My Heart Sings – Poetry & Prayer

The music of God is all about us. When I listen in the Spirit, my heart sings.
With these pages, I wish to share the lyric of the songs I hear in the silence of my prayer.

Why not?

In loving the creature,
Have you discerned the Creator?

If not,
Why not?

By Joann Nelander

Life – Not An Abstraction!

Christmas Miracle – Mother and Child

Fox News reports,

‘Hand of God’ Seen in Christmas Eve Revival of Mother, Baby.

Quoting the dad:

My legs went out from underneath me,” Mike Hermanstorfer said Tuesday. “I had everything in the world taken from me, and in an hour and a half I had everything given to me.”

Dr. Stephanie Martin, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs  said:

“She had no signs of life. No heartbeat, no blood pressure, she wasn’t breathing,” said Martin, who had rushed to Hermanstorfer’s room to help. “The baby was, it was basically limp, with a very slow heart rate.”


Nature Cries Out!

I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’ Luke 19:40

Here is a photograph of a living tree which I pass almost everyday.  One day it stopped me in my tracks as an image emerged out of the noise of criss-crossing leaves and branches. This tree was struck by lightening and now bears a recogognizable image:

Scourging and Crucifixion

Scourging and Crucifixion of Christ.

I am an artist and that may make me sensitive to images camouflaged in the ordinary things around us.  Not only do I see the Scourging and Crucifixion of Christ in this living tree, but I can also see the Crown of Thorns. As a starting point for mediation, ask yourself, “Why a tree?”

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 .

A Glorious Dawn and God

H/T the Anchoress:

This is beautiful and celebrates a finite universe, giving us some idea of infinity by the awe it inspires and the Universe’s sheer vastness and complexity.

A Glorious Dawn includes these words:

“But the brain does much more than just recollect
It inter-compares, it synthesizes, it analyzes
it generates abstractions

The simplest thought like the concept of the number one
Has an elaborate logical underpinning
The brain has it’s own language
For testing the structure and consistency of the world.”

It is interesting to note that Carl Sagan, while positing, a purely material universe, was in awe of Possibility.  Yet, he won’t admit the possibility of God, and immaterial realities, such as soul.  Sagan trafficked in ideas, and ideas, themselves, simply sing and shout God.

While Carl’s science functions on ideas, his materialistic science must measure, weigh, observe and record.  This purely materialistic observing and recording is insufficient for describing all of Reality, all that is. Materialistic science can come to know just part of Reality, the material part.

F.J. Sheed says, “Ask yourself: ‘How much does this idea weigh?  How long is it?  What color is it? What shape is it? How much space does it take up?’ The answer of course is that your idea has no weight, no length, no color, no shape, and takes up no space.  It simply has no material attributes at all.  something with no material attributes is immaterial, another word for spiritual.

Carl Sagan glorified ideas, dreaming of future manifestations and possibilities. A solely materialistic view must find a way to account for the immaterial Intellect and for that matter, the Will and Conscience, as well. “Immaterial ideas imply an immaterial faculty capable of forming them.  It is impossible for something material to create something immaterial.  Therefore the faculty capable of forming spiritual ideas must itself be spiritual.” observes F.J. Sheed in “Theology for Beginners.”

On Dying Today

crucificionicon

icon by the hand of Joann Nelander

A note from the Anchoress on retreat:

Just found this scrawled, uncharacteristically, in the back of a book –

When we meet God face-to-face, it is always a moment of grace,
but too it is a moment of judgment for us.
Judgment day, then, can be any day, any time, any particular
moment of an hour.
And so our death can happen many times,
a process of conversion, a process of turning to.
We die to ourselves, die to a particular sin or attachment,
and begin again, turning toward.
We no sooner die to one thing that we immediately
attach and live to another,
and judgment will come to that, too.
Sacrament of confession
hastens our dying and our rising,
the dying to the old self,
the rising to the new,
always, always, toward Christ.
Toward oneness, completion.
The Whole.
Life is a process of Incarnation.
Our reality, our wholeness, our completeness
in this world comes
through repeated offerings which we receive or refuse.
The Eucharistic Christ contributes to this formation, this process.
He enters us, we welcome Him.
One flesh.
Incarnation.
My whole woeful life just begun, again.

"Fish" and the Heart of God

H/T Catholic Exchange for “Fish”

"Love is a mutual self-giving that ends in self-recovery. You recover God, and He recovers you." Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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)


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.”