Franciscan Flowers



Sunday Snippets — A Catholic Carnival

RAnn of This, That and the Other Thing graciously hosts Sunday Snippets — A Catholic Carnival giving Catholic bloggers a chance to share their favorites posts with one another. Join the fun, and leave a comment , won’t you? This week my contribution is my efforts at chinese brush painting of Colorado mountains and waterfalls:

Love Take Me Captive

O Captain of my heart
On Love’s Tree
You penetrate the Lie.

You, victorious in Death,
Descend, piercing the Earth
To ransom Adam’s seed.

Scale my stony ramparts;
Pull down vanity’s tower;
Besiege the Gates of Hell.

Trumpet Your holy rage.
As with thundering steed and burnished sword,
Capture and hold fast my soul.

Call “Beloved” Your desolate one;
Call “Espoused” she who mourns
Her innocence’s demise.

Circle me about with Promise.
Covenant me in Blood Sacrifice.
Ascend on high with wedded bride..

O, Love Divine, make me Thine!


by Joann Nelander

Hold a Thought

Hold a thought in your heart today:

“Let your heart be an altar.” Saint Peter Chrysologus

Gardening and the Soul – 101

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

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

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

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

Into the Hands of Foreigners

Save us, Lord, collect us together from among the nations. Alleluia.

Psalm 105 (106)

They mingled themselves with the peoples,
and learned to do as they did.
They served the same idols
until it became their undoing.
They sacrificed their own sons
and their daughters to demons.
They poured out innocent blood.
The blood of their own sons and daughters
was sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.
Their blood polluted the land,
and their actions defiled them.
They devoted themselves to whoring.
The Lord blazed out in anger against his own people,
He detested his own chosen race.
He gave them into the hands of foreigners.
They were conquered by those who hated them.

These words from today’s Office of Readings, I find frightening in light of our society.  We are blessed by the knowledge that God, who is near to us, has blessed us, giving us His Son and sending us His Holy Spirit.  Sinners get to live as saints should they so desire. What does our society reveal about our desires.

What does our society testify about us as a people?  Gifts, even gifts of God, can be squandered by prodigal sons and daughters. His greatest gift, life, we subject to pluralistic debate and countermand by man-made law. ‘Choice’ is elevated above conscience and morality and enshrined as a god to be fed by money-making mills. Is this license the best we can do with the gift of life in a land of freedom and liberty?

Facts about fetal pain.

More facts about fetal pain.

Facts about maternal pain.

Just the facts

Musing on Spengler Unmasked and Interesting

Spengler unmasks and allows a peek at the inner workings that he wrapped in the pseudonym.  It’s all very interesting and I’m just beginning to digest it.  At first read, I respond to the klunk on my musing surface to a piece of Spengler’s journey to open identity.

Spengler writes of his time in a cult, “The question, of course, is what were a group of young Jews doing in the company of a cult leader with a paranoid view of the world and a thinly disguised anti-Semitic streak.” In part, he answers, “There existed a science of mind, LaRouche claimed, that would enable the adept to reach the right conclusion.” and more, Larouche claimed to trace a tradition of secret knowledge across the ages, from Plato and Plotinus, through the Renaissance, and down to the German scientists and philosophers of the nineteenth century. Of course, that raises a question: If there exists this kind of knowledge, then why isn’t it universally shared? The reverse side of the gnostic page is paranoia: There must be a cabal of evil people who prevent the dissemination of the truth.”

It reads like gripping fiction, reminding me, with my fully accepted Judeo-Christian underpinnings of Gen 3: 4-5, “You certainly will not die!  No  God knows well that the  moment you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.”

I would tend to run afraid for my soul.  The scenario would rouse a voice that speaks to me, that I know would say, “At first blush, you will blush and then you will no longer blush, as headlong you pursue a dream or call it temptation.  With heady glee, forbidden pleasure will be recast for the ‘good’ it promises. Soon you will become like gods in your private reveries or privy little worlds; not only knowing what is good and what is bad, but you will have known good and bad in that intimate way of knowing that spoils the good like food gone bad.  Throwing your whole self into pursuit of what might be tasty and alluring, knowledge itself will be your cavorting and you ravenous.  You will run after experience so as to judge by your own proclivities what delights, what titillates and what requires more of your self than you can give or share.  What a god, indeed!

Have I gone too far? I tend to jump to conclusions and without input, I get stuck there.  I’m still listening and will dive in again. “Confessions of a Coward” by Davis P. Goldman is a must read.

It touches me because for three years I trained at Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Nursing and it was formation ground for me.  My friends during those years were all Jewish.  Their Jewishness was different from my Catholicism.  An encounter with Thomas Merton’s “the Seven Storey Mountain,” began me on the life long practice of daily Mass and prayer.  That set me in a direction in which I continue still today.

The Jewishness of my friends was expressed with more subtlety. There identity as Jews was perceptible, solid and unwavering.  It raised a sense of admiration in me. I, however, can’t recall a single religious conversation.

Even today, in my prayers for them, I don’t know how to pray.  Their faith is precious to me.  I want to see it lived to the full.  I guess I know they are a peculiar people whom God, not only cherishes, but for whom He plans providentially a future full of hope and abundant blessing. There seems to be in me a sense that God planted this seed, continues to water it and will bring it to marvelous fruition in His time. I pray for them wordlessly.

As for Spengler, my favorite part is:

Around 1985, the ugly awareness that I had spent almost a decade in a gnostic cult coincided with a dark time in my personal life. Deeply depressed, I sat at the piano one night, playing through the score of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and came to the chorale that reads: “Commend your ways and what ails your heart to the faithful care of Him who directs the heavens, who gives course and aim to the clouds, air and wind. He will also find a path that your foot can tread.” For the first time in my life, I prayed, and in that moment, I knew that my prayer was heard. That was a first step of teshuva—of return.

The truth is that I did not think my way into praying. I prayed my way into thinking.