“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.

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.

You Are the Music

Jesus, You are the music
Playing on the stage of my life.
You are the witness of my acts.
You are my faithful critic.

You behold and hold
My life up to Your Light
That its rays may reveal
The holes in my performance.

Thus seeing,
I wisely turn, and say,
Heal me.
Help me.
Act on my behalf,
For I still don’t know
How Love lives my life,
And plays in me,
Save You direct me.

©2012 Joann Nelander

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?

Fiat

“Fiat”
To Mary’s “Fiat,”
O say, “Amen. Amen. Amen.”

“Fiat,” my gift to You, my King.
I give You,
Here in my heart,
Mary’s “Fiat.”,
That so inflamed the Heart of the Father,
That He gave her His Kingdom,
Enfleshed in His Son.

The instant Mary formed
Her ascent to the Will of God,
In her heart and mind,
And formed the word, “Fiat.”
God began His Human Life
In the womb of the Virgin.

O Mary, more than a Chalice,
For of your seed sprang the God-Man,
Fully human,
Fully Divine,
Of You in the Spirit,
Eucharist conceived
In Immaculate Splendor.

Thanksgiving began
In the heaven of your soul,
And took flesh
From the heaven of your being.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Father, my gift to You this morning,
Mary’s “Fiat”.
May it ring out
From this lowly earth,
That heaven come down,
And live among Men.

Rain down Truth and Beauty,
Born of a Virgin,
His Body forever bearing
Her donation.
Mystery, Divine,
Remember Your Love
Throughtout Time.

©2012 Joann Nelander

Jesus, Haven of My Soul

Jesus, I place myself
In the holy confines
Of Your Sacred Heart.
Heart of my heart,
Draw heaven to me.

Surround me with friends
Of Your choosing,
That my mind might be full
Of the conversation of saints.

The world is so much with me.
It is temptress and shallow.
I long for the deep
Of Your thoughts,
To speak peace and refuge
In my wilderness.

You are the haven of my soul,
The Paradise once lost,
But now given
With my Daily Bread.

Exile holds no fear
For You surround me.
You are my consolation
And marrow of my bones,
Strength of my strength.

Your Holy Spirit comes to me
And turns my tears to laughter.
In a valley of vanity and pride,
Your Humanity and Humility
Take me by the hand and heart
To lead me home.

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Free to Love

I choose to love You, Lord.
My free will is Your gift.
I can decide Your Way too narrow,
And banish You
From my mind, my home, my life,
And the world about me.

I am free to celebrate gods,
I fashion as my own,
To revel in idolatry,
To exult with the mocking crowds
Making fun and sport of You,
You, Who are “so out of touch.”

You have fallen from fashion.
Your Cross, an embarrassment.
This world demands signs,
And leeks, and onions,
And grande cappacinos.

No, You will not stop me.
Without Your grace,
I can not stop myself.
I seem at times to prefer
The company of men,
All who purport to know.

Truth, though, gives witness
To a milieu
Of blatant braggadocio
With holes,
Through which their errors flow
To seed a field with tares.
For a prideful people
Seeking a rose garden,
Yet only thistles grow.

I choose to love You, Lord.
Be Sun to my darkness,
Be my Light
That I might see.
Protect and command me,
That I might obey.
Love demands freedom.
Freely, I turn to Thee.

©2012 Joann Nelander

AN EFFICACIOUS METHOD OF OFFERING OUR ACTIONS TO GOD

H/T Catholic Tradition.org

 

While St. Gertrude was offering a certain action to God, saying:
O Lord, I offer Thee this work through Thine Only Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the praise of Thine eternal Majesty; it was revealed to her that whatever action was thus offered would acquire a worth and acceptableness to God beyond all human comprehension. For as all things appear to be green when seen through a green glass, so whatever is offered to God through His Only-begotten Son cannot be otherwise than most precious and pleasing in His sight.
That you may understand how useful it is to offer all your works to God, listen to what our Lord said on one occasion to St. Gertrude: All thy works are most perfectly pleasing to Me. And as she could not believe this, He added: If you held in your hand some object which you had the means and the skill to render perfectly pleasing to everyone, and if you tenderly loved that object, would you neglect to adorn it? Even thus, because you are accustomed to offer all your works to Me, I hold them in My hand; and as I have both the power and the skill, My love rejoiceth to cleanse and perfect them all, that they may be most perfectly pleasing in My sight.

Unusual Gifts

Way back when, I discovered an usual gift, which I exercised for a time. It wasn’t as though, I possessed it. It seemed more like a cooperation, of sorts, in faith.  It started when my friend, Charlotte, came up to me after a prayer meeting, and asked if she could share a vision God had shown her of me. Puzzled, a bit wary, and, definitely curious, I said, “Sure!”

Charlotte described a picture vision. Jesus first showed her a big, shiny apple; as she beheld it, it turned around. On the other side, there was apple pie, apple sauce, apple jam, apple butter, apple fritters, and the array went on and on. Needless, to say, I felt blessed and humbled.

I thanked the Lord in prayer and asked Him, “What about Charlotte?” I had to smile, as I understood that one fruit alone couldn’t describe her. Chiquita Banana danced in my mind’s eye, with a headdress full of beautiful, colorful and exotic fruit. It really did describe Charlotte, for she was a gifted lady with gifts of leadership, counsel and music, to name just a few. Of course, I shared my prayer’s answer with Charlotte, to her delight.

I remember hearing, once upon a time, that what we receive as a gift, we are expected to share as a gift. Not long after these experiences, I was relating the tale, to a friend, who immediately asked, “What kind of fruit am I?” I didn’t expect that, and had no answer for her that day. I took it to Jesus, in prayer, as I said I would. The Lord surprised me with an immediate answer. “Pineapple.” That, too, was a surprise. I guess “pineapple” was not on my short list of normal fruits. I told Esther, and proceeded to tell her what else I heard. I understood that she had been equipped by the Lord with a rugged exterior protecting her in life. This outer toughness had guarded her succulent inner being, so sensitive and sweet. Esther smiled as I spoke, and then said, “I knew you would say, ‘pineapple’.” Since pineapple wasn’t even on my list of fruits that jump out at you, I asked, why the pineapple? Esther said  that throughout her marriage, right up to the present, pineapple has been her daily lunch. I took that as happy confirmation.

When I told this story, others also asked, “What fruit am I?” Each time I hesitantly approached the Lord. He never disappointed. I remember a few answers that were unusual. One lovely, prayerful and generous, lady was identified not by a fruit, but the flower of the fruit, an orange blossom, worn by a bride. When asking, at my pastor’s request, Jesus, answered me, saying, “He’s the dimple in my smile.”  My daughter, Carolyn’s answer, was not a fruit, but the wood of a tree, “The cherry tree, rich, and solid and beautiful.” She went off smiling to get ready for her day. She came back, a few minutes later, obviously taken aback, and in awe. She simply placed her compact in my hand and said “Read the back.” It read, “Cherry Wood.”

Scary – “Lost Works” from Sermons of the Cure of Ars

LOST WORKS

How is it, my dear brethren, that so few Christians behave with one end only in view — to please God? Here is the reason, pure and simple. It is just that the vast majority of Christians are enveloped in the most shocking ignorance, so that, humanly speaking, they really do the very best they can.

The result is that if you were to compare their intentions with those of pagans, you would not find any difference. Ah, dear Lord, how many good works are lost for Heaven! Others who are a little better informed are interested only in the esteem of their fellow men, and they try to dissemble as much as they can: their exterior seems good, while interiorly they are filled with duplicity and evil. Yes, my dear brethren, we shall see at the Judgment that the largest section of Christians practiced a religion of whim or caprice only — that is to say, the greatest number of them practiced their religion merely from motives of routine, and very few sought God alone in what they did.

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

Audio or Video of Divine Mercy Chaplet

Click here for Audio of Chaplet of Divine Mercy or  Video of sung Chaplet

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

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

I Am the Gift

I am the gift
God gives to me,
Mysterious and known,
But to God.

Unfolding like the petals of a rose,
From tightly wound bud,
To glorious blossom,
Unfurled and unfettered,
I move with the wind
And dance with the sun,
Following its course
Across the sky.

I am God’s gracious gift.
He, the grace giver.
May I serve to delight Him,
By the fragrance of my being,
Offering no resistance,
As I incline
To the gentle breeze,
Or bow in storm’s fury.

The gift God gives to me,
I kiss and make return,
One smiling bloom
In God’s splendid bouquet of creation.

©2012 Joann Nelander

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.”

Then and Now – The Dilemma and the Dialog

It’s been fifty years, since I was first confronted by issues of life in the womb, and of choice conflicting with traditional morality. It’s an old story, but very personal, and fraught with emotional triggers. Then, I was a student nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where Dr. Alan Guttmacher and Margaret Sanger were being hailed as super-heroes of Womankind. In a lecture presented to student nurses in our formative years, opinions were presented as fact. The class focused on birth control, under the banner of Women’s Health. A one-sided presentation of the history of Planned Parenthood took center stage. I knew, then, the class was skewed, avoiding the issue, and immorality of abortion, which, in reality, eventually raises its ugly head in an unbiased arena.

I was silent, asked no questions, although I was aware that what was being said was not the whole, unadulterated story. The heroine, Margaret Sanger, in truth, wrote prolifically, revealing the underpinning of her eugenic philosophy. Her own words promote a foundational agenda more akin to racial cleansing, than savior of womankind. Her involvement in the Negro Project and speeches to the Klu Klux Klan should have been red flags stripping her of any moral authority. She was, and, is no hero, to at least half our Nation. Yet, fifty years, and Sanger’s own words, have not deterred Planned Parenthood from canonizing her, and striving to re-write her actual history. Then, I didn’t know her history; I do now.

You can find Sanger’s writings online, as well as ample examples of her questionable associations and eugenic thought processes. I wish I knew all this years ago, for my experience of the lecture left me feeling that my inexperience and naiveté, made me vulnerable to propaganda. I was not prepared to confront the status quo, and those in authority, even at this level, in a teaching venue.

Well, it has been fifty years, and in reading our Alumnae News, spring 2012, an article entitled, “The Past- Planned Parenthood from the Beginning” brought me back to that day and my dilemma. What bothered me most about the recent, well-meaning article was the writer’s voice that seemed to me to assume moral superiority. There is a false compassion that plays to emotionalism and worse case scenarios, and I heard it in the tone of this piece. It, yet again, presented its cast of characters as pioneer heroines, and their cause as above reproach. Yet, there are many Mt. Sinai alumnae, and millions of people in this country, who, in a just righteousness, also seek the welfare of women, desire to protect the living, the home, and the foundational fabric of society as guardians of family and the individual, and who do not agree with this stance, and suppositions made here. They are ignored in this article, as they were in the lecture of years ago.

Motherhood plays poorly, when pregnancy is portrayed as an albatross hung about its neck. For a true dialog, and the Big Picture, the voice of the other side needs to be heard by student nurses and society as a whole, for the good of women and society. It is a necessary and rational voice, lifted to oppose, what it views as a pseudo-sophisticate, myopic view presented as progressive. This other valid voice addresses life issues compassionately, while being circumspect and prophetic, speaking for, and caring for, the good of the person and humanity. It, too, takes a moral stance that is unselfish, sometimes unpopular, and honors the wisdom of cultures and the sages of present and past ages. Dismissive attitudes do no justice to truth and learning. Student nurses, and society as a whole, deserve the whole truth. Our personal humanity hangs in the balance.

I, for one, want a voice, not a label. I’ll stand with those that reject a culture, in which truth doesn’t matter, that seeks the material over life, “whose morality is only a mask, which covers confusion and destruction”1and in doing so comes dangerously close to denying the Creator of life.

Our motto, “Vota Vita Nostra”, “We devote our lives,” speaks not only to our personal decision, but to there being One, and a cause, greater than ourselves, worthy of sacrifice, and our dedication, greater even than the Mt. Sinai from which we ventured forth, will never forget, and now are carrying into this day and this hour of history. Keep it real. Keep it honest. Listen for truth with the heart of a nurse.

© 2012 Joann  Nelander

Weaned Child

I am the weaned child,
Upon Your knee.
Forgetful of time,
I curl Your hair about my fingers,
And tug at Your heartstrings.

My toys, the shiny objects of yesterday,
Lie by the stairs,
By which I began my ascent to You.

Comfort me.
Cuddle me.
Tickle me.

You spend Your universe,
As You had always planned,
Delighting one so small,
The least of the Children of Man.

© 2012 Joann Nelander

The Preeminence of Charity

From a sermon by Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot

Why, brothers, are we so little concerned to seek one another’s well-being, so that where we see a greater need, we might show a greater readiness to help and carry one another’s burdens? For this is what the blessed apostle Paul urges us to do in the words: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ; and also: Support each other in charity. For this surely is the law of Christ.

Why can I not patiently bear the weaknesses I see in my brother which, either out of necessity or because of physical or moral weakness, cannot be corrected? And why can I not instead generously offer him consolation, as it is written: Their children shall be carried on their shoulders and consoled upon their knees? Is it because I lack that virtue which suffers all things, is patient enough to bear all, and generous enough to love?

This is indeed the law of Christ, who truly bore our weaknesses in his passion and carried our sorrows out of pity, loving those he carried and carrying those he loved. Whoever attacks a brother in need, or plots against him in his weakness of whatever sort, surely fulfills the devil’s law and subjects himself to it. Let us then be compassionate toward one another, loving all our brothers, bearing one another’s weaknesses, yet ridding ourselves of our sins.

The more any way of life sincerely strives for the love of God and the love of our neighbor for God’s sake, the more acceptable it is to God, no matter what be its observances or external form. For charity is the reason why anything should be done or left undone, changed or left unchanged; it is the initial principle and the end to which all things should be directed. Whatever is honestly done out of love and in accordance with love can never be blameworthy. May he then deign to grant us this love, for without it we cannot please him, and without him we can do absolutely nothing, God, who lives and reigns for ever. Amen.

Listening to Love

What are you saying, dear Lord?

You Who speak with Your poor creature.

Give voice to Your desire.

Place Your lips to my ear.

 

How do You speak?

Will I hear a voice?

See a vision?

Feel Your stirrings in my soul?

Will there be thunder as on Sinai

Or the breeze of Carmel?

 

Can I see in my blindness?

Hear, despite ears that have inclined to foreign gods?

Barnacles of perversion weigh on me.

Encrustations of sin hamper my ascent.

 

Give me feathers,

And wings of desire,

That I might rise, weightless and free,

Drawn by Your Love for me,

As music on the Wind of Your Spirit.

 

©2011 Joann Nelander

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

Virgin Mary Consoles Eve

This painting is so consoling, I just have to share it again since Advent brings us closer and closer to the precious moment of our Savior’s birth.  He comes to save Fallen Man, and with such a gentle hand.

“Virgin Mary Consoles Eve”


Crayon and pencil by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO
Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey

Carry Me

You have carried me on your shoulder.

I am that wound that pained you greatly.

Carry me into my future.

As you carried Your Cross.

I know I hurt;

I can feel it myself.

 

Now in heaven, You are free from pain,

Except for that, which You suffer,

In the mystery of Your Church on earth,

Except for that, which You suffer in me,

For love of me, for love of Your Cross.

I am the cross You lovingly still bear.

 

© 2011 Joann Nelander

All rights reserved

Adoration for Reparation for Sexual Abuses by Priests – Vatican

John Thavis posted in Catholic News Service:

The Vatican is hosting two hours of  Eucharistic Adoration “in reparation for abuses committed by priests and for the healing of this wound within the church.”The service in St. Peter’s Basilica this Saturday will feature an hour of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour of prayer and meditation, and a solemn blessing at the end.

The unusual initiative was organized by Catholic university students in Rome. Sources said the event was originally planned for the small Church of St. Anne inside Vatican City, but that it was moved to St. Peter’s at the suggestion of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who is archpriest of the basilica.

Tears’ Requite

Awash on  shores of errant heart,
Crystalline soldiers wend their depart.

The battle o’er, the mend begun,
Hovering Spirit break forth thy sun.

You tugged as moon on ebbing tide,
To etch and burrow as to chide,

But than as swells of billowed lace,
You left a smile of radiant grace.

To purge my soul of sorrow’s trough,
You gently rain to Spirit off

The crust and brine of life’s past sin,
and let your troves of laughter in.

Providence of wind and wave
Serve but to resurrect and save.

by Joann Nelander

The Spirit Gives Life

From the book On the Holy Spirit by Saint Basil the Great, bishop

The Spirit Gives Life

Our Lord made a covenant with us through baptism in order to give us eternal life. There is in baptism an image both of death and of life, the water being the symbol of death, the Spirit giving the pledge of life. The association of water and the Spirit is explained by the twofold purpose for which baptism was instituted, namely, to destroy the sin in us so that it could never again give birth to death, and to enable us to live by the Spirit and so win the reward of holiness. The water into which the body enters as into a tomb symbolizes death; the Spirit instills into us his life-giving power, awakening our souls from the death of sin to the life that they had in the beginning. This then is what it means to be born again of water and the Spirit: we die in the water, and we come to life again through the Spirit.

To signify this death and to enlighten the baptized by transmitting to them knowledge of God, the great sacrament of baptism is administered by means of a triple immersion and the invocation of each of the three divine Persons. Whatever grace there is in the water comes not from its own nature but from the presence of the Spirit, since baptism is not a cleansing of the body, but a pledge made to God from a clear conscience.

As a preparation for our life after the resurrection, our Lord tells us in the gospel how we should live here and now. He teaches us to be peaceable, long-suffering, undefiled by desire for pleasure, and detached from worldly wealth. In this way we can achieve, by our own free choice, the kind of life that will be natural in the world to come.

Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, we ascend to the kingdom of heaven, and we are reinstated as adopted sons. Thanks to the Spirit we obtain the right to call God our Father, we become sharers in the grace of Christ, we are called children of light, blessing is showered upon us, both in this world and in the world to come. As we contemplate them even now, like a reflection in a mirror, it is as though we already possessed the good things our faith tells us that we shall one day enjoy. If this is the pledge, what will the perfection be? If these are the firstfruits, what will the full harvest be?

The Precious and Life-giving Cross of Christ

From a sermon by Saint Theodore the Studite

The Precious and Life-giving Cross of Christ

How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return.

This was the tree on which Christ, like a king on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the Lord of death, and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord, like a brave warrior wounded in his hands, feet and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature. A tree once caused our death, but now a tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent by a tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality, that shame should become glory! Well might the holy Apostle exclaim: Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world! The supreme wisdom that flowered on the cross has shown the folly of worldly wisdom’s pride. The knowledge of all good, which is the fruit of the cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness. Continue reading

Time of Mercy Before “Day of Justice”

Perhaps, we are always to think of ourselves as living in “the Last Days”? After-all, the Christians of the very first century expected that the return of Jesus was imminent.  As each arch-enemy to the Faith lifted his fist, there were those who saw Jesus’ Second Coming just over the horizon. The end didn’t come immediately, but purification came to prepare the way into the future, and with the future the promise of the Day of the Lord.  Again and again, the Cross has led the way and with the Victorious Cross looms on the horizon in the East the promised Return.

What are we to make of these days?  The Church gives us a new Saint in Sr. Faustina Kowalska, who spoke of “the Last Days,” because the Lord, Himself, put the words on her lips.

St. Faustina wrote in DIVINE MERCY IN MY SOUL The Diary of Sister M. Faustina Kowalska :

(Jesus to Sr. Faustina)

“Write this: before I come as the Just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of Justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the Heaven of this sort:

All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be a great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the Cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day. “

St. Faustina wrote at the behest of Jesus.  He called her, “My Secretary”.

“…In the old covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind but I desire to heal it pressing it to My merciful heart…” (Diary 1588)

“Your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about my mercy. For the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me. I, therefore want you to devote all your free moments to writing.” (Diary 1693)

“…You are the secretary of My mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this life and the next life” (Diary 1605)

“…I demand that you devote all your free moments to writing about My goodness and mercy. It is your office and your assignment throughout your life to continue to make known to souls the great mercy I have for them and to exhort them to trust in My bottomless mercy” (Diary 1567)

“My daughter; tell souls that I am giving them My mercy as a defense. I, Myself, am fighting for them and am bearing the just anger of My Father.” (Diary 1516)

In Times of Darkness – The Cross

A Prayer for the World

Lord Jesus, let flow from Your precious wounds opened in Your Crucifixion and Death on the Cross, a fresh torrent of Love and Mercy upon the world.  Like stars lighting up the sky as did the Star of Bethlehem, let Your Light proceed from the nail holes in that eternal Wood on which you hung.  Planted Now in Heaven, may that Tree bear fruit ever sweet and fresh to the world for whose Sin You willingly died. Amen.

Words of Jesus to St. Faustina

“All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be a great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the Cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day.”