Here We Are

Good morning, Jesus.
Here we are again,
At the beginning of a new day.

Can you feel me?
Here I am in Your Great Heart,
Reaching for You with my heart.

I feel Your eyes upon me.
You are perfume to my senses.
You are the touch of sweetness
I taste wafting on the breeze of Spirit.

You sound in my heart
With the beating of Yours.
Ever near, ever dear, everlasting,
Song of my soul.

Good morning, my Jesus.
Hold me here,
On the brink of eternity.

©2014 Joann Nelander

Audio Post – Prayer for Healing the Family Tree by Fr. John Hampsch

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.

 

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

Thanksgiving Thanksgiving – State of the Union

Our country is a miracle.  Our freedoms are precious. Our future is uncertain.
” Because power corrupts, societies demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.” – John Adams
I thank God this Thanksgiving.  I pray that the spirit of our fore-bearers still lives, leading us to take responsibility for our Country in 2012.
 State of the Nation 1776

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this Army—Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect—We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions—The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.

Extract from General George Washington’s General Orders, 1776

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” – John Adams

” Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

Hour of Darkness

Hour of Darkness (Read by author)

To the Cross we go,
A Nation hanging,
Lifted on the wood,
Drying up, exposed,
Blood drained
In a hemorrhage
Of its young.

Did you watch?
We’re you one
To wring your hands?
Were your hearts wrenched,
Or did you party
With the crowd
As the veil
Of the Temple
Was torn in two?

Suffer the Moment
Hoping with Love,
That the curtain,
Was split
From top to bottom,
That even now,
In the darkest hour
Of  choice’s choosing,
When Herod has opened
Yet another womb,
Salvation is found in Crucifixion.
God will shine through
The gaping wound in His Side,
As God is want to do.

©2012 Joann Nelander All rights reserved

Hour of Darkness (Read by author)

Religious Liberty–Archbishop Aquila

Support the archbishop in his efforts to uphold religious liberty.

“I think there are a lot of people who don’t appreciate the significance of the election for the Church’s activity in this country, and also the significance of this election for Catholics in this country,”  said J.D. Flynn, chancellor of the Denver archdiocese.

In his letter, Archbishop Aquila emphasized religious freedom as a foundational American value.

“Our founding fathers understood that without these freedoms, especially religious liberty, our democratic experiment would fail,” he wrote.

However, religious liberty faces “an unprecedented threat” from the Health and Human Services mandate, which “undermines the promise of the First Amendment,” Archbishop Aquila said.

The Obama administration’s contraception mandate requires employers to provide health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their beliefs.

It has drawn nearly 40 lawsuits by more than 110 plaintiffs since its announcement earlier this year.

“No one should ever be forced to choose between integrity and charity, or to violate their conscience in business,” the archbishop said.

Graced to Be

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

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

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

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

With Your Name, Jesus

With Your Name, Jesus,
Upon my lips,
Reverberating in my heart,
I pray from the depths
Of our blessed union.

Your Holy Spirit
Forms my prayer,
Born of Faith and Love.
The child, that I am,
Cries, “Abba!”

My tiny arms
Strive to draw closer
My dearest Abba,
As encircling His inclined neck,
And stirring His Fatherly devotion
To one so small,
He kisses me with a glance.

Indulgently, and moved
To an outpouring,
By my frame
In my infancy,
My Abba caresses me
In the peace of angels,
And I live in His shalom.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander
Alll rights reserved

Who Am. I?

You, Father God,
Revealed Yourself
To Your servant Moses.
“I am Who Am. ”

You are existence
In uncreated simplicity
And immaterial totality.
My thoughts and knowledge
Are without substance or form,
A mystery of being,
An image of Your Essence.

My prayer is a begging
To shape the me of me
Into the Person of Your Son,
That my “I am,”
Be as You Are.

May what I will be
Take Life
In Your Only Begotten One,
To make me
Fit for Familial Love,
When mortal life be done.

Late Have I Loved You

Today is the memorial of St Augustine. I hope you go to Divineoffice.org and hear this read to you. It is a treat to the soul:

From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop

O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No, it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things; and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as heaven is above the earth. This light was above me because it had made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.

O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: “I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.”

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you.
But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot
I love because I love, I love that I may love

Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.

The Bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved?

Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of that original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with the fountain.

What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?

An Act of Faith

I have seen enough to know,
I just don’t know,
But there is One Who does,
Giver of Life,
Giver of generations,
Giver of prayer.

One generation to pray
For the next generation.
Mother, and father,
Grandmother, grandfather,
A circle of care
To pray it forward.

Faith waits upon the Lord,
A gift beyond measure,
A mystery waiting to happen,
Not in our time,
But in our Father’s.

No seed too bad
To wait upon,
Hope for,
Entrust to God,
In His Mercy,
And providential time.

Our own close their ears
To the prophet in their midst,
At home, or next door,
But no one knows
What God has in store.

“Place them here
With Me in the tabernacle,”
Whispers God to the heart.
“I’ll have the last word,
My Love to impart.”

One generation to pray
For the next generation.
“All shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of thing
Shall be well.”     (Bl.Julianna of Norwich)

©2012 Joann Nelander

Prayer for a Family

O dear Jesus, I humbly implore You to grant Your special graces to our family. May our home be the shrine of peace, purity, love, labor and faith. I beg You, dear Jesus, to protect and bless all of us, absent and present, living and dead.

O Mary, loving Mother of Jesus, and our Mother, pray to Jesus for our family, for all the families of the world, to guard the cradle of the newborn, the schools of the young and their vocations.

Blessed Saint Joseph, holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by your prayers in all the necessities of life. Ask of Jesus that special grace which He granted to you, to watch over our home at the pillow of the sick and the dying, so that with Mary and with you, heaven may find our family unbroken in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Amen.

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty


O’ God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the Light and the saving Truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty, Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome—for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us—this great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Conversion Miracles in the Ether of Cyberspace

 

Leah Libresco a prominent atheist blogger at Patheos, a religion website, has left the ranks of the faithful no-faith for true believer status among the Christian hordes. Debate sparked this unexpected decision. 

“The great thing about a lot of the atheist and skeptic community is that people talk more critically about ideas and want to see proof provided,”  “That kind of analytical thinking is completely useful and the Catholic Church doesn’t need to and should not be afraid of because if you’ve got the facts on your side, you hope they win.”

Fortnight For Freedom

A call to prayer for our great nation by our bishops has gone forth.  Now it is for the people to pray.

H/T  USCCB

 

The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

Did You Dance?

Did you laugh?
Did you dance?
You were there
I remember.

The invitation,
Sent from my heart,
Was as personal
As a dream.

Hopes,
Whispered and shared,
Then tucked away
With our days,

The stuff of weavers,
Spinning bright threads
Running their course
Replete with expectations
Not to be denied.

Full of welcome,
An invitation to dance,
With the bride
Loving her groom
In the Mystery of You,

Did you dance,
Did you laugh,
When our love
Blossomed and bloomed,
Bearing children
To delight our hearts,
Gladdening our garden
With sweet enchantment.

Today I pick flowers,
Memories like posies,
In colored bouquets.
Today our hearts are full.
Today we celebrate,
And spread our blanket
On grassy meadows.

Resting and remembering
All happiness,
And passing sorrow,
Shared and savored,
As water turned wine.

Come and laugh.
Come and dance.
Years like water,
Running a course.
Years full and fleeting,
Waltzing and jigging
Spent in embrace.

Our dance goes on,
On to trip through the night,
Marathon run,
Accompanied with music
Floating on Life’s breezes.
Two become one,
Dancing in You.

By Joann Salerno Nelander, Bride

The Lord’s Command to Baptize

From the treatise On the Trinity by Saint Hilary, bishop

The Father’s gift in Christ

Our Lord commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In baptism, then, we profess faith in the Creator, in the only-begotten Son and in the gift which is the Spirit. There is one Creator of all things, for in God there is one Father from whom all things have their being. And there is one only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist. And there is one Spirit, the gift who is in all. So all follow their due order, according to the proper operation of each: one power, which brings all things into being, one Son, through whom all things come to be, and one gift of perfect hope. Nothing is wanting to this flawless union: in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is infinity of endless being, perfect reflection of the divine image, and mutual enjoyment of the gift.

Our Lord has described the purpose of the Spirit’s presence in us. Let us listen to his words: I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. It is to your advantage that I go away; if I go, I will send you the Advocate. And also: I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth. He will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine.

From among many of our Lord’s sayings, these have been chosen to guide our understanding, for they reveal to us the intention of the giver, the nature of the gift and the condition for its reception. Since our weak minds cannot comprehend the Father or the Son, we have been given the Holy Spirit as our intermediary and advocate, to shed light on that hard doctrine of our faith, the incarnation of God.

We receive the Spirit of truth so that we can know the things of God. In order to grasp this, consider how useless the faculties of the human body would become if they were denied their exercise. Our eyes cannot fulfill their task without light, either natural or artificial; our ears cannot react without sound vibrations, and in the absence of any odor our nostrils are ignorant of their function. Not that these senses would lose their own nature if they were not used; rather, they demand objects of experience in order to function. It is the same with the human soul. Unless it absorbs the gift of the Spirit through faith, the mind has the ability to know God but lacks the light necessary for that knowledge.

This unique gift which is in Christ is offered in its fullness to everyone. It is everywhere available, but it is given to each man in proportion to his readiness to receive it. Its presence is the fuller, the greater a man’s desire to be worthy of it. This gift will remain with us until the end of the world, and will be our comfort in the time of waiting. By the favors it bestows, it is the pledge of our hope for the future, the light of our minds, and the splendor that irradiates our understanding.

One Last Prayer

If I should die today,
What have I to say?
Perhaps just one last prayer.

Grant that my heart
Should leap and quicken,
Catching sight of You
Coming from afar.

With Your Father,
You have wooed, and waited,
Sent Your Spirit
Into my dry bones,
Raising me from dust
Once again
And, now, forevermore.

Here I am, my Hallowed Three.
The Bridegoom cometh;
Come for me.

© 2012 Joann Nelander

 

Shared at Poetic Picnic week 36

Heaven of My Soul

Indwelling Trinity,
You inhabit heaven,
While all things in nature
Are held in being by Your Will,
There is a Presence
Of the supernatural kind,
That lights the soul
Of the baptized child.

O, God, indwelling,
In the heaven
Of my soul,
Behold me,
Living in constant adoration,
Willing Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

 

©2012 Joann Nelander

all rights reserved

The Lamb that was Slain

From an Easter homily by Saint Melito of Sardis, bishop

The lamb that was slain has delivered us from death and given us life

There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

For the sake of suffering humanity he came down from heaven to earth, clothed himself in that humanity in the Virgin’s womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, he took the pain of fallen man upon himself; he triumphed over the diseases of soul and body that were its cause, and by his Spirit, which was incapable of dying, he dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.

He was led forth like a lamb; he was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as he had ransomed Israel from the land of Egypt; he freed us from our slavery to the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with his own Spirit, and the members of our body with his own blood.

He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the One who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.

It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

The Visit

In flight
Into Egypt
Hungry,
Hurried,
Yet at peace.

You pass my way.
Because you are holy
We are worlds apart.
Yet you touch me
By your plight.

You must eat.
You must drink.
Rest a moment
Under my tent.

Holy visitors,
Let me wash your feet.
Your smiles
Enter my heart
As a symphony

Stay the night.
Bring the star
From heaven
To light my adobe.

Dwell forever
Here in Spirit
Though you must hurry
On your way.

Journey on,O, Protector,
O Mother, O Child.
With me,
In your hearts,
Now, I wait
For you forever.

I tucked a little rattle
Under His blanket.
Perhaps, He’ll hear me
In the sounds,
A remembrance,
Like a prayer,
In the rattling of beads.

By Joann Nelander

My Prayer

Words are swirling
Like leaves,
Lifted heavenward,
On bursts of emotion,
Only to settle quietly,
As the storm of love passes
Into Abiding Presence.

By Joann Nelander

Clinging

Clinging, clinging to You,

As a leaf clasping the vine

With mouth pressed

And soul hungry,

Receiving in its will

Sustenance and vigor.

 

Stress, season, time,

And the tempters three,

World, Devil and fleshy me,

Turn, test and try resolve.

 

Clinging, I cling,

Clasping fast,

For only the glue of love

Suffice as bond,

To quell and conquer,

The wanton, the unruly.

For the Conqueror abides in me,

I cling to the Almighty Three.

 

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander

 

Poetry Picnic  Week 19

Divine Office

Life itself Was Revealed in the Flesh

From the tractates on the first letter of John by Saint Augustine, bishop
Life itself was revealed in the flesh

Our message is the Word of life. We announce what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes, what we have touched with our own hands. Who could touch the Word with his hands unless the Word was made flesh and lived among us?

Now this Word, whose flesh was so real that he could be touched by human hands, began to be flesh in the Virgin Mary’s womb; but he did not begin to exist at that moment. We know this from what John says: What existed from the beginning. Notice how John’s letter bears witness to his Gospel, which you just heard a moment ago: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.

Someone might interpret the phrase the Word of life to mean a word about Christ, rather than Christ’s body itself which was touched by human hands. But consider what comes next: and life itself was revealed. Christ therefore is himself the Word of life.

And how was this life revealed? It existed from the beginning, but was not revealed to men, only to angels, who looked upon it and feasted upon it as their own spiritual bread. But what does Scripture say? Mankind ate the bread of angels.

Life itself was therefore revealed in the flesh. In this way what was visible to the heart alone could become visible also to the eye, and so heal men’s hearts. For the Word is visible to the heart alone, while flesh is visible to bodily eyes as well. We already possessed the means to see the flesh, but we had no means of seeing the Word. The Word was made flesh so that we could see it, to heal the part of us by which we could see the Word.

John continues: And we are witnesses and we proclaim to you that eternal life which was with the Father and has been revealed among us – one might say more simply “revealed to us.”

We proclaim to you what we have heard and seen. Make sure that you grasp the meaning of these words. The disciples saw our Lord in the flesh, face to face; they heard the words he spoke, and in turn they proclaimed the message to us. So we also have heard, although we have not seen.

Are we then less favored than those who both saw and heard? If that were so, why should John add: so that you too may have fellowship with us? They saw, and we have not seen; yet we have fellowship with them, because we and they share the same faith.

And our fellowship is with God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. And we write this to you to make your joy complete – complete in that fellowship, in that love and in that unity.

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

Sister

Two wombs unite us.
One of mother,
Separated in Time.

The other is forever,
Touched by the Eternal.
Womb of Love,
Bearing the Savior and shared.

Here it is I reach for you, my sister.
Always!
Touching you with my heart.
Can you feel me?

By Joann Nelander
Copyright 2011

The Complete Fullness of Christ

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

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From a homily by a spiritual writer of the fourth century

May you be filled to the complete fullness of Christ

Those who have been considered worthy to go forth as the sons of God and to be born again of the Holy Spirit from on high, and who hold within them the Christ who renews them and fills them with light, are directed by the Spirit in varied and different ways and in their spiritual repose they are led invisibly in their hearts by grace.

At times, they are like men who mourn and lament over their fellow men, and pouring forth prayers for the whole human race, they plunge into tears and lamentation, on fire with spiritual love for mankind.

At other times they are enkindled by the Spirit with love and exultation that, were it possible, they would clasp in their embrace all mankind, without discrimination, good and bad alike.

Sometimes they are cast down below all mankind in lowliness of spirit, so that they reckon theirs to be the lowest and most abject of conditions.

And sometimes they are held by the Spirit in ineffable joy.

At one time they are like a brave man who puts on the king’s full armor and goes down into battle; he fights bravely against the enemy and defeats them. In like manner, the spiritual man takes up the heavenly arms of the Spirit and marches against the enemy and engaging in battle tramples the foe beneath his feet.

At another time the soul is at rest in deepest silence, tranquility and peace, existing in sheer spiritual pleasure and in ineffable repose and a perfect state.

Again, the soul is instructed by grace in a certain understanding in the ineffable wisdom and the inscrutable knowledge of the Spirit on matters which neither tongue nor lips can utter.

Then again, the soul becomes like any ordinary man.

In such varied ways does grace work within them and many are the means by which it leads the soul, renewing it according to God’s will and training it in different ways so that it may be set before the heavenly Father pure and whole and blameless.

We, too, therefore must make our prayer to God and entreat in love and in great hope that he may bestow upon us the heavenly grace of the gift of the Spirit. We pray that we, too, may be guided by that Spirit and that he may lead us into the fullness of divine will and refresh us with the varied kinds of his repose, that by the help of this guidance, exercise of grace and spiritual advancement, we may be considered worthy to attain to the perfection of the fullness of Christ, as the Apostle says: that you may be filled to the complete fullness of Christ.

“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.