Longinus, Soldier Saint

Longinus,
You, who beheld Life,
As your Savior
Hung between Heaven and Earth,
Dying on His Cross,
Your heart came alive
At the sight of the Mother’s agony.

The thrust of your spear
Lanced the heart of the Christ
And pierced your own
To let Him enter,
He, who would henceforth,
Possess you in contemplation.

His blood, falling upon weak and worldly eyes,,
Touched in you, the pagan,
Opening eyes blind to the things of God,
With the sight of the Holy.

Your life became a contemplation
Of the Dying and the Rising,
Did you fall into a sleep,
As the angels descended to roll away the stone?
Did premonitions of sacred mystery stir you,
Wakening the soldier witness soul,
To serve not merely an emperor,
But True God?

The Cassius of the Crucifixion
Died, only to open his eyes in faith,
And live, henceforth a new man,
With a story of Blood and Water,
And New Life,

copyright 2014 Joann Nelander

Joann Nelander
lionessblog.com

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

Waking, A New Day

Good morning ,dear Savior.
Here I Am,
Yours, at the break of new day.

Joyously, I look to You,
You, Who smiles upon me.

I open my eyes looking for You,
You, Who have guarded Your beloved in her sleep,
And loved me as mother and father.

I have slept, secure in Your great arms,
Nestled beneath Your “Abundant Breast.”
Receive my heart
As I offer it to You, anew.

Kisses, my King.
All for You!

Copyright 2014 Joann Nelander

God bless you, as you read this. May we, who struggle here,
Laugh together in heaven. Glory to God!

Joann Nelander
lionessblog.com

Scott Hahn: The Hour Is Coming

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)

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.

Argument From Size

When we step on an ant,
An ant smaller than a fetus,
We acknowledge killing an ant.
We may not fret about it,
After-all, it’s an ant!
We have the right
To kill an ant.

When a mother, a doctor,
A nurse, a bio-scientist,
Or technician trained in the art,
When a society and a nation,
Curtails the life of a fetus,
All deny killing a human person.
“It’s too small to matter”,
Do we really believe,
We are doing good?

Do we care beyond
Convenience and profit,
Are we in the right?
Do we have the right?
How big does Truth have to be?

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

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.”

Angelic Companion, Mine

My Angel,
Beholding the face of God,
Guardian by my side,
Attendant friend and guide,
With me from my happy conception,
And faithful companion to my earthly end,
May we,
Who journeyed this pilgrimage
In one another’s presence,
Laugh together in heaven.

“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.

I Call You Friends

God has given us
A special place in His Heart.
He calls us “Friend.”

Do not doubt Him,
By judging yourself or others
Before the time of Judgment.

Wait upon God working in you and me
For our good, blessing,
And finally our perfection.

Strive to be a friend of God.
Be a good steward of His friendship,
And this precious time
Working in His Vineyard.

My God

When is the salutation “My God”,
More realized
Than when Jesus embraces us
In the reception of Eucharist?

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.

The Assumption of Mary

From the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII
Your body is holy and excelling in splendor

In their homilies and sermons on this feast the holy fathers and great doctors spoke of the assumption of the Mother of God as something already familiar and accepted by the faithful. They gave it greater clarity in their preaching and used more profound arguments in setting out its nature and meaning. Above all, they brought out more clearly the fact that what is commemorated in this feast is not simply the total absence of corruption from the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary but also her triumph over death and her glorification in heaven, after the pattern set by her only Son, Jesus Christ.

Thus Saint John Damascene, preeminent as the great preacher of this truth of tradition, speaks with powerful eloquence when he relates the bodily assumption of the loving Mother of God to her other gifts and privileges: “It was necessary that she who had preserved her virginity inviolate in childbirth should also have her body kept free from all corruption after death. It was necessary that she who had carried the Creator as a child on her breast should dwell in the tabernacles of God. It was necessary that the bride espoused by the Father should make her home in the bridal chambers of heaven. It was necessary that she, who had gazed on her crucified Son and been pierced in the heart by the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in giving him birth, should contemplate him seated with the Father. It was necessary that the Mother of God should share the possessions of her Son, and be venerated by every creature as the Mother and handmaid of God.”

Saint Germanus of Constantinople considered that it was in keeping not only with her divine motherhood but also with the unique sanctity of her virginal body that it was incorrupt and carried up to heaven: “In the words of Scripture, you appear in beauty. Your virginal body is entirely holy, entirely chaste, entirely the house of God, so that for this reason also it is henceforth a stranger to decay: a body changed, because a human body, to a preeminent life of incorruptibility, but still a living body, excelling in splendor, a body inviolate and sharing in the perfection of life.”

Another early author declares: “Therefore, as the most glorious Mother of Christ, our God and Savior, giver of life and immortality, she is enlivened by him to share an eternal incorruptibility of body with him who raised her from the tomb and took her up to himself in a way he alone can tell.”

All these reasonings and considerations of the holy Fathers rest on Scripture as their ultimate foundation. Scripture portrays the loving Mother of God, almost before our very eyes, as most intimately united with her divine Son and always sharing in his destiny.

Above all, it must be noted that from the second century the holy Fathers present the Virgin Mary as the new Eve, most closely associated with the new Adam, though subject to him in the struggle against the enemy from the nether world. This struggle, as the first promise of a redeemer implies, was to end in perfect victory over sin and death, always linked together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Therefore, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part of this victory and its final trophy, so the struggle shared by the Blessed Virgin and her Son was to end in glorification of her virginal body. As the same Apostle says: When this mortal body has clothed itself in immortality, then will be fulfilled the word of Scripture: Death is swallowed up in victory.

Hence, the august Mother of God, mysteriously united from all eternity with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a virgin inviolate in her divine motherhood, the wholehearted companion of the divine Redeemer who won complete victory over sin and its consequences, gained at last the supreme crown of her privileges—to be preserved immune from the corruption of the tomb, and, like her Son, when death had been conquered, to be carried up body and soul to the exalted glory of heaven, there to sit in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the ages.

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

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.

©2012  Joann Nelander

Photography by Joann Nelander

Click for My Photo Gallery

King of All Nations

Cover your eyes,
Lest you look on evil.
Stop your ears
Lest the fowl word assail.

The unthinkable
Has come to pass.
The forbidden
Have come to be.

The very air carries
The Tempter’s brood,
Sinister, in cloaked deceit.
Evil snakes in high places,
Surreptitious, in plans and plottings.

Look, and you will not see
The Perpetrator.
Sound the alarm,
But to meet mock outrage,
And the blind eye.

The pot once simmering
Has come to a boil,
No lid to contain,
No effort to constrain.

Prepare ye!
Prepare Ye!
With prayer,
And fasting,
Prepare ye!

From the Four Corners
Trumpet blasts,
Herald of battle,
A call to arms.

Arrows, tipped with prayer,
Fly heavenward,
Rising to hail the Almighty,
To bid bright Michael
To storm.

Let them descend as rain
To pierce the heart of Darkness
To rout the Foe
On the Terrible Day,
The Day of the Lord.

Mercy opens His Breast,
Revealing a Heart of Love.
Justice clothes the anawim
In plated armor.

Light from light
Fills the Earth
As Pentecost,
And Genesis meet.

A New Heaven
And New Earth to come,
As the King of All Nations
Arises in the East,
Prepared to mount His throne.

Prepare ye!
Prepare Ye!
With prayer,
And fasting,
Prepare ye!

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Of Walls and Hedges

I am the greatest obstacle
To my salvation,
Yet You leap the walls,
I have raised about me.
You breech them,
You penetrate them.
You shake and crumble them.

Your Holy Spirit
Is that quake
Of Calvary,
The earthquake,
That rattled open prison doors,
Destroyed the chains of those,
Commissioned to speak with Your power,
And in Your Name..

Place a high,
Insurmountable hedge about me.
One I can not leap,
When I hear the voices
Calling on the other side.

I know myself,
And that I shall try to flee.
For, though the boundary,
Be for my own good,
Fool, that I know myself to be,
Fleeing is in me.

All my hope
Is in the Love
You bear for me.
You, my Love,
Scale the walls of my pride,
O, Love, Who sets watch towers
On the heights,
And is enemy
To my enemies,
And the Guardian
Of my soul.

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 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

The passion of the Whole Body of Christ

From a commentary on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop

The passion of the whole body of Christ

Lord, I have cried to you, hear me. This is a prayer we can all say. This is not my prayer, but that of the whole Christ. Rather, it is said in the name of his body. When Christ was on earth he prayed in his human nature, and prayed to the Father in the name of his body, and when he prayed drops of blood flowed from his whole body. So it is written in the Gospel: Jesus prayed with earnest prayer, and sweated blood. What is this blood streaming from his whole body but the martyrdom of the whole Church?

Lord, I have cried to you, hear me; listen to the sound of my prayer, when I call upon you. Did you imagine that crying was over when you said: I have cried to you? You have cried out, but do not as yet feel free from care. If anguish is at an end, crying is at an end; but if the Church, the body of Christ, must suffer anguish until the end of time, it must not say only: I have cried to you, hear me; it must also say: Listen to the sound of my prayer, when I call upon you.

Let my prayer rise like incense in your sight; let the raising of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

This is generally understood of Christ, the head, as every Christian acknowledges. When day was fading into evening, the Lord laid down his life on the cross, to take it up again; he did not lose his life against his will. Here, too, we are symbolized. What part of him hung on the cross if not the part he had received from us? How could God the Father ever cast off and abandon his only Son, who is indeed one God with him? Yet Christ, nailing our weakness to the cross (where, as the Apostle says: Our old nature was nailed to the cross with him), cried out with the very voice of humanity: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The evening sacrifice is then the passion of the Lord, the cross of the Lord, the oblation of the victim that brings salvation, the holocaust acceptable to God. In his resurrection he made this evening sacrifice a morning sacrifice. Prayer offered in holiness from a faithful heart rises like incense from a holy altar. Nothing is more fragrant than the fragrance of the Lord. May all who believe share in this fragrance.

Therefore, our old nature, in the words of the Apostle, was nailed to the cross with him, in order, as he says, to destroy our sinful body, so that we may be slaves to sin no longer.

Babe of All Perfection

O happy Babe!

Babe of All Perfection,

Your little heart, so full of love,

Your face radiant,

Reflected in Your mother’s gaze.

Your soul, ablaze!

Hearth of longing and compassion,

The Family of Nations comes to adore You

 

©2011 Joann Nelander

Hallowed Steps

Letting go, and letting God, still holds challenge.
A lifetime of learning hasn’t made it easier,
Just more imperative,
As my way just gets in my way.

Like a little lamb, I follow,
Though the way be set by trial ,
My shepherd walks before.

In hallowed steps
I plant my feet.
Surety and Covenant abiding
Your Way, my way, forevermore.

Reflecting on a Newborn

Joy was my initial response
to a day of silence,
more exactly, a day of listening.

The sense I had was of God’s delight.
He was looking on me as we do a newborn,
full of love  and enchantment.
He wanted me to share this delight.
He wanted me to recognize that it was me
who delighted Him.

I had an image in my mind of angels and saints,
those present at the Mass,
passing by and looking on me
as they would a precious newborn.
(I had just consumed the Eucharist.)
Each holy spirit approached,
giving me a blessing I would grow into,
or seen another way,
by which I would grow.

The Father wanted me to know
how much it delighted Him
to see me rise after a fall.
I am a sinner but I will be a saint,
if I allow His love to form me,
and continue to rise after each fall.
It would be nice if my falls were infrequent,
but if they be a thousand,
He would grace me a thousand times,
each time I washed my robe clean
in the blood of Christ,
confessing my sins and beginning anew,
a newborn.

By Joann Nelander

This Is For Me

The Crucifixion of Christ by Simon Vouet

Image via Wikipedia

They choose nails to fix You to the Tree of Life, the witness of Your Death.

It was Love that drew You to that Hour, that thrice holy Hour,

Love, not nails, that held You fast, upon the beam.

Your Father’s Will was the cord that bound and secured You,
Heart and Soul, Your Undivided All.

You choose this consummation, devoid of earthly pleasure,
Your Passion, the counter and all consuming Fire, that ravages Sin,
The Sin of our earthly passions,
That spends our lives in unholy rebellion.

When all others fled for want of Godly self-possession,
You mounted Your Cross in peace and resignation.

This throne of suffering and sovereignty held dominion
Over the underworld and all it’s gods.

Your edict, a request: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

It is Love that draws You to this Hour, this thrice holy Hour,

Love, not nails, that weds me, in freedom and abandonment, to Your All Holy Heart.

By Joann Nelander

To the Wound in Jesus’ Side

Translation by Fr Mark of a prayer, “Alla Piaga Del Costato di Gesù,” To the Wound in Jesus’ Side, composed by the Servant of God Father Eustachio Montemurro (1857–1923).

To the Wound in Jesus’ Side

O painless thrust of the spear
forever awaited with passionate love by my Saviour
that thou shouldst repair in the Father’s sight
the terrible wound opened by the sin of Adam
in the heart of humanity!
O glorious wound,
gushing forth life, love, and peace!
I adore thee inexhaustible wellspring of salvation,
the womb of new children
born of the water and of the blood of the Bridegroom.
Thou art for me an ever open refuge,
the door giving access to the nuptial chamber,
the vestibule of the banquet of the Lamb.
The living water that, at every moment, springs from thee,
invites me with the language of love
to enter, through thee, into the heart of my Saviour
that therein I might take the regenerating rest of new life
and spread it all about me
just as the bride coming forth from the nuptial chamber
radiates among her friends the signs and the sweetnesses of love.
Be thou for me, then, O blessed wound,
my blissful abode.
May I be drawn always to thee,
that in thee I may live and die.
In thee may I find the splendid riches
which eye has never seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart experienced.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
glory of my mind, joy of my eyes,
melody of my ears, gladness of my heart,
and peace of my soul.
I am Thine for time and for eternity;
nothing shall ever separate me from Thee,
for Thou hast espoused me,
drawing me with bands of goodness to Thy open side
and pouring out of Thy heart into mine
the joys of the Spirit
and the mercy of the Father who always hears Thee.