Miracle of Days

New day, the world awakens.
Blue Earth still hung
Among the stars,
Spinning and orbiting.
We rise once more,
Unfazed by planetary whirl.

Sunshine at my window,
Here we go, again.
Out of the bed,
Onto a floor,
Solid ‘neath my feet,
Oh, what a grand illusion.

Without qualm,
In phase with the heavens
The world of men
Slept in surrender
To the slumber
Of the night.

Peace, born of Faith,
Anticipating the morn,
Believing dawn would again.
As done before.
Life, a celebration
Risking response.

All creation rising,
What will you
In your doings?
Your mark, your glory!
Waste not a quark!
O, Miracle of Days!

By Joann Nelander

Fleeting Prayers–Arrows to God’s Heart

Fleeting prayers,
Known but to God,
Recorded in His Heart.
Nothing wasted.

All to flower and  bear fruit,
Supplying for the need
Of His People, His Bride, His Church,
Reaching through Time,

Nothing wasted,
Nothing forgotten,
All in flower,
All bearing fruit.

Fleeting prayers
Known but to God
Nothing forgotten
Arrows to His Heart.

By Joann Nelander

Abundant Breast

I adore.
You, my God, present Yourself to me,
As Mother to a nursing child,
And I nurse at Your Abundant Breast.

Your milk is sweet as honey,
And all I want to do is nurse.
I have chosen the better part,
And You spend Yourself upon my want.

God, You, Who calls forth Life,
And then feeds and sustains the needy,
With endless Love,
Succor and suckle me.

© 2016 Joann Nelander

“For thus says the LORD:
I will spread prosperity over her like a river,
like an overflowing torrent,
the wealth of nations.
You shall nurse, carried in her arms,
cradled upon her knees;

As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.”

Is: 66: 12 – 13

By Your Presence

You, by Your Presence, O Lord,
Are Light to my darkness.
You are the kiss upon my brow,
The oil upon my head,
The arms of sweet embrace,
The banner over my heart.

You, All Love,
Bless this child of Your magnificent
And magnanimous Mercy.
Day by day.
I find You all about me.

Flowers and fields,
Spread before me
As a welcoming blanket.
Come rest awhile, You invite.
I come and I delight.

Keep Praying

Here I am,
Your poor one,
Your lowly one,
Your empty one,
Kneeling in adoration..

You spread out Space and Time,
Knowing You would call me forth.
And then You did.

You called to me,
Forming me from the Earth,
You Who played among the Pleides,
Stooped to play with me.

You kissed me,
With the Breath of Your Mouth,
You filled me,
Shaping me,
Empowering me,
Placing in me a formless hope.

Hope grew with the babe,
And sought with fingers of my senses.
Peeling back the covering of Mystery,
Revealing treasures hidden in the earth,
And dancing in the heavens,

Witnessed with wonder in the Night,
The Universe invited me to You,
To join You in the dance,
For which all Time and Space,
All days and all nights,
All mystery had poured forth,
With Your Cry for Light.

Your Heartbeat created the rhythms of the constellations,
The ebb and flow of cosmic seas.
Your Heart beat for Your dream of Man,
Your dream of me.

You, given as gift,
Hidden from blind eyes,
Hidden among the stars,
Spreading across Your Time,
Filling all Your Majestic Space,
Slowly whispering Your secrets,
And revealing truths,
Revealed Ultimate Truth.
You in Your Way spoke to me.

There was more than matter wrapped in my being.
Secreted without shape,
Without form,
Without stuff,
With only the power to will,
And, thereby, to Love,
To know,
And, thereby, to seek and search,
That, in living, I might come to discover You,
With me, beside me and all around me,
Waiting for me to love You.

You, Who always knew me,
And loved me,
In my ignorance,
In my blindness
And in my very being,
Even while Sin entered in to obscure Your work,
And the wonder of me,
Graced me with a soul.

I didn’t know You.
I couldn’t see You.
I didn’t know to seek after You.
Until I saw You hanging there,
Crossing the abyss,
Above the world,
Suspended and told throughout Time,

Now, at long last, I pray,
And gasp for You, my Breath.
You are the shape of me,
Saved for an eternity
Beyond gaseous matter,
And starry night,
A Day created by the One Uncreated,
And lived in the Wedding
Of Love, of soul and Spirit-being.
For this I will,
With my indomitable will,
Keep praying.

Copyright 2015 Joann Nelander

Moments before Dawn

In these precious moments before dawn
Prepare my waking body and soul
to serve You,
As You served our heavenly Father,
In Your Incarnation.

Dawning in the Virgin’s
Womb,
Hidden Divinity,
Secret, sacred, Savior,
Announced and served by Angels,
Alive in hallowed Love,
Glorifying Man in Your Mortal Garb,
You are hidden now in me.

Manifest Your glory,
In all humility,
As, yet again,
You dawn anew,
In this heart that longs for You.

copyright 2015 Joann Nelander

You Are the Music

Jesus,  write the symphony of my life.

In Your Mystery of becoming,

Blend every note,

And sing the harmony

That embraces the sinner

To create the saint.

You are here

With the Father and Holy Spirit,

Supping and residing,

I receive You in Holy Communion,

Grant that I might never neglect You,

My Holy Guests.

I place You on the music stand of my life.

You are the Score,

And Conductor.

All I receive, I give

On the wind of the Spirit,

To be rightly arranged.

You be the music playing in my soul.

In chorus, Seraphim and Saints intercede,

And I and all creation dance with Miriam

As Jesus mediates the Victory

In His Song of Salvation.

© 2015 Joann Nelander

Lifting the Veil

Lift the veil in this morass of Sin,
That faith may blossom and hope enter in.
Let the Sun of Justice shine
Upon a people in decline,
That looking up from the tyranny of power and things
Your face may captivate and solace bring.

Pour down torrents of Thy Grace
To cleanse this dry and brutal place ,
Uproot to plant anew
A Day of peace like settled dew,
That minds be bright and intellects sublime
And our only glory may be Thine.

© 2016 Joann Nelander

Milk and Honey

I hear of folly and fowl play.
I look to You,
And remember Your Cross.

The psalmist sang of the Dark Valley.
Yet knew Your Presence and Your shield.

Here in my world,
Reign and sup with me.

Hope surrounds me.
As I am Yours,
Beloved child in sweet surrender.

Even Pharaoh served Your purpose.
His obstinacy but a tool in Your Hand.
The Red Sea became a bridge.
Joining heaven to a People.

Times change.
Passover continues.
Your Will,
My Land of Milk and Honey.

©2016 Joann Nelander

OCEAN OF GRACE

By the gracious gift of God.
You, the Invited,
Receive His Peace.
Heartbeat by heartbeat,
Breath by breath,
In each instant,
His Will comes to you,
The Chosen,
To freely choose.

Remain His by faith.
Living in His favor,
A rain of blessing falls,
To water your being,
And penetrate the ground
On which, and in which,
You stand.

You give consent,
And desire in Love,
And as a plentiful valley,
Moment by moment.
Rooted in the holy,
Sanctified by the Sanctifier,
Life and abundance of fruit,
Are multiplied in you,
And grown up around you,

Grace upon grace,
Help, healing and holiness,
Flow in abundance.
From the springing up,
To the watering flow,
Then to rush,
As to the waiting arms a beloved,
Presuming bath and baptism,
To the ingathering of rivers,
In consecration and convergence,
Love returns to the Ocean
Of its Source.

As a homecoming,
Meandering streams
Cut courses through Time.
The many become seas
To, at long last, mingle
In the Mighty Mind,
And Minder of our souls.

copyright 2014 Joann Nelander

lionessblog.com

A Blessing for New Life

All Holy, Almighty, Jesus, Purest Heart,
Look upon the sweet beings, God’s good creations,
Nestled in the sanctity of human wombs.
Encircle the world through these little ones,
With Triune Love.

Bless Mother Eve with the “Fiat” grace of Mother Mary,
To bring forth a generation wed to Your Holy Will,
Peacemakers, pious through obedience,
Loving by Your Spirit,
Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

May these, as Children of the Light, recognize You,
From their coming forth into a new day,
Giving witness, and preparing Your Way,
As John (blessed in his mother’s womb).

Give dominion to these,
As You did the First Adam,
To reclaim and grace Your Good Earth.

A Drop in the Ocean

A drop in the ocean of the Lord,
Minuscule,
Tear-sized,
Hardly felt upon the cheek,
Brushed away
To fall into the river of Your love.

Once alone,
Barely a something,
Really “a nothing”,
A lonely singularity,
But felt upon a Heart.

The tears of others,
Conjoined,
Confusion,
Profusion,
Holy joy in headlong rush,
Whisked over rock and rubble,
Carried by unseen arms,
Pressed on
By force of a Holy Will.

Cascades’ roar arousing fear,
Bewilderment,
Mingled vigor,
Hope rises to the surface
And churns the deep.

Fate creates a splash
And a rivulet of escape,
An instant of choice,
Puddle or precipice?

I hang upon a prayer,
Borne aloft in new fall,
Truly free fall,
Onto the rushing stream,
And weeping humanity prevails.

One drop,
Now millions,
Energy,
Direction,
Momentum,
Kinetic kaleidoscope,
Mirroring Divine power.

The tide of many waters,
Convergence,
At the edge,
And then the fall,
Not like the first,
In free abandonment.

One drop,
Transformed by divine law,
Holy Obedience.
Tumultuous streams
Carve the land without,
And all within.

Fertile flood of holy tears,
Serve now His Plan,
A drop in the ocean of God.

Copyright 2014 Joann Nelander

,

Joann Nelander
lionessblog.com

The Crusades Were a Reasonable Response to Unchecked Islamic Aggression by Angelo Stagnaro

by Angelo Stagnaro

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/astagnaro/the-crusades-were-a-reasonable-response-to-unchecked-islamic-aggression/#ixzz499QNCaLP

Make of Me a Vessel

Lord , make of me, a vessel,
Filled to over-flowing with my God.
Transform my water,
That becoming wine,
I may be poured out
At His will and direction,
As medicine and libation,
For body, mind and soul,
Ever joyful in purity,
And grateful in thanksgiving.
Amen.

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

The Evidence for God from Contemporary Physics" by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. – YouTube

Jim Caviezel Testimony (Actor Who Played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ Film)

I would have preferred that he say that God wants all of you in Heaven,and His mercy is awaiting your free will acceptance of His invitation, rather than his blanket amnesty and presumptive statement of heaven for all. Still well worth listening.

Seeing Jesus

Jesus, Haven of My Heart

Jesus, I place myself
In the holy confines20110914-035209.jpg
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

Defending the Faith – Patrick Madrid

God Has Plans for You

God is counting on you.
God’s plan for the Universe includes you.
God’s plan for History includes you.
God’s plan of Salvation includes you.
God planned you.
You count!

Catch God’s vision.
When you are down,
Ask God, what’s up?
Plans can go wrong
But God is on track.
Are you?

Be faithful.
Little choices add up.
The ordinary is grace-filled opportunity.
That is the stuff of Saints

©2011 Joann Nelaneder

Know Your Place in the Universe or You are Not God

Via First Things

REAL DEATH, REAL DIGNITY by David Mills

He was a dignified man suffering all the embarrassing ways a hospice deals with the body’s failure as cancer begins shutting down the organs. Dying in a hospice, you lose all rights to modesty as you lose control of your body. Few men could have found the indignities of those last few weeks of life more excruciating than did my father.

The man who was always in control depended entirely on the help of others, most of them strangers, most of them nurses’ aides, cheerful young women the age of his granddaughter. The man who was always doing something constructive could not move from his bed. The man who had always made his words count could not speak. The man who was always reserved could hide nothing, keep nothing to himself.

I did not want to see him there. This was what dying of cancer is like, and my father, being the man he was, took it like a man. It was the hand he’d been dealt, and he was going to play it, as bad as it was.

Though he died five years ago, in bookstores I still find myself starting to buy a book I know he’ll like, and thinking as I start to pull it off the shelf, “No, wait,” or deciding to ask his advice on a matter great or small, and thinking as I reach for my phone, “No, wait.” Every time I feel that sharp burning pain behind the sternum you get when your body panics and floods itself with adrenalin. The world has a hole in it and one that will never be filled in this life.

It is a great blessing to be with your father as he dies, though mercifully a blessing you will enjoy only once. I was sitting in his room at the hospice, my wife and children having run round the corner to get lunch, my mother having lunch with an old friend round another corner, my sister up the road at her job running a thrift store. He had, as far as we knew, as far as the doctors knew, weeks to live.

I had been there for a couple of hours, editing something on my laptop, focused on the work, when suddenly I knew, I don’t know how, other than Grace, that he was breathing his last. He drew in a short, hard breath. I knelt by his head and said, “Goodbye, dad.” He drew in a shorter, shallower breath, almost a half-breath, and then stopped.

I went to get the nurse, waving my hand toward the room because I could not speak. She came in, listened for a heartbeat, and I stood hoping I was wrong, that I’d missed something, that I was going to be embarrassed, till she shook her head at another nurse who had come into the room behind me.

Being there was, as I say, a great blessing. At least, it is a great blessing to be with your father when he dies if he died the way mine did. He did not die with dignity, as those who promote “death with dignity” define it, which means, in essence, to die as if you weren’t dying.

It is not dignified to be undressed and dressed by cheerful young women the age of your granddaughter. It is not dignified to waste away, to lose the ability to speak, to eat, to drink. It is not dignified for your children and grandchildren to see you that way. It is not dignified to die when death takes you and not when you choose.

I can see the appeal of “death with dignity” and programs like those offered in Oregon and the Netherlands, where doctors will help you leave this world at the moment of your choosing, without fuss or bother or pain. I do not want to die and I really, really do not want to die the way my father did. I would find the indignities as excruciating as he did, and I have no confidence I would deal with the pain as bravely as he. I would not want my children to see me so pathetic.

“Death with dignity” seems to offer not only an escape from pain and humiliation but a rational and apparently noble way to leave this life. You look death in the eye and show him that you, not he, are in control. All “dying with dignity” requires is that you declare yourself God. Make yourself the lord of life and death, and you can do what you want. All you have to do, as a last, definitive act, is to do what you’ve been doing all your life: Declare yourself, on the matter at hand, the final authority, the last judge, the one vote that counts.

But you are not God, and, the Christian believes, the decision of when to leave this life is not one He has delegated to you. It is not your call. The Father expects you to suffer if you are given suffering and to put up with indignities if you are given indignities. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord. And that, as far as dying goes, is that.

This is not, from a worldly point of view, a comforting or comfortable teaching. It is one much easier for Christians to observe in theory than in practice, and to apply to other people than to themselves. In practice, we will want to die “with dignity.”

My father was an engineer, not a philosopher. I’m not sure if he read a theological book in his life. The questions that interested me bemused him. But he knew who he was and what he was called to do, a condition others would put in a theological language I suspect he thought was unnecessary. He was dying. That was his job, and he would do it as well as he could.

Lying in a hospice bed, in the very last situation he would have chosen for himself, my father taught me that to die with dignity means to accept what God has given you and deal with it till the end. It means to play the hand God has dealt you, no matter how bad a hand it is, without folding. It means actually to live as if the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, and in either case blessed be the name of the Lord.

It’s dignity of a different sort than the corruptingly euphemistic slogan “death with dignity” suggests. There is a great—an eternal—dignity in accepting whatever indignities you have to suffer to remain faithful to God and to do what He has given you to do. A man can be humiliated and yet noble, and the humiliations make the nobility all the more obvious. My father died with dignity, though the advocates of euthanasia and the clean, quick, controlled exit might not think so.

Here my father held a line he probably did not recognize, a line that protects the vulnerable. He would never have said this, and would have thought the idea pretentious. But by living as if his life was not his to give up he also declared in the most practical way possible that the lives of the vulnerable are not for others to take. There are only a few steps from declaring that a man may choose to be killed to choosing death for those who cannot choose for themselves. The vulnerable are protected by those who refuse the choice.

The man who chooses the timing and meaning of his own death has looked death in the eye and shown him that he is in control—but only by giving death what he demands even sooner than he demands it. That, presumably, is a deal death will take. My father, lying in the bed by the window in a hospice he would never leave, offered death no deal at all.

David Mills is deputy editor of First Things.

Counting Stars

I counted stars today.
As prophets and dreamers,
Glimpsing God through the darkness,
My wonder soared.
I, too, beheld
The promise of eternity,
Stretched across the eons.

Mere points of light
In a midnight sky,
Announcing Truth veiled in mystery,
Of things hidden and unseen,
Of ages long past and yet to be.
Who with me
Knows that there is more,
Much more?

Lanterns hung in the heavens
Make of me their lampstand,
That Eternal Light
Might shine more brightly,
Giving voice to creation.

No dumb marvel,
Rather angelic themes,
To sing high praises
In celestial chants,
For all who turn their gaze
Heavenward, counting,
And loosing count,
Journey home.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander

What a Wonderful World

The Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires

At the Heart of All Temptation

<blockquote>
At the heart of all temptations … is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives. Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundation; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion – that is the temptation that threatens us in many varied forms.
Moral posturing is part and parcel of temptation. It does not invite us directly to do evil – no, that would be far too blatant. It pretends to show us a better way, where we finally abandon our illusions and throw ourselves into the work of actually making the world a better place. It claims, moreover, to speak for true realism: What’s real is what is right there in front of us – power and bread. By comparison, the things of God fade into unreality, into a secondary world that no one really needs.
God is the issue: Is he real, reality itself, or isn’t he? Is he good, or do we have to invent the good ourselves? The God question is the fundamental question, and it sets us down right at the crossroads of human existence.
* This excerpt is from “Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration” by Pope Benedict XVI</blockquote>

PDF Jesus of Nazareth

The seven major changes made by Pope Francis

Throughout these three years of his Pontificate, Francis has shown that he does not address problems through laws, but by “initiating processes” involving many people.Instead of cutting straight to the chase, he faces the long-term crisis with symbolic gestures. As a result, he has launched an irreversible cultural change.Of the hundreds of gestures and words with which he is changing the world and the Church, we are left with these seven:1- PAYING HIS HOTEL BILLOn his first day as pope, he personally collected his luggage and paid for his own hotel room. That demonstrated that everyone should take responsibility for themselves, and that the age of privileges was over.2- LIVING IN SANTA MARTAHe settled in “Casa Santa Marta.” The Pope does not want to live in an ivory tower. He wants to know the problems first-hand and not with intermediaries; he wants the people to have easy access to him.3- HUGS AND GLOBALIZATION OF INDIFFERENCEIn a world that puts economic benefit first, and classifies people based on how much they earn or how much they are able to produce, the Pope appeals to the infinite value of every human being, and he shows it by hugging and smiling with those displaced in society.4- THE OUTSKIRTSHe says reality is understood from the outskirts. He has not visited the parishes in the center of Rome, but instead has gone to the marginalized churches. Out of all of Europe, he has only traveled to Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina.During his trip to Mexico, he went where a pope has never been before: places like Chiapas, Chihuahua and Michoacan.At Easter, he celebrates Holy Thursday Mass at places experiencing pain, such as a juvenile prisons or hospices.This has opened the eyes of many people to situations they did not even know existed.5- HE RESPONDS TO PEOPLEWhen large meetings include testimonies, the Pope does not read his prepared speech, but changes it based on what he has heard.Just as he did in Sarajevo, when he heard how they had beaten a priest.”I forgive with all of my heart those that do evil.”When he was in Kenya, Emmanuel spoke to him about the plight of young people who join radical militias.POPE FRANCIS”Speak to the youth with tenderness, with sympathy, with love. And with patience invite them to a game or to hang out or to be together. Don’t leave them alone.” Or in the Philippines, when this homeless girl told him they were abandoned and no one seemed to care.”Why does God allow this to happen? Children are not to blame.”6- COURAGE AND TRANSPARENCYOn each trip, he faces press conferences on the plane without fear or censorship. He answers questions freely, without fear of being wrong, and is unafraid to confront sensitive issues, such as the corruption in the Church, sexuality or what he holds in his heart.7- DECISIONHe has made concrete and difficult decisions to simplify the Vatican’s structure.He has created a council of 9 Cardinals that help him govern and ensure that any bishop has direct access to the Pope. He has instituted a commission to prevent sexual abuse cases; and he has refined the Vatican bank.PRAYERAlthough it is not a change, what Pope Francis is doing cannot be understood, without mentioning he is a mystic who has complete trust in God. When faced with an imminent bombing in Syria, he called for a 4 hour prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square.The word most often repeated during these years is what he uses to define God: “Mercy.” A word that contains the slogan and the strength of his Pontificate.

<p>Source: <a href=”http://www.romereports.com/2016/03/12/the-seven-major-changes-made-by-pope-francis”>The seven major changes made by Pope Francis</a></p>

Jesus, the Desert,Temptation – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

<blockquote>First of all, the desert, where Jesus withdrew to, is the place of silence, of poverty, where man is deprived of material support and is placed in front of the fundamental questions of life, where he is pushed to towards the essentials in life and for this very reason it becomes easier for him to find God. But the desert is also a place of death, because where there is no water there is no life, and it is a place of solitude where man feels temptation more intensely. Jesus goes into the desert, and there is tempted to leave the path indicated by God the Father to follow other easier and worldly paths (cf. Lk 4:1-13). So he takes on our temptations and carries our misery, to conquer evil and open up the path to God, the path of conversion.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>In reflecting on the temptations Jesus is subjected to in the desert we are invited, each one of us, to respond to one fundamental question: what is truly important in our lives? In the first temptation the devil offers to change a stone into bread to sate Jesus’ hunger. Jesus replies that the man also lives by bread but not by bread alone: ​​without a response to the hunger for truth, hunger for God, man can not be saved (cf. vv. 3-4). In the second, the devil offers Jesus the path of power: he leads him up on high and gives him dominion over the world, but this is not the path of God: Jesus clearly understands that it is not earthly power that saves the world, but the power of the Cross, humility, love (cf. vv. 5-8). In the third, the devil suggests Jesus throw himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple of Jerusalem and be saved by God through his angels, that is, to do something sensational to test God, but the answer is that God is not an object on which to impose our conditions: He is the Lord of all (cf. vv. 9-12). What is the core of the three temptations that Jesus is subjected to? It is the proposal to exploit God, to use Him for his own interests, for his own glory and success. So, in essence, to put himself in the place of God, removing Him from his own existence and making him seem superfluous. Everyone should then ask: what is the role God in my life? Is He the Lord or am I?</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>Overcoming the temptation to place God in submission to oneself and one’s own interests or to put Him in a corner and converting oneself to the proper order of priorities, giving God the first place, is a journey that every Christian must undergo. “Conversion”, an invitation that we will hear many times in Lent, means following Jesus in so that his Gospel is a real life guide, it means allowing God transform us, no longer thinking that we are the only protagonists of our existence, recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, His love, and that only by “losing” our life in Him can we truly have it. This means making our choices in the light of the Word of God. Today we can no longer be Christians as a simple consequence of the fact that we live in a society that has Christian roots: even those born to a Christian family and formed in the faith must, each and every day, renew the choice to be a Christian, to give God first place, before the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, before the criticism of many of our contemporaries.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>The tests which modern society subjects Christians to, in fact, are many, and affect the personal and social life. It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary diseases. The temptation to set aside one’s faith is always present and conversion becomes a response to God which must be confirmed several times throughout one’s life.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>The major conversions like that of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, or St. Augustine, are an example and stimulus, but also in our time when the sense of the sacred is eclipsed, God’s grace is at work and works wonders in life of many people. The Lord never gets tired of knocking at the door of man in social and cultural contexts that seem engulfed by secularization, as was the case for the Russian Orthodox Pavel Florensky. After acompletely agnostic education, to the point he felt an outright hostility towards religious teachings taught in school, the scientist Florensky came to exclaim: “No, you can not live without God”, and to change his life completely, so much so he became a monk.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>I also think the figure of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch woman of Jewish origin who died in Auschwitz. Initially far from God, she found Him looking deep inside herself and wrote: “There is a well very deep inside of me. And God is in that well. Sometimes I can reach Him, more often He is covered by stone and sand: then God is buried. We must dig Him up again “(Diary, 97). In her scattered and restless life, she finds God in the middle of the great tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah. This young fragile and dissatisfied woman, transfigured by faith, becomes a woman full of love and inner peace, able to say: “I live in constant intimacy with God.”</blockquote>
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<blockquote>The ability to oppose the ideological blandishments of her time to choose the search for truth and open herself up to the discovery of faith is evidenced by another woman of our time, the American Dorothy Day. In her autobiography, she confesses openly to having given in to the temptation that everything could be solved with politics, adhering to the Marxist proposal: “I wanted to be with the protesters, go to jail, write, influence others and leave my dreams to the world. How much ambition and how much searching for myself in all this!”. The journey towards faith in such a secularized environment was particularly difficult, but Grace acts nonetheless, as she points out: “It is certain that I felt the need to go to church more often, to kneel, to bow my head in prayer. A blind instinct, one might say, because I was not conscious of praying. But I went, I slipped into the atmosphere of prayer … “. God guided her to a conscious adherence to the Church, in a lifetime spent dedicated to the underprivileged.</blockquote>
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<blockquote>In our time there are no few conversions understood as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, moved away from the faith for years and then rediscovered Christ and his Gospel. In the Book of Revelation we read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”(3, 20). Our inner person must prepare to be visited by God, and for this reason we should allow ourselves be invaded by illusions, by appearances, by material things.</blockquote>
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<blockquote>From Ash Wednesday General Audience 2-13-2013</blockquote>

In This Hour

Listening, I hear, a Voice over the Water,
Louder than the many waters,
Moving over and above the world,
Mightier than thunder,
Appealing as the fair continence of an only Child.

Now, My People, is the hour to awaken,
Now, My sons and daughters, the time to rouse from your indifference.
My Dying is before You always,
Not as a distant memory,
But alive with My Glory
Alive in Your Baptism,
Breathing forth with every Eucharist.

In this hour of my agony,
In this time of pain,
You sleep and you dream.
You dream of a life of plenty,
As you run to listen to false prophets,
Promising abundance and power here in this val,
While your crosses lie by the wayside.

Open your eyes,
Rend your hearts,
That I may clothe you anew,
In the Grace of your Baptism.
Stir the dying embers,
And let Me fuel your devotion,
And cause holiness to spring from spent ashes.

The Breath of My Spirit
Coming on you as Pentecost renewed
Will raise flame and fire
In rekindled hearts.

Know this My children,
I have called you to this hour.
Grace shall urge you forth,
And the Word give you voice.
Be blind no more.
Be divided no more.
My Call, and My claim on your hearts,
Are greater than the world,
And promises of prosperity and plenty.
Satan tempted Me with such,
But I chose the Cup my Father chose for Me.

Look beyond this world,
See heaven open to you.
I Am Promise and Fulfillment.
I Am.
Be mother and father, brother and sister,
Son and daughter to Me.
Be servant and friend,
Spouse and Bride of My Heart.

Take My Hand that I might lift you
Beyond the promises of earthly palaces and pleasure,
For which you now pray.
See a new tomorrow.
Desire Me.
Choose Your Savior.
Be indifferent no more
To my Death upon the Cross.

Your were created for Truth and Justice,
Loveliness, and Honor,
Purity and a Beauty beyond the world and its mansions.
Look up and long for My Kingdom to come
Here in this hour,
Here in this place,
Here in your hearts.

©2016 Joann Nelander

Lifting the Veil

Lift the veil in this morass of Sin,
That faith may blossom and hope enter in.
Let the Sun of Justice shine
Upon a people in decline,
That looking up from the tyranny of power and things
Your face may captivate and solace bring.

Pour down torrents of Thy Grace
To cleanse this dry and brutal place ,
Uproot to plant anew
A Day of peace like settled dew,
That minds be bright and intellects sublime
And our only glory may be Thine.

© 2016 Joann Nelander

Dawn Comes

O see,
Dawn comes
The first rays of Light
Upon the mountain.
How I have waited.
How I have longed.
Having embraced Faith
I possessed Truth,
But it was like the dawn,
Outside myself.
Written, as on tablets,
But, not yet,
Written on my heart.
It’s glory was God"s,
And not my own,
Not of my forging,
Not for me to fashion,
As a graven image,
Or molten calf,
Arising from the fires
Of my concupiscence,
A counterfeit for Love,
Revealing only the blindness
Fallen on hearts,
Minds, and wills
Apart from Light
Of Dayspring
On Holy Night.

Now come
The long awaited symbolon
To make whole
To heal my soul.

O Holy Night
Putting an end
To lonely darkness
O Holy sight,
I wait
To see aright.

By Joann Nelander