People of Praise

Your people praise you, O Lord.
As points of light,
Scattered about
The surface of the Earth.
Together with angelic choirs,
That dot the firmament,
Your children sing.

With fish, and bird,
With rivers and seas,
With mountains,
And heavenly heights,
Creation sings in chorus,
Affirmation,
Acclamation,
And affection,
In sanctifying hosannas,
That fall as bountiful rain,
To water man and beast
With fruitful exaltation,
Multipling our delight,
As we magnify our God.

We are your mothers,
Fathers, sisters,
Brothers, friends
Of Your fold,
Returning praise,
And worship due
The Most High Lord
Of all creation.
In Your Light we
Become Your Light.

© 2012 Joann Nelander

People of Praise

Your people praise you, O Lord.
As points of light,
Scattered about
The surface of the Earth.
Together with angelic choirs,
That dot the firmament,
Your children sing.

With fish, and bird,
With rivers and seas,
With mountains,
And heavenly heights,
Creation sings in chorus,
Affirmation,
Acclamation,
And affection,
In sanctifying hosannas,
That fall as bountiful rain,
To water man and beast
With fruitful exaltation,
Multipling our delight,
As we magnify our God.

We are your mothers,
Fathers, sisters,
Brothers, friends
Of Your fold,
Returning praise,
And worship due
The Most High Lord
Of all creation.
In Your Light we
Become Your Light.

© 2012 Joann Nelander

Listening and Silent

It seems…
I am always talking to You,
That I am always with You,
And have no doubt
You are with me,
Listening and silent.

I am an endless monologue.
You, hovering Spirit,
Wordlessly eloquent
Abide.
You are Presence and Truth,
Listening and silent,
Thunderously silent,
Save for the stirring of my heart,
And the sometime rush of thought,
Coming, as it were,
From the bowels of my being
With frightening conviction,
And challenging my reticence
To speak aloud
The thoughts of solitude.

Reluctant always
To go about,
And leave the cloister of my heart,
Where in Your chambers I find,
And hold dear,
Private audience with the King,

The world without is a noisy charade,
And woos the pride of me take center stage.
Where suddenly I realize
I have been talking much, too much,
To my regret.

I, naggingly, suspect
I have diminished
What was my treasure
And ceased to learn.
Cacophony of me,
I cease to learn,
And simply rearrange,
That with which I am familiar.

Where do prophet, poet and a would be recluse
Find voice if not in You,
Rejecting even audience
To find You in my silence,
Your silence?

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Candles on Altars

Candles on Altars

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle holder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All men are candles,
Burning on some altar.
Some disappear into nothingness,
Before worldly idols,
Unable to sustain their spark
Beyond the veil,
Into eternity.

Others light the heavens
As they are consumed
On the altar of Love,
Merging imperceptibly,
Creature with Creator.

When my wax is spent,
I pray I am not distracted
By my sin.
When I melt
Into the arms of God,
May it be that Love,
That lit my flame,
Outshines my imperfections
In holy consummation.

Burn candle, all alight
Warming with mercy rays the night,
To Penetrate hearts of friend and foe,
To soothe and mend wounds,
Dispelling darkness
With the Uncreated Light
That set creation into being.

Now and forever,
I cast myself
Into the flame,
The furnace of His Sacred Heart.
Passing through pierced side,
One with the Virgin,
Holy angels and expurgated saints of ole,
Melted in union,
I am formed anew in Christ,
With the Father and Spirit,
Candle, altar and Salvation might.

© 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Thanksgiving Kiss

O, Mary, thank you for Your Child.
See my empty arms.
See my open heart.
Place your Treasure
In my embrace.

He smiles at me,
As I push aside  His swaddling,
To gaze in awe
On the Babe of my redemption.

Mystery of mysteries,
Mercy of God,
You’ve come to me.
You’ve come for me
I dare a kiss on Your sweet brow,
My Emmanuel.

© 2011 Joann Nelander

All Yours for Time and Eternity

All Yours:
All that is uncreated,
All that is of matter,
All we know,
All that is yet unfathomable,
All we shall never know,
All that is yet to be.

Though my will is free,
Yours are the hours that come to me.
You count out my years,
Allot the days of my life.
You feed me,
And so I am still here,
But one day not.

Why do I count the cost?
Why do I hoard?
Why do I envy?
Why do I paw the ground?
You Who span the Universe
Have paid the price,
And covenanted with me.

When I am dust again,
You will remember me.
Outside of Time,
You will hold me still.
My frame is written in Your being
For I am of the Son,
Who died for my eternity.

©2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

The Why and the What of Sanctifying Grace

The Why and the What of Sanctifying Grace

This is a very helpful excerpt from Frank J. Sheed’s book, Theology for Beginnings:

“Putting it bluntly, the life of heaven requires powers which by nature we do not possess. If we are to live it, we must be given new powers. To make a rough comparison: if we wanted to live on another planet, we should need new breathing powers, which by nature our lungs have not got. To live the life of heaven, we need new knowing and lovinig powers, which by nature our souls have not got.

For heaven our natural life is not sufficient; we need supernatural life. We have it only by God’s free gift, which is why we call it grace (the word is related to gratis). Sanctifying grace will be our next topic. Everything the Church does is connected with it, and can be understood but cloudily if we do not grasp what it is.

SANCTIFYING GRACE

When we come to die there is only one question that matters—have we sanctifying grace in our souls? If we have, then to heaven we shall go. There may be certain matters to be cleared, or cleansed, on the way, but to heaven we shall go, for we have the power to live there. If we have not, then to heaven we cannot go; not because we lack the price of admission, but because quite simply our soul lacks the powers that living in heaven calls for. It is not a question of getting past the gate, but of living once we are there; there would be no advantage in finding a kindly gate-keeper, willing to let us in anyhow! The powers of intellect and will that go with our natural life are not sufficient: heaven calls for powers of knowing and loving higher than our nature of itself has. We need super-natural life, and we must get it here upon earth. To die lacking it means eternal failure.

We must look at grace more closely if we are to live our lives intelligently. Two things about it must be grasped.

First: It is supernatural, it is wholly above our nature, there is not even the tiniest seed of it in our nature capable of growing, there is nothing we can do to give it to ourselves. We can have it only as God gives it, and He is entirely free in the giving. That, as we have seen, is why it is called grace; and because its object is to unite us with God, it is called sanctifying grace.

Second: Even the word supernatural does not convey how great a thing it is. It is not simply above our nature, or any created nature. It enables us to do—at our own finite level, but really—something which only God Himself can do by nature: it enables us to see God direct. That is why it is called “a created share in the life of God.” That is why those who have it are called “sons of God”: a son is like in nature to his father; by this gift we have a totally new likeness to Our Father in heaven.

Giving us this new life, God does not give us a new soul with new faculties. He inserts it, sets it functioning, in the soul we already have. By it our intellect, which exists to know truth, is given the power to know in a new way; our will, which exists to love goodness, is given the power to love in a new way.

We get the supernatural life here on earth. Not until we reach heaven will it enable us to see God face to face and love Him in the direct contact of the will. But even on earth its elevating work has begun; it gives the intellect a new power of taking hold of truth—by faith; it gives the will new powers of reaching out to goodness—by hope and by charity.

Faith, then, does not mean simply feeling that we believe more than we used to; hope does not mean simply feeling optimistic about our chances of salvation; charity does not mean simply feeling pleased with God. All three may have their effect on our feelings; but they are not feelings; they are wholly real.

The supernatural life in our souls is a new fact, as real as the natural life we have to start with. The powers it gives are facts too; they enable us to do things which without them we could not do: they are as real as eyesight, and considerably more important. Without eyesight, we could not see the material world. But without sanctifying grace we should not be able to see God direct, which is the very essence of living in heaven.

Not only that: here below we should not be sharers of the divine life, sons of God, capable already of taking hold of God by faith and hope and charity, capable of meriting increase of life. This increase of life must be realized; one can be more alive or less, and our life in heaven will differ according to the intensity of faith and hope and charity in our souls when we come to die.

We shall go on to consider these three virtues in detail. Meanwhile concentrate upon one truth: grace is not just a way of saying that a soul is in God’s favor; it is a real life, with its own proper powers, living in the soul; and he who has it is a new man. A soul with sanctifying grace in it is indwelt by God.” (Frank J. Sheed.)