Smiling Eyes

Lying in the sunshine of Your love,
Recounting humming bird days,
Flitting as flashes flung to the heavens,
I look to the horizon,
For the rising of yet another sun.

I feel I know You.
It is me I doubt,
But I don’t know why.
I have spent my life
Becoming what I think
You want me to be.
Others, though, have always
Seemed to do it better.

Here I am at eve tide,
Recounting the many waters,
That wash these shores.
Your Beauty plays for me,
Painting the setting sun;
I guess, to reassure my clay
Of The Love You are,
As I still look for me,
Reflected in Your smiling eyes.

copyright 2014 Joann Nelander

 

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

Happy Garden

Lord, make of me a place of roses,
A gathering of saints,
A palace of Your glory,
Alive with the radiant splendor
Of Your Holy Spirit.

Give me that sincere and true humility,
That clears my ground
Of briars, weeds and thistle,
That rakes away debris
And furrows my field crosswise
To welcome the rains
And receive the seed
Of love and deeds as new growth
Sprouting joy and fruit aplenty.

Come here to my happy garden
To take Your rest,
Lay aside Your Cross
And bring forth the Sun
To shine on all.

© 2014 Joann Nelander

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Practices of Lent–Fr. Barron-Video

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)

“Over In A Sigh”–Life on Planet Earth

The Anchoress writes:

It’s good to remember that our time on earth is short.  — that, as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton said, “we are made for eternity” and not just for our brief sojourn, here. Read more here.

Psalm 90

Our span is seventy years,
or eighty for those who are strong.

And most of these are emptiness and pain.
They pass swiftly and we are gone.
Who understands the power of your anger
and fears the strength of your fury?

Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.

Bless This House

Bless this house,
This simple abode,
Where You,Jesus,
Take Your rest.

Blessed Mary, Mistress,
Of the little house,
Now at Loretto,
You labored in love,
With Love at your side,
And always in your heart.

Your labor hallowed the walls
Of your domain,
The domicile of Peace.
Now, purify, all under my roof,
That my house may rest
In solidarity.

Bless my every labor.
Make this earthly tent
Strong against the foe,
And a sanctuary
For Your Son.

 

©2012 Joann Nelander All rights reserved

Soulful Recall

My Lord, my God, my All,
Give me a heart for You,
Give me the heart
Of a child,
Your child.

Create me anew,
For I wander
Far from You,
You, Who woos me constantly,
You, Who wants me eternally.

Each day, upon day,
Challenges me to hold on,
Hold on to Faith.
Hold on to Hope.
Hold on to You,
Who are Love.

Though You are constant,
I am inconstant.
Searching my moments,
In soulful recall,
I see my tempters three,
Worldly, fleshly and demonic.
They, too, hunger for me,
But where You
Would take me to Yourself,
And make me like,
And of Yourself,
They would devour me,
Chew upon me,
Suck out the juice,
And spit me out.

Give me the time.
Give me the inclination,
For I live in a world
Of voices,
And distractions.
They whisper in my ears,
Shout, and demand allegiance,
Calling me to come away,
To go astray,
To worship at strange altars.

In Your Light
I see my way.
In Your Light
The way to You
Shines as a highway,
Luminescent in the night.

My Lord, my God, my All,
Fight for me.
Fight them all.

That Man, Job

That man, Job,
That sad man, Job,
That mad man, Job,
That angry man,
That suffering and troubled soul,
Behold my man, Job.

Have we not all been there?
Why, O Lord?
Am I not well meaning,
One of the good guys,
A nice person?

Why must the Cross
Touch my life?
Am I not
Like a son to You?

With these words,
He made me see,
“You are, indeed,
Like a Son to Me.”

“I Thirst”

You showed the way
To live each day,
One cup of water at a time.

You satisfy Man’s thirst,
By thirsting first.
We come,
One cup of water at a time.

I live anew to give
As I have received.
One cup of water at a time.

Living water ,
Abundant stream,
Channel Your Life, through me,
One cup of water at a time.

©2012 Joann Nelander

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

Life to Me Means Christ, and Death is Gain

From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Life to me means Christ, and death is gain

The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence.

Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!

If Christ is with me, whom shall I fear? Though the waves and the sea and the anger of princes are roused against me, they are less to me than a spider’s web. Indeed, unless you, my brothers, had detained me, I would have left this very day. For I always say Lord, your will be done; not what this fellow or that would have me do, but what you want me to do. That is my strong tower, my immovable rock, my staff that never gives way. If God wants something, let it be done! If he wants me to stay here, I am grateful. But wherever he wants me to be, I am no less grateful.

Yet where I am, there you are too, and where you are, I am. For we are a single body, and the body cannot be separated from the head nor the head from the body. Distance separates us, but love unites us, and death itself cannot divide us. For though my body die, my soul will live and be mindful of my people.

You are my fellow citizens, my fathers, my brothers, my sons, my limbs, my body. You are my light, sweeter to me than the visible light. For what can the rays of the sun bestow on me that is comparable to your love? The sun’s light is useful in my earthly life, but your love is fashioning a crown for me in the life to come.

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.

Mary, The Violin

Mary, Virgin, Mother of God,
The perfectly fashioned,
And tuned instrument,
A violin,
In the hands of God,
As He plays His music
For the Son.

©2012 Joann Nelander

Waxing Proud

I left You long ago,
To wander in a world of choices,
Bombarded by alluring voices.

I left at home
All cords that bound,
Proudly casting off all staked to holy ground.

I soared mounting the wind,
On Icharus’ wings waxed proud,
Till sun and heat spoke Truth aloud.

I left You long ago.
Now in swift descent I fall,
Humbled, hoping to be caught by Lord of All.

St Michael the Archangel

A poem honoring St. Michael the Archangel

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning,
Michael of the Army of the Lord,
Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael,
Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael,
Under the fullness of the white robes falling,
Gird us with the secret of the sword.

When the world cracked because of a sneer in heaven,
Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky,
Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest,
Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High:
Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation
Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn:
Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon
Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.

Down through the universe the vast night falling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!)
Far down the universe the deep calms calling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!)
Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness,
In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness
In the huge holy sempiternal silence
In the beginning was the Word.

When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Angels and devils who do all but die
Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow,
Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly,
Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions
Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim,
Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting
God beyond God and greater than His Name.

Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!)
Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!)
Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting
Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting
Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring
Ready as when it rang upon the targe.

He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes:
Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities
Patient in usury; delicate in bribes?
They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken,
Break man with famine, fetter them with gold,
Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling
For He was more than murdered. He was sold.

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord,
Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot
Rule through the world till all the world be quiet:
Only establish when the world is broken
What is unbroken is the word.

by G K Chesteron

Home, Hearth and Throne

Mother Mary,
You were with Jesus
From the instant
Of His Incarnation.
With your “Fiat”,
The Promise
Became a Man,
Dwelling with you,
In profound peace
And humility.

It was you
Who knew
This first intimacy,
Who cherished and adored.
Who waited upon Him,
With heart,
And mind,
And body.

The only eyes
That could see Him
At this tender age,
Were yours,
As you gazed on Him
With the eyes
Of your intellect
And soul.

An inward glance
Set your Immaculate Heart ablaze,
As you became,
Home and hearth,
And throne,
For a Child of one cell,
Growing and destined
To rule the world,
As He had reigned
From eternity.

A Man like no other
And, yet,
Intimately,
One with all.

Open our eyes
To your Son.
With the Centurion,
Who presided
Over the Crucifixion
Of the Christ,
And opened His Side,
End our idolatry,
So we, too, cry
“My Lord and my God.”

Mother Mary,
Behold your Son
In me.
Prepare me to be
Home and hearth
And throne,
For Christ alone.

©2012 Joann Nelander

Fear of the Lord

The merciful Hand of the Lord
Is upon me.
It is a fearful thing
To fall into the Hand
Of the Living God
He metes out judgment,
And punishment due.
Why then, do I lift my voice
In praise and thanksgiving?

In an instant,
I saw my desert.
Fear and trembling seized me,
As my mercy-cry
Pierced the darkness.

Caught in my descent,
His Hand reached
Into my Hell.
It is in my nature to fall,
In His nature
To show mercy.

His end is my good.
Even in judgment,
Mercy shows His Face.
Punished, I am now free.
Seeing His mercy
In His rendering of scourge,
I trust,
As once I feared to do.

May His Hand always
Be upon me,
As fear of the Lord,
Befriends me.

©2012 Joann Nelander  All rights reserved

On My Father’s Side – Video

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.

Wounded Love

Thomas wanted reality.
Thomas wanted answers.
Thomas wanted undeniable proof.

He trusted his mind.
He trusted his senses.
He walked by sight,
But feared to trust
The witnesses of Resurrection.

A God, with wounds of Love, understood.
A God, marked by our disbelief,
Stood before him,
In plain sight.

Thomas finger my wounds.
Feel the warmth of human flesh.
Feel the throbbing of My Heart,
Bounding against
Your hand in My Side.

Thomas, you sought only
The trappings of reality.
Am I real now,
Real enough for you,
My friend?

Standing, face to face,
Before I Am,
Bought to his knees
By living, breathing, proof,
He stands in our place.

Humbled by faith’s awakening,
Before the True Witness,
Senses satisfied,
Content, now, and forever,
He’ll follow blindly,
Unto death,
Into eternity.

“My Lord and my God.”

Copyright Joann Nelander 2012
All rights reserved

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

Hold Fast to God, the One True Good

From the treatise on Flight from the World by Saint Ambrose, bishop

Hold fast to God, the one true good

Where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure also. God is not accustomed to refusing a good gift to those who ask for one. Since he is good, and especially to those who are faithful to him, let us hold fast to him with all our soul, our heart, our strength, and so enjoy his light and see his glory and possess the grace of supernatural joy. Let us reach out with our hearts to possess that good, let us exist in it and live in it, let us hold fast to it, that good which is beyond all we can know or see and is marked by perpetual peace and tranquillity, a peace which is beyond all we can know or understand.

This is the good that permeates creation. In it we all live, on it we all depend. It has nothing above it; it is divine. No one is good but God alone. What is good is therefore divine, what is divine is therefore good. Scripture says: When you open your hand all things will be filled with goodness. It is through God’s goodness that all that is truly good is given us, and in it there is no admixture of evil.

These good things are promised by Scripture to those who are faithful: The good things of the land will be your food.

We have died with Christ. We carry about in our bodies the sign of his death, so that the living Christ may also be revealed in us. The life we live is not now our ordinary life but the life of Christ: a life of sinlessness, of chastity, of simplicity and every other virtue. We have risen with Christ. Let us live in Christ, let us ascend in Christ, so that the serpent may not have the power here below to wound us in the heel.

Let us take refuge from this world. You can do this in spirit, even if you are kept here in the body. You can at the same time be here and present to the Lord. Your soul must hold fast to him, you must follow after him in your thoughts, you must tread his ways by faith, not in outward show. You must take refuge in him. He is your refuge and your strength. David addresses him in these words: I fled to you for refuge, and I was not disappointed.

Since God is our refuge, God who is in heaven and above the heavens, we must take refuge from this world in that place where there is peace, where there is rest from toil, where we can celebrate the great sabbath, as Moses said: The sabbaths of the land will provide you with food. To rest in the Lord and to see his joy is like a banquet, and full of gladness and tranquillity.

Let us take refuge like deer beside the fountain of waters. Let our soul thirst, as David thirsted, for the fountain. What is that fountain? Listen to David: With you is the fountain of life. Let my soul say to this fountain: When shall I come and see you face to face? For the fountain is God himself.

Bath Waters

Heavenly Mother,
It is told,
You allowed a leper babe,
To be washed in your Baby’s bath,
And, immediately, the infant was healed,
His skin, supple and pink,
By an act of God,
A miraculous gift.

Plunge those forgotten in life,
Into that water of refreshment,
In which, to remove the dust of the world,
You bathed your Babe.

It is God, Who hears,
The cry of the poor.
God, Who, is not far off.
He sent His Christ,
To enter that sea,
The Jordan of Man’s Sin.

One day, it’s waters
Would wash the multitudes,
And it’s streams
Flow over the Ages.

God, indeed, hears
The cry of the poor,
As He heard the wail
Of the leper babe.

“This is my beloved Son.”,
He announces in loving unity,
As an open invitation for us to enter in,
And lay our claim in holy hope.

Mother, do for the disabled,
What they cannot
Do for themselves.
Meet us in our leprosy,
And, bathing us, say
With the Father,
“This is my son,
In whom I am well pleased.”

© 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Inheritance

“It is finished.”
“Into Your Hands,
I commend my spirit.”

The Tree of Eden,
Poison swallowed,
By the Tree of Golgotha.

Christ, the New Adam,
Mankind begun anew,
Fellowship restored and more.

Freed from the husks of pigs
Returned to the Father’s House.
Witness the death of Death.

Lay Your Head upon my lap,
That I may hold You,
Rock You,
Cradle You in my arms.

I arrange Your Hair,
And wash the Blood,
Clinging to You,
Mourning over You,
As Mother Mary.

Open side of Jesus
Receive me.
Hide me,
In the cave of Your Heart.

I throw off my idols.
My sin is finished,
Nailed to Your Cross.

“It is finished,”
My war against You,
The burden and the price,
Life born in Your dying,
And swaddled in faith’s Dark Night.

The Church born
From Your pierced side.
As a fountain for the Ages,
Spilling forth
The wine of Crushed Grapes.

New Day!
Eternal Spring!
“Into Your Hands,
I commend My Spirit.”
Love has the last word.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

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

Who?

“Who do you say I am?”
Jesus asked.
Who do you say I am?

The jars lined the walls.
Each one marked:
A weight and words,
“Products of conception.”

Parts, just parts!
Parts, just parts?
Who do you say I am?

©2012 Joann Nelander

St. Bridgit’s 15 Prayers

Scriptural Rosary Podcast

Joyful Scriptural Mysteries - Podcast

joyful

Luminous Scriptural Mysteries - Podcast

Luminous

Sorrowful Scriptural Mysteries Pt.1

sorrowful pt 1

sorrowful pt 2

Sorrowful Scriptural Mysteries Pt. 2

Glorious Scriptural Mysteries - Podcast

Glorious

by Joann Nelander

Jimmy Akin: Evil Monster Update

Jimmy Akin follows up:

I’d like to thank The Anchoress and Andrew Sullivan for linking my previous piece on Cardinal Ratzinger and the Murphy case, and for the kind things they said about it.

There is more to say about the story. Quite a bit, actually. In particular, I’ll be responding to Sullivan, and I’ll be able to report on the German story, but first there are some additional facts to get on the table regarding the Wisconsin one.

Let’s start with a piece by Fr. Thomas Brundage (pictured), who writes:

I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003. During those years, I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy. Two of the four men died during the process.

Interesting that Brundage says two of the four men died during the process. Contrary to what you would think from press reports, Murphy appears to be one of the two, given what shortly will become clear.

In any event, a 50% death rate seems to indicate aggressive prosecution of men even when they are quite old or in ill health. So already a picture is forming of Brundage as presiding over a vigorous court.

He has not been pleased with the New York Times’ (and other outlets’) reportage on the Murphy case:

As I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts, I am also writing from a sense of duty to the truth.

The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself.

Yeowch!

In 1996, I was introduced to the story of Father Murphy, formerly the principal of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. It had been common knowledge for decades that during Father Murphy’s tenure at the school (1950-1974) there had been a scandal at St. John’s involving him and some deaf children. The details, however, were sketchy at best.

Courageous advocacy on behalf of the victims (and often their wives), led the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to revisit the matter in 1996.

“Courageous advocacy” suggests that there was a struggle requiring courage to get the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to act, presumably this involved the argument that Fr. Murphy’s crimes were committed long ago and that he was no longer in the diocese. Nevertheless . . . Continue reading