, cold fish, wine, or
anything pungent in taste, I offer it to St. Joseph. To our
Blessed Lady I offer hot foods and ripe fruit, and to the Infant
Jesus our feast-day fare, especially rice and preserves. Lastly,
when I am served a wretched dinner I say cheerfully: 'To-day, my
little one, it is all for you!'"


Love's Little Way

For those of us who are small at heart, ill equipped for great undertakings, yet desiring to fulfill in perfection the Will of God in our little lives simply to please Him, take heart.  There is a Little Way.

From Story of a Soul by St. Theresa of Lisieux – Manuscript B, Chapter IX – MY VOCATION IS LOVE:

St. Theresa of Lisieux, “I feel the vocation of the WARRIOR, THE PRIEST, THE APOSTLE, THE DOCTOR, THE MARTYR.  finally I feel the need and the desire of carrying out the most heroic deeds for You, O Jesus. I feel within my  the courage of the crusader, the Papal Guard, and I would want to die on the field of battle in defense of the Church………….

At prayer these desires made me suffer a true martydom. I opened the Epistles of St. Paul to seek some relief. The 12th and 13th chapters of the First Epistle to the Corinthians fell before my eyes. I read, in the first, that not all can be apostles, prophets, and doctors, etc., that the Church is composed of different members, and that the eye cannot also be at the same time the hand.

The answer was clear, but it did not satisfy my desires, it did not give me peace…. Without being discouraged I continued my reading, and this phrase comforted me: “Earnestly desire the more perfect gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way” (1 Cor 12:31). And the Apostle explains how all gifts, even the most perfect, are nothing without Love… that charity is the excellent way that leads surely to God. At last I had found rest…. Considering the mystical Body of the Church, I had not recognized myself in any of the members described by St. Paul, or rather, I wanted to recognize myself in all… Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that if the Church has a body composed of different members, the noblest and most necessary of all the members would not be lacking to her. I understood that the Church has a heart, and that this heart burns with Love. I understood that Love alone makes its members act, that if this Love were to be extinguished, the Apostles would no longer preach the Gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood… I understood that Love embraces all vocations, that Love is all things, that it embraces all times and all places… in a word, that it is eternal!

Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: “O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation, my vocation is Love!… Yes, I have found my place in the Church, and it is you, O my God, who have given me this place… in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be Love!…. Thus I shall be all things: thus my dream shall be realized!!!”

I am a child… It is not riches or glory (not even the glory of Heaven) that this child asks for… No, she asks for Love. She knows but one desire: to love you, Jesus. Glorious deeds are forbidden her; she cannot preach the Gospel or shed her blood… But what does that matter, her brothers work in her place, and she, a little child, stays close to the throne of the King and Queen, and loves for her brothers who are in the combat… But how shall she show her love, since love proves itself by deeds? Well! the little child will strew flowers, she will embalm the royal throne with their fragrance, she will sing with a silver voice the canticle of Love.

Yes, my Beloved, I wish to spend my life thus… I have no other means of proving my love except by strewing flowers, that is to say, letting no little sacrifice pass, no look, no word–profiting by the littlest actions, and doing them out of love. I wish to suffer out of love and to rejoice out of love; thus I shall strew flowers before your throne. I shall not find one without scattering its petals before you… and in strewing my flowers I will sing (can one weep in doing so joyous an action?) I will sing, even if my roses must be gathered from among thorns; and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter shall be my song.

Begin today with a desire and a prayer, looking not at yourself  but at the generous Heart of Jesus.

Do I hear an, “Amen” ?

Speaking of Dreams

I’ll get to the dream, but here’s how I got to it. I’m on a religious bent this morning.  Always happens after mass.  Something got me thinking of what “Lioness” means to me,during the sermon.  You know how sermons go, you hear the sermon and the Holy Spirit at the same time.  Sometimes the Spirit goes beyond the sermon and so today I ended up recalling a dream.  When I got home and read the Anchoress’ dream appeal from Nice Deb, I thought more about that dream I had years ago. Nothing, by the way, like Nice Deb’s flash-tastic graphic.

By profession, I’m a registered nurse.  Working the wards as a student at night was always a cause for anxiety.  Later on, working sprawling hospital wards as charge nurse also made me feel a bit insecure, too many patients, too many rooms.  IV’s could be running out or someone in trouble.  We didn’t have all the fancy monitors they do nowadays.  At night my anxieties would speak up in dreams.

The dream I remembered today went like this: I was on a hospital ward, and the ward was immense (though in my dream the ward looked more like a castle) and the halls seemed endless.  Suddenly, I was aware of a great lion roaming the passage ways. Now, in my dream, the ward/castle became even bigger, extending to several floors above and below.The lion prowled like a monitor.  His appearance seemed threatening, but instead of fear, I was flooded with a profound sense of security.  End of dream!

In those days my life was in a bit of flux, with husband in  school, me , with two children to care for,  living with my in-laws, and working nights in a newborn intensive care unit. Waking from the dream I wanted to know who the lion was.  I prayed and them opened the bible to a page with the phrase, “Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of my husband the lion” Esther C:  24.  I was ecstatic!  That day, I took it to  mean my husband Jim would take care of us with God’s help.  In other words, “Not to worry.”

Since the Lord speaks on many levels, and with multiple meanings, in this day I think the Lord is saying, “I am your Husband the Lion who guards and protects the passages of your life.  You are my bride, my castle.”

Jesus Takes Revenge

In today’s reading, Jer 11:18-20, Jeremiah wants revenge.  He sees himself as a trusting lamb led to slaughter; although he knew he was in danger, he did not realize that his enemies were hatching plots against him.  Jeremiah wants vengeance and he wants to be there to witness it in spades.

“Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!”

In today’s homily, Monsignor, asks, “How does Jesus take vengeance on His enemies?”  Monsignor answers,  “He dies for them!”

Christians imitate Jesus. Scripture directs us in dealing with our enemies:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44
If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink;
For live coals you will heap on his head, and the LORD will vindicate you. Proverbs 25:22

We are all in the same boat, we are all sinners, enemies of  God, so long as we persist in Sin.  Jesus, for his part, dies for us. He has prayed for his enemies, “Father, forgive them!” He has fed them, “Take and eat!” He has satisfied their thirst, “Take and drink!”

Jesus appeals to the heart of men.  We can turn away.  We can experience, with Jesus, rejection.  In all these circumstances Jesus says pray.  That prayer is powerful, whether it is prayer of praise, worship, thanksgiving, adoration, or petition.

If we could only see it with Heaven’s eyes as John did as he records in the Book of Revelation:

“And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Rev 5:8

“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.”Rev 7:14

What is this washing of their robes, if it is not the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  If it were referring to Baptism, they would not be doing the washing, whereas in Reconciliation we have an active role.

Jesus wants what’s best for each of us. He wants enemies (sinners) to feel the hot coals of  prayer heaped upon them.  To see ourselves as Jesus sees us when we sin can be distressing. Such a moment, though wrenching, is a moment of grace. Jesus desires a response of the heart that sends the sick and sorrowful to show themselves to the priest for healing and forgiveness.

Our revenge is to be like our Christ. Our revenge is to die to ourselves with our Christ.  Our revenge is to see the enemies of Christ come forth from the confessional with tears of joy and thanksgiving in all humility; no longer enemies but as brothers.

What will it take? Prayer.  All are called, moment by moment, while we live, “Repent and believe the Good News!” Mk 1:15

Dark Days Ahead

The Lenten readings are growing darker as Jesus approaches His hour

In Wisdom 2, we read:

The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright…
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.

The Gospel of John, too, sounds an ominous note:

“Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near…But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.” John 7:1,10

Why did things have to go this way.  Why the rejection?  Why the Cross?  And while we’re questioning; why do they sour for us?

Today, Fr. Michael, faced with these questions, asked one of his own (I’m paraphrasing.) Who made us judge and jury?  Who confirmed us in our righteousness; which is, if honest, our self-righteousness?”

The Gospel of Light treads a path through every darkness and Darkness, itself.  Without the stuff of darkness, weakness, war, tragedy and desperate dilemma, we  go unchallenged, self-satisfied.  We pursue our dreams and go willy-nilly, perhaps, even, to our own dissolution, seeing only the darkness around us, and none within.  What we don’t like of Gospel or Church, we ignore or eliminate from our daily lives. “Let us condemn him to a shameful death.”

Until the unthinkable forces itself upon us and our decisions, we are content not to think but to ride the fence. The problems remain out there with “them.”  If we do take a stand and speak the Gospel truth, we find what Jesus found: rejection and betrayal, even from within our families, the cruelest blow.  It might not be explicit.  It may be that no one has time to visit.  Perhaps, the grand-kids are withheld and holidays less joyful.  How doesn’t matter so much as that it happens. We are left on our Cross.

What to do?  Look first to yourself.  Question your ways and your motives.  Repent, is the Gospel word for it.  Then pray and wait.  Wait upon God; first of all with praise and adoration, thanksgiving, and finally with petition.  Place all the rest, loves ones and world, in the Tabernacle with the Lamb who was Slain and still lives.  Then go on; “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” This is the Way until the end of the world and the coming of the Day.

From the Office of Readings – for Friday of fourth week of Lent from Easter Letter of Athanasias:

How fine a thing it is to move from festival to festival, from prayer to prayer, from holy day to holy day. The time is now at hand when we enter on a new beginning: the proclamation of the blessed Passover, in which the Lord was sacrificed.

Great Promises and Favors – St. Gertrude

From The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great: (with my italics noting promises and favors)

May my heart and my soul, with all the substance of my flesh, all my senses, and all the powers of my body and my mind, with all creatures, praise Thee and give Thee thanks, O sweetest Lord, faithful Lover of mankind, for Thy signal mercy, which has not only dissimulated the utterly unworthy preparation with which I have not feared to approached the super celestial banquet of Thy most sacred Body and Blood, but has added this gift to me, the most utterly vile and perfectly useless of Thy creatures. First, of having been assured by Thy grace that all who desire to approach this Sacrament, and who are restrained by fear from a timid conscience, who come to me, who am the least of Thy servants, led by humility, to receive this Sacrament with fruit to eternal life. Thou hast also added that Thou wilt not permit anyone whom Thy justice deems unworthy to abase themselves to ask counsel of me, O Supreme Ruler, Who, through Thou dwellest on high, regardest the humble. (CF. Ps. 112:5).

What prompted Thy mercy, when Thou sawest me approach so often unworthily, to suspend Thy judgment, and not to inflict on me the punishment I deserve? Thou willest to make others worthy by the virtue of humility; and though Thou couldst do so more effectually without my assistance, Thy love, looking upon my misery, made Thee effect this through me, so that thus I may be a sharer in the merits of those who, through my admonitions, enjoy the fruit of salvation.

But, alas this is not the only remedy which my misery requires; nor will one remedy satisfy Thy mercy, O most kind Lord! For (secondly) Thou didst assure my unworthiness that Thou wouldst consider whoever should expose their defects to me, with a contrite and humble heart, guilty or innocent, as I had declared them more or less guilty, and from henceforward Thy grace would so sustain them that They should never again be in such danger from their faults as they had been previously. And thus Thou hast relieved my indigence, which is so great that I have never even for a single day corrected myself as I ought, and yet Thou dost permit me to participate in the victories of others, when Thou, my good God, dost condescend, to give the grace of victory to Thine other more deserving friends through my words.

Thirdly. The abundant liberality of Thy grace has enriched my poverty of merit by this assurance – that whenever I promise a favor to anyone, or the pardon of any fault, through confidence in Thy mercy, Thy benign love will ratify my words and execute my promise as faithfully as if it has been confirmed by an oath of the Eternal Truth. Thou didst add further, that if anyone found that the salutary effects of my promises were deferred, they should continually remind Thee that I had promised this grace from Thee. Thus dost Thou provide for my salvation according to the words of the Gospel: “With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2). And as, I alas, continually fall into the greatest faults, Thou desirest by this means to remit the punishment I deserve.

Fourthly. To solace my miseries, Thou hast assured me, amongst other things, that whoever recommend themselves humbly and devoutly to my prayers will certainly obtain all the fruits which they hoped to obtain by the intercession of any other person: in which Thou hast provided for my negligence, which prevents me from satisfying, not only for the prayers which are made gratuitously for the Church, but also for those of obligation; and Thou hast found the means of applying the fruit of them to me, according to the words of David “My prayers shall be turned into my bosom” (Ps 34: 13); making me participate in the merits of Thine elect, who shall ask these graces of Thee through my intermission, although I am utterly unworthy of it, and granting me a share in them to supply for my indigence.

Fifthly. Thou hast further promised my salvation by conferring these special favors on me, that whom ever with a good will, a right intention and a humble confidence, shall come to speak to me upon their spiritual advancement, should never leave me without being edified or receiving spiritual consolation. In this also Thou hast most suitably supplied for my indigence: for alas, I have wasted the talent Thou didst so liberally bestow on me by my useless words, but now I may gain some merit by what I confide to others!

Sixthly. Thy liberality, O Lord, has bestowed on me thus gift, more necessary than all – certify to me that whoever, in their charity, will either pray for me – the vilest of God’s creatures – or perform any good works, either for the amendment of my life, or the forgiveness of the sins of my youth, or the correction of my iniquity and malice, shall receive this reward from Thy abundant liberality – namely, that they shall nit die until, by Thy grace, their lives have been pleasing to Thee; and that Thou wilt dwell in their souls by a special friendship and intimacy.

And this Thou hast granted of Thy paternal tenderness, to assist my extreme indigence, as Thou knowest how many great corrections are needed for my innumerable sins and negligences. Thus, as Thy loving mercy will not permit me to perish, and, on the contrary by reason of justice, will not permit me to be saved with all my imperfections, Thou hast provided for me by means of the gains and merits of others.

Thou hast added to all these favors, my kind God, by an abundant liberality – that if anyone, after my death, considering with how much familiarity Thou didst communicate with my unworthiness while in this life, should recommend themselves humbly to my prayers, Thou wouldst hear them as willingly as if they invoked the intercession of any other person, provided that they had the intention of repairing their faults and negligences, and that they humbly and devoutly thanked Thee for five special benefits which Thou didst grant me.

First. For the love by which Thou didst freely choose me from all eternity, and which I declare to be the greatest of all the benefits which Thou hast bestowed on me: for as Thou wert not ignorant of, or rather didst foresee, the corrupt life which I should lead, the excess of my ingratitude, and how I should abuse Thy gifts, so that I deserve to have been born a pagan, and not an enlightened human being – Thy mercy, which infinitely exceeds our crimes, has chosen me, in preference to many other Christians, to bear the holy character of a religious.

Secondly. Because Thou hast drawn me blessedly to Thee; and I acknowledged it to be an effect of the clemency and charity which is natural to Thee, Who hast won, by the attractions of Thy caresses, this rebellious and stubborn heart, which deserves to be loaded with fetters and chains; and it has seemed as if Thou hadst found in me the faithful companion of Thy love, and that Thy greatest pleasure was to be united to me.

Thirdly. Because Thou hast united me so intimately to Thee; and I declare, as I am bound, that I am indebted for this only to Thy signal liberality, as if the number of the just was not great enough to receive the immense abundance of Thy mercies, not that I had better dispositions than others, but, on the contrary, that Thy charity might be the more signalized in me thereby.

Fourthly. That Thou hast taken pleasure and delight in dwelling in my soul; and this, if I may so speak, proceeds from the ardor of Thy love, which has deigned to testify, even by words, that it is the joy of Thy all – powerful wisdom to stop to one so dissimilar to Thee, and so utterly ungrateful.

Fifthly. That it has pleased Thee to accomplish Thy work happily in me; and, it is a favor which I have hoped with humble confidence from the tenderness of Thy most benign charity, and for which I adore Thee with gratitude, declaring, O sovereign, true, and only treasure of my soul, that I have in no way contributed to it by my merits, but that it is a true gift of Thy liberality.

All these benefits coming from Thine immense charity, and being so far above my nothingness, I am unable to give thanks for them worthily; but Thou has further assisted my misery, in exciting others, by the most condescending promises, to render thanksgivings to Thee, the merit of which may supply my deficiencies. For which may all creatures in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, glorify Thee and thank Thee continually!

Morning – A Time for Prayer

Psalm 143: 8-11

In the morning let me know your love
For I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk;
To you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will
For you, O Lord, are my God.
Let your good spirit guide me
In ways that are level and smooth.

For you name’s sake, Lord, save my like;
In your justice save my soul from distress.

A Heavenly Bit of Alma, Nebraska

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So, if Alma is for you, check it out!