Thirsty For You

Jesus,
Everyday, everyday, everyday,
Fall upon my tongue
As dew upon the obedient grass,
Which yields to Your Wind,
To be proclaimed anew.

Holy One,
Forever, forever, forever,
Go forth from my mouth,
As spring rains
To water the parched earth,
Thirsty for You.

©2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Jesus of the Cross

Jesus of the Cross,
Jesus of the Suffering,
Jesus of the Dying,
Hanging from Your Cross
Before our eyes,
Hanging in Your Suffering,
Bleeding out Your Love,
Hanging in Your Dying
Above the world,
First Born Son
And New Beginning,
Birthing in the hearts
Of the Children of Man,
Children for God.

©2013 Joann Nelander

Thirsty For You

Jesus,
Everyday, everyday, everyday,
Fall upon my tongue
As dew upon the obedient grass,
Which yields to Your Wind,
To be proclaimed anew.

Holy One,
Forever, forever, forever,
Go forth from my mouth,
As spring rains
To water the parched earth,
Thirsty for You.

©2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Jesus of the Cross

Jesus of the Cross,
Jesus of the Suffering,
Jesus of the Dying,
Hanging from Your Cross
Before our eyes,
Hanging in Your Suffering,
Bleeding out Your Love,
Hanging in Your Dying
Above the world,
First Born Son
And New Beginning,
Birthing in the hearts
Of the Children of Man,
Children for God.

©2013 Joann Nelander

Thirsty For You

Jesus,
Everyday, everyday, everyday,
Fall upon my tongue
As dew upon the obedient grass,
Which yields to Your Wind,
To be proclaimed anew.

Holy One,
Forever, forever, forever,
Go forth from my mouth,
As spring rains
To water the parched earth,
Thirsty for You.

©2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Passion

Bloody sweat,
Pillar and scourge,
Bloody body,
Crown of thorn,
Bloody head,
Bloody face,
Hammer, nails,
Cross,
Bloody hands
Bloody feet,
Pain upon pain,
Thirst and abandonment,
Death and sword,
Broken heart,
Pierced heart,
Blood and Water,
All that Blood,
Washing me.

Copyright Joann Nelander 2011

All rights reserved

Jesus of the Cross

Jesus of the Cross,
Jesus of the Suffering,
Jesus of the Dying,
Hanging from Your Cross
Before our eyes,
Hanging in Your Suffering,
Bleeding out Your Love,
Hanging in Your Dying
Above the world,
First Born Son
And New Beginning,
Birthing in the hearts
Of the Children of Man,
Children for God.

©2013 Joann Nelander

Thirsty For You

Jesus,
Everyday, everyday, everyday,
Fall upon my tongue
As dew upon the obedient grass,
Which yields to Your Wind,
To be proclaimed anew.

Holy One,
Forever, forever, forever,
Go forth from my mouth,
As spring rains
To water the parched earth,
Thirsty for You.

©2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

No Better Place To Be! No Better Thing To Do!–Michael Seagriff

H/T  Michael Seagriff

Family synod: full text of Pope Francis’s homily at opening Mass | CatholicHerald.co.uk

Today the Prophet Isaiah and the Gospel employ the image of the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord’s vineyard is his “dream”, the plan which he nurtures with all his love, like a farmer who cares for his vineyard. Vines are plants which need much care!

God’s “dream” is his people. He planted it and nurtured it with patient and faithful love, so that it can become a holy people, a people which brings forth abundant fruits of justice.

But in both the ancient prophecy and in Jesus’s parable, God’s dream is thwarted. Isaiah says that the vine which he so loved and nurtured has yielded “wild grapes” (5:2,4); God “expected justice but saw bloodshed, righteousness, but only a cry of distress” (v7). In the Gospel, it is the farmers themselves who ruin the Lord’s plan: they fail to do their job but think only of their own interests.

In Jesus’s parable, he is addressing the chief priests and the elders of the people, in other words the “experts”, the managers. To them in a particular way God entrusted his “dream”, his people, for them to nurture, tend and protect from the animals of the field. This is the job of leaders: to nuture the vineyard with freedom, creativity and hard work.

But Jesus tells us that those farmers took over the vineyard. Out of greed and pride they want to do with it as they will, and so they prevent God from realizing his dream for the people he has chosen.

The temptation to greed is ever present. We encounter it also in the great prophecy of Ezekiel on the shepherds, which St Augustine commented upon in one his celebrated sermons which we have just reread in the Liturgy of the Hours. Greed for money and power. And to satisfy this greed, evil pastors lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move.

We too, in the synod of bishops, are called to work for the Lord’s vineyard. Synod assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent… They are meant to better nuture and tend the Lord’s vineyard, to help realise his dream, his loving plan for his people. In this case the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity.

We are all sinners and can also be tempted to “take over” the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings. God’s dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants. We can “thwart” God’s dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us that wisdom which surpasses knowledge, and enables us to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity.

My Synod brothers, to do a good job of nurturing and tending the vineyard, our hearts and our minds must be kept in Jesus Christ by “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7). In this way our thoughts and plans will correspond to God’s dream: to form a holy people who are his own and produce the fruits of the kingdom of God.

via Family synod: full text of Pope Francis’s homily at opening Mass | CatholicHerald.co.uk.

The Mystery of Our Reconciliation with God

 

From a letter by Saint Leo the Great, pope

The Mystery of Our Reconciliation with God

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

To speak of our Lord, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man is of no value to us if we do not believe that he is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospel.
Matthew’s gospel begins by setting out the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, and then traces his human descent by bringing his ancestral line down to his mother’s husband, Joseph. On the other hand, Luke traces his parentage backward step by step to the actual father of mankind, to show that both the first and the last Adam share the same nature.

No doubt the Son of God in his omnipotence could have taught and sanctified men by appearing to them in a semblance of human form as he did to the patriarchs and prophets, when for instance he engaged in a wrestling contest or entered into conversation with them, or when he accepted their hospitality and even ate the food they set before him. But these appearances were only types, signs that mysteriously foretold the coming of one who would take a true human nature from the stock of the patriarchs who had gone before him. No mere figure, then, fulfilled the mystery of our reconciliation with God, ordained from all eternity. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin nor had the power of the Most High overshadowed her, so that within her spotless womb Wisdom might build itself a house and the Word become flesh. The divine nature and the nature of a servant were to be united in one person so that the Creator of time might be born in time, and he through whom all things were made might be brought forth in their midst.

For unless the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful humanity, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stooped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan. The Conqueror’s victory would have profited us nothing if the battle had been fought outside our human condition. But through this wonderful blending the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth we too might be born again in a spiritual birth; and in consequence the evangelist declares the faithful to have been born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Morning Conversation Regarding #Mary, #Mother of the Second Person of the #HolyTrinity

Mary Co-Redemptrix

  1. spookchristian on October 24, 2013 at 3:23 am said:
    http://wp.me/p3NlHB-116

    Mary is not a Co-redeemer, or co- redemptrix, …
    Mary is not god, she is Not the saviour of the World…
    Jesus christ Alone is the saviour of the world,
    NO ONE comes to the father i.e.. God, But by Him,,
    Acts 4:12

    You need to get yourself a bible…preferably a king james bible and get a ‘reality’ check up..!!

    Reply ↓

    • lionesson October 24, 2013 at 2:09 pm said:
      Jesus christ Alone is the saviour of the world,
      NO ONE comes to the father i.e.. God, But by Him,,
      Acts 4:12

      The pre-fix “co” means “with”

      Luke 1: 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit”

      Matt 2:1111After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

      Mary was the instrument of God’s chosing, whose consent God asked and honored. She is no more or less than the instrument God used to bring about Salvation when sending His Son into the world. Jesus spend 30 years with her and looked down upon her from His Cross when his friends had abandoned Him.

      Reply ↓

      • spookchristianon October 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm said:
        Jesus Christ is the sole Author of Salvation, which he purchased with HIS Blood on the Cross.
      • lionesson October 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm said:
        Two Other Persons participated big time in authoring Salvation and that is presented in Genesis. All Three Person are the One and Only God. Mary is not God. Mary is His lowly handmaid as she herself proclaims in all humility. What a glorious instrument in the Hands of God!
        Mary, Virgin, Mother of God,
        The perfectly fashioned,
        And tuned instrument,
        A violin,
        In the hands of God,
        As He plays His music
        For the Son.

        ©2012 Joann Nelander

      • spookchristianon October 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm said:
        Mary is never described as Mother of God in the Scriptures.
      • spookchristianon October 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm said:
        The 3 magi did not worship Mary though..
      • lionesson October 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm said:
        You are right when you say Mary is not God and that the 3 magi did not worship Mary, neither do Catholics! According to the Catholic Church “latare” is the worship we offer only to God. “dulia” is reverence we give to those we should honor according to their office and mertit, and hyper-dulia the the reverence we owe Mary for her unique role according to God’s plan and Word. The Church is very careful in how it carries out the commandment to “honor your mother and father” as was Jesus who rightly honored His mother though He was also her God and her Son.
      • spookchristianon October 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm said:
        I do not disrespect Mary…But I will not venerate her, or attempt to pray to her, or in her name….
        I agree that mary was a chosen vessel unto God,…But Mary said herself, that whatever jesus says…
        that Do,…
        but the catholic so called church does not do that.

        I really think that not having anything to do with the catholic so called church is the best course of action..
        stick to what the Bible says…
        I hope you will not take offence when I say that….

      • lionesson October 24, 2013 at 7:44 pm said:
        Be careful when you disrespect the Catholic Church. They gave us the New Testament scriptures which we both venerate i.e. hold in high regard.

        We certainly agree with Mary as she said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” I can only assume that you would agree that Jesus obeyed the commandments His Father gave and more than any other person, most perfectly, honored his motheer (4th commandment)
        Honor:Synonyms:
        verb: honour, respect, esteem, venerate, revere, dignify
        noun: honour, credit, respect, homage, dignity, glory
        The Catholic Church seeks only to imitate Christ in this and no more honor given to His mother is possible. If we can imitate Jesus in this we will be honoring the command Mary gave the servants.

      • spookchristianon October 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm said:
        I seriously doubt whether Jesus actually needed to learn anything at all from Mary..
        She was born a sinner, died a sinner,
        she did not die a virgin,…and she does not have it in her power to save anyone…
        Mary was a disciple of jesus christ, and had to believe in jesus christ as lord, and saviour, to be saved herself…
        which of course meant she would have had to acknowledge/repent of her sins, just like any other person..
        Mary was indeed a blessed person,
        but she was Not God, and Not to be prayed to.
        (Not that I believe it possible to pray to Mary )…
      • lionesson October 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm said:
        Have you ever spent 9 months contemplating a single, solitary word? We’ll, Mary did! That word was “the Word”, spoken by God before all Ages for the glory of God and the Salvation on Man. That Word was taking flesh from her flesh and drawing nourishment fro her blood. Such is the Mystery of the Christ’s meekness and humility, coming forth according to the Father’s Will.

        Mary “contemplated these things in her heart.”
        In everything, “Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit.” Her “fiat” welcomed and began the unfolding of a divine mystery that now embraces us to be with God in the evangelization of all peoples throughout Time unto Eternity.

        Joann Nelander
        lionessblog.com

Here is a Wonderful Way to Spend the Next 13 Minutes with St. Michael

The Chaplet of St. Michael
O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, etc.

[Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]

1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.
Amen.

2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection.
Amen.

3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility.
Amen.

4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.
Amen.

5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil.
Amen.

7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven.
Amen.

9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven.
Amen.

Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

Concluding prayers:

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence.This we ask through the merits of
Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Prayer for a Dying Friend

Please pray for Deacon Ken Hill who is now facing his last hours:

We commend to Thee, Lord, the soul of Thy Deacon, Kenneth Hill, and we pray Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, that as in mercy to him Thou became man, so now Thou would be pleased to admit him  to the bosom of Thy patriarchs. Remember, Lord, he  is Thy creature, not made by strange gods, but by Thee, the only living and true God; for there is no other but Thee, and none can equal Thy work. Let his soul rejoice in Thy presence, and remember not his  former iniquities. For although he has sinned, yet he  has always firmly believed in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; he has had a zeal for Thy honor, and faithfully adored Thee as his God, and Creator of all things. Remember not, Lord, we pray Thee, the sins of his youth, but according to Thy great mercy, be mindful of him in Thy Heavenly glory. Let the heavens be opened to him, and the angels rejoice with him. Let the archangel St. Michael, whom Thou didst appoint the chief of the heavenly host, conduct him. Let the holy angels come out to meet him, and carry him to the city of heavenly Jerusalem. Let blessed Peter the apostle, to whom God gave the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, receive him. Let St. Paul the apostle, who was a vessel of election, assist him. Let St. John the beloved disciple, to whom the secrets of Heaven were revealed, intercede for him. Let all the holy apostles, who received from Jesus Christ the power of binding and loosing, pray for him. Let all the saints and elect of God, who in this world have suffered torments in the name of Christ, intercede for him; that he may be admitted into the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with Thee and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

May Mary the most merciful Virgin Mother of God, kindest comforter of them that mourn, commend to her Son the soul of this His servant , that through her maternal intercession, he may overcome the dread of death and, with her as guide, joyfully reach his longed-for home in the heavenly fatherland.R. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph

To thee I have recourse, St. Joseph, Patron of the dying; and to thee, at whose blessed death watchfully assisted Jesus and Mary, by both these dearest pledges I earnestly recommend the soul of this servant  in the sufferings of his last agony, that he may by your protection be delivered from the snares of the devil and from eternal death, and may merit to attain everlasting joy. Through the same Christ our Lord.R. Amen.

Prayers Given by God

St. Gertrude the Great:

Daily:

I ADORE, praise, and salute Thee, O most sweet Heart of Jesus Christ, fresh and gladdening as the breath of spring, from which, as from a fountain of graces, sweeter than the honeycomb, floweth ever more all good and all delight. I thank Thee with all the powers of my heart for having preserved me throughout this night, and for having rendered to God the Father praises and thanksgivings in my behalf. And now, O my sweet Love, I offer Thee my wretched and worthless heart as a morning sacrifice; I place it in Thy most tender Heart, and entrust it to Thy keeping; beseeching Thee that Thou wouldst deign to pour into it Thy Divine inspirations, and to enkindle it with Thy holy love. Amen.

O JESUS, full of compassion, I commend to thee my spirit and my soul, in union with that love wherewith thou didst commend Thine Own to the Father on the Cross; and I place them in the most sacred wound of Thy tender Heart, that they may be therein protected from all the snares of the enemy. Thou knowest, O good Jesus, and I know by my own sad experience, how weak and frail I am, so that I could not of myself persevere in good, or resist temptation even for one single hour. Wherefore I pray Thee, by the reverence due to that union wherein Thy manhood is united to the adorable Trinity for our glorification, that Thou wouldst deign to unite my will to Thine, and so to strengthen and secure it, that it may be unable to rebel against Thee. In union with Thy most sinless limbs, I commend to Thee all the members of my body, with all their movements, that they may throughout this day love for Thy glory alone, for Thy praise and Thy love. Amen.

O LORD, my God, for Thy sake I resolve to perform all my actions, whether outward or inward, purely for Thy glory, and for the salvation of the whole world; with such intention and in such manner as Thou dost desire and enjoin; and in union with that love whereby Thy Son came down from Heaven, and wrought out the whole work of our salvation, especially during His Passion. Wherefore I entirely disclaim all merit, all reward and grace which I might otherwise hope to obtain by these actions, that I may offer to Thee, my God, a pure sacrifice of praise, and give Thee a proof of my love.

O ALMIGHTY God, I sanctify, dedicate, and consecrate to Thee every beating of my heart, and every pulsation of my blood; and I desire to make this compact with Thee, that their every beating shall say to Thee: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; and I beseech Thee to impute this meaning to them, so that they may be before Thy Divine Majesty as the unceasing echo of that heavenly canticle, which seraphims sing without ceasing unto Thee. Amen. Amen.
Whole week covenant

Weekly:

O LORD God, my Creator, all my desire is before Thee, and my groaning is not hidden from Thee; but inasmuch as the necessities of this life prevent the constant application of my mind to Thy praise, I make with Thee this covenant, earnestly desiring that it may remain in force throughout this week:
O my sweet Jesus,
Whenever I look up towards Heaven, I desire and intend to rejoice with Thee in Thine infinite perfections; that Thou art what Thou art, supremely strong and wise and loving and just.
As often as I open or close my eyes, I desire and intend to approve and concur in all the holy actions which Thine Only-begotten Son, and all the Saints in Heaven and just on earth, have ever done, or shall ever hereafter do, to Thy glory, and desire to be held a partaker in them all.
O LORD God, my Creator, all my desire is before Thee, and my groaning is not hidden from Thee; but inasmuch as the necessities of this life prevent the constant application of my mind to Thy praise, I make with Thee this covenant, earnestly desiring that it may remain in force throughout this week.As often as I draw my breath, I offer to Thee the Life and Passion and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the merits and sufferings of all the Saints, to Thine eternal glory, for the welfare and peace of all the whole world, and in satisfaction for the sins of all men.
Whenever I sigh, I intend to detest and abhor every sin, as well my own sins as those which have ever been committed from the beginning of the world against the honour of Thy Name. Would that the slight and worthless offering of my blood might be accepted in satisfaction for them! Lastly, as often as I move my hand or my foot, so often do I cast myself with entire resignation upon Thy most holy will, desiring that Thou wouldst dispose of me in time and in eternity, according to Thine adorable good pleasure.
And, lest this fivefold covenant should be in any way made void, I seal it with the seals of Thy five most Sacred Wounds, earnestly desiring that it may have its full force with Thee, even though in any one of these actions it be not actually present to my mind.

Prayer Before Leaving Church
O MOST pitiful Jesus, I give thee thanks for every good gift which Thou hast bestowed on me in this church. And now that I am about to leave it, I offer Thee, in union with Thine Own most perfect prayers, all the prayers and other devotions which I have performed therein; beseeching Thee that Thou wouldst deign to ennoble and perfect them in Thy Divine Heart, to unite them with every holy intention and every feeling of devotion which Thou hast ever elicited from any heart of man, and to offer them to God the Father, for all my negligences and omissions, as a grateful satisfaction and a most acceptable sacrifice: and I implore Thee to grant me that most holy blessing which Thou gavest to Thine Apostles when Thou didst ascend into Heaven, so that by its force and efficacy I may be enabled to persevere in Thy grace, and to serve Thee faithfully ever more. Amen.

All Glory to You

My dear Jesus,
My merciful Jesus,
I rejoice in Your Presence.
Pour ever fresh graces
Into my soul,
That I may draw life From Your Life,
And that Your living Presence in me
May light my corner of the world
With Your Glory.

©2013 Joann Nelander  All rights reserved

Child of the Cross

Mother Mary,
Witness of the Passion,
Suffering witness,
Living the Passion,
As your Jesus
Hung on the Cross.

Pray, Mary.
Pray, My Mother,
Pray for me,
Who am so scattered,
Distracted and disengaged.

Pray every moment
Of my life here on earth,
That I be prepared for suffering,
That I be prepared for eternity.
That I find my Life
In the dying of Your Son,
My Lord.

Hold my hand, O Mother,
Every moment of everyday.
Pray for my yesterdays,
My today, and tomorrows.
Guide my feet to follow
In His steps.

As forbidden fruit
Appeals in its many disguises,
And occasions of evil spring-up,
Pull me out of harm’s way.
Steer me true, O Mother,

As my heart yearns for eternity
Let my glory be
As that of Jesus,
The Cross, the Crucifixion,
And the Dying.

May I live now,
Dying to Sin.
Witnessing at your side,
As Jesus beholds you.
He pronounces me your child.

I am a child
Of the Cross of Christ,
Which came to be
To ransom men.
I behold you, Mother Mary,
And you meet your Son in me.

© 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Reign of God

Jesus, in Whom all came to be,
Be praised and adored.

You Who spoke forth Light and Life,
Command me as Lord.

Holy God, All Mighty,
Answer with efficacious grace.

Speak in the depths of my being,
To bring forth a new creation.

May all men turn to You,
And Your Church give witness

.You Who are all worthy,
May Your reign be honored  in all the earth.

 

©2013 Joann Nelander

Thirsty For You- In Response to Pope Francis’ Exhortation

Jesus,
Everyday, everyday, everyday,
Fall upon my tongue
As dew upon the obedient grass,
Which yields to Your Wind,
To be proclaimed anew.

Holy One,
Forever, forever, forever,
Go forth from my mouth,
As spring rains
To water the parched earth,
Thirsty for You.

St. Joseph – Redemptoris Custos

<a href="http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_15081989_redemptoris-custos_en.html">Redemptoris Custos</a>
1. "Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife" (cf. Mt 1 :24).

Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing,(1) he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, that is, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model.

On the occasion of the centenary of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Epistle Quamquam Pluries,(2) and in line with the veneration given to St. Joseph over the centuries, I wish to offer for your consideration, dear brothers, and sisters, some reflections concerning him "into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures."(3) I gladly fulfill this pastoral duty so that all may grow in devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church and in love for the Savior whom he served in such an exemplary manner.

In this way the whole Christian people not only will turn to St. Joseph with greater fervor and invoke his patronage with trust, but also will always keep before their eyes his humble, mature way of serving and of "taking part" in the plan of salvation.(4)

I am convinced that by reflection upon the way that Mary’s spouse shared in the divine mystery, the Church – on the road towards the future with all of humanity – will be enabled to discover ever anew her own identity within this redemptive plan, which is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation.

This is precisely the mystery in which Joseph of Nazareth "shared" like no other human being except Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word. He shared in it with her; he was involved in the same salvific event; he was the guardian of the same love, through the power of which the eternal Father "destined us to be his sons through Jesus Christ" (Eph 1:5).

I

THE GOSPEL PORTRAIT

Marriage to Mary

2. "Joseph, Son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:20-21).

In these words we find the core of biblical truth about St. Joseph; they refer to that moment in his life to which the Fathers of the Church make special reference.

The Evangelist Matthew explains the significance of this moment while also describing how Joseph lived it. However, in order to understand fully both its content and context, it is important to keep in mind the parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke. In Matthew we read: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 1:18). However, the origin of Mary’s pregnancy "of the Holy Spirit" is described more fully and explicitly in what Luke tells us about the annunciation of Jesus’ birth: "The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary" (Lk 1:26-27). The angel’s greeting: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Lk 1:28) created an inner turmoil in Mary and also moved her to reflect. Then the messenger reassured the Virgin and at the same time revealed God’s special plan for her: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David" (Lk 1:30-32).

A little earlier the Gospel writer had stated that at the moment of the Annunciation, Mary was "betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David." The nature of this "marriage" is explained indirectly when Mary, after hearing what the messenger says about the birth of the child, asks, "How can this be, since I do not know man?" (Lk 1:34) The angel responds: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God" (Lk 1:35). Although Mary is already "wedded" to Joseph, she will remain a virgin, because the child conceived in her at the Annunciation was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

At this point Luke’s text coincides with Matthew 1:18 and serves to explain what we read there. If, after her marriage to Joseph, Mary is found to be with child of the Holy Spirit," this fact corresponds to all that the Annunciation means, in particular to Mary’s final words: "Let it be to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38). In response to what is clearly the plan of God, with the passing of days and weeks Mary’s "pregnancy" is visible to the people and to Joseph; she appears before them as one who must give birth and carry within herself the mystery of motherhood.

3. In these circumstances, "her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly" (Mt 1:19). He did not know how to deal with Mary’s "astonishing" motherhood. He certainly sought an answer to this unsettling question, but above all he sought a way out of what was for him a difficult situation. "But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’" (Mt 1:20-21).

There is a strict parallel between the "annunciation" in Matthew’s text and the one in Luke. The divine messenger introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood. While remaining a virgin, she who by law is his "spouse" has become a mother through the power of the Holy Spirit. And when the Son in Mary’s womb comes into the world, he must receive the name Jesus. This was a name known among the Israelites and sometimes given to their sons. In this case, however, it is the Son who, in accordance with the divine promise, will bring to perfect fulfillment the meaning of the name Jesus-Yehos ua’ – which means "God saves."

Joseph is visited by the messenger as "Mary’s spouse," as the one who in due time must give this name to the Son to be born of the Virgin of Nazareth who is married to him. It is to Joseph, then, that the messenger turns, entrusting to him the responsibilities of an earthly father with regard to Mary’s Son.

"When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife" (cf. Mt 1:24). He took her in all the mystery of her motherhood. He took her together with the Son who had come into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way he showed a readiness of will like Mary’s with regard to what God asked of him through the angel.

II

THE GUARDIAN OF THE MYSTERY OF GOD

4. When, soon after the Annunciation, Mary went to the house of Zechariah to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, even as she offered her greeting she heard the words of Elizabeth, who was "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Lk 1:41). Besides offering a salutation which recalled that of the angel at the Annunciation, Elizabeth also said: "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Lk 1:45). These words were the guiding thought of the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, in which I sought to deepen the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, which stated the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully preserved her union with her Son even to the cross,"(5) "preceding"(6) all those who follow Christ by faith.

Now at the beginning of this pilgrimage, the faith of Mary meets the faith of Joseph. If Elizabeth said of the Redeemer’s Mother, "blessed is she who believed," in a certain sense this blessedness can be referred to Joseph as well, since he responded positively to the word of God when it was communicated to him at the decisive moment. While it is true that Joseph did not respond to the angel’s "announcement" in the same way as Mary, he "did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife." What he did is the clearest "obedience of faith" (cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26; 2 Cor 10:5-6).

One can say that what Joseph did united him in an altogether special way to the faith of Mary. He accepted as truth coming from God the very thing that she had already accepted at the Annunciation. The Council teaches: "’The obedience of faith’ must be given to God as he reveals himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals,’ and willingly assenting to the revelation given by him."(7) This statement, which touches the very essence of faith, is perfectly applicable to Joseph of Nazareth.

5. Therefore he became a unique guardian of the mystery "hidden for ages in God" (Eph 3:9), as did Mary, in that decisive moment which St. Paul calls "the fullness of time," when "God sent forth his Son, born of woman…to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Gal 4:4-5). In the words of the Council: "It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will (cf. Eph 1:9). His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and become sharers in the divine nature (cf. Eph 2:18; 2 Pt 1 4)."(8)

Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary’s "pilgrimage of faith." It is a path along which – especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost – Mary will precede in a perfect way.(9)

6. The path that was Joseph’s-his pilgrimage of faith – ended first, that is to say, before Mary stood at the foot of the cross on Golgotha, and before the time after Christ returned to the Father, when she was present in the upper room on Pentecost, the day the Church was manifested to the world, having been born in the power of the Spirit of truth. Nevertheless, Joseph’s way of faith moved in the same direction: it was totally determined by the same mystery, of which he, together with Mary, had been the first guardian. The Incarnation and Redemption constitute an organic and indissoluble unity, in which "the plan of revelation is realized by words and deeds which are intrinsically bound up with each other."(10) Precisely because of this unity, Pope John XXIII, who had a great devotion to St. Joseph, directed that Joseph’s name be inserted in the Roman Canon of the Mass-which is the perpetual memorial of redemption – after the name of Mary and before the apostles, popes and martyrs.(11)

The Service of Fatherhood

7. As can be deduced from the gospel texts, Joseph’s marriage to Mary is the juridical basis of his fatherhood. It was to assure fatherly protection for Jesus that God chose Joseph to be Mary’s spouse. It follows that Joseph’s fatherhood – a relationship that places him as close as possible to Christ, to whom every election and predestination is ordered (cf. Rom 8:28-29) – comes to pass through marriage to Mary, that is, through the family.

While clearly affirming that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that virginity remained intact in the marriage (cf. Mt 1:18-25; Lk 1:26-38), the evangelists refer to Joseph as Mary’s husband and to Mary as his wife (cf. Mt 1:16, 18-20, 24; Lk 1:27; 2:5).

And while it is important for the Church to profess the virginal conception of Jesus, it is no less important to uphold Mary’s marriage to Joseph, because juridically Joseph’s fatherhood depends on it. Thus one understands why the generations are listed according to the genealogy of Joseph: "Why," St. Augustine asks, "should they not be according to Joseph? Was he not Mary’s husband?… Scripture states, through the authority of an angel, that he was her husband. Do not fear, says the angel, to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was told to name the child, although not born from his seed. She will bear a son, the angel says, and you will call him Jesus. Scripture recognizes that Jesus is not born of Joseph’s seed, since in his concern about the origin of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph is told that it is of the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, he is not deprived of his fatherly authority from the moment that he is told to name the child. Finally, even the Virgin Mary, well aware that she has not conceived Christ as a result of conjugal relations with Joseph, still calls him Christ’s father."(12)

The Son of Mary is also Joseph’s Son by virtue of the marriage bond that unites them: "By reason of their faithful marriage both of them deserve to be called Christ’s parents, not only his mother, but also his father, who was a parent in the same way that he was the mother’s spouse: in mind, not in the flesh."(13) In this marriage none of the requisites of marriage were lacking: "In Christ’s parents all the goods of marriage were realized-offspring, fidelity, the sacrament: the offspring being the Lord Jesus himself; fidelity, since there was no adultery: the sacrament, since there was no divorce."(14)

Analyzing the nature of marriage, both St. Augustine and St. Thomas always identify it with an "indivisible union of souls," a "union of hearts," with "consent."(15) These elements are found in an exemplary manner in the marriage of Mary and Joseph. At the culmination of the history of salvation, when God reveals his love for humanity through the gift of the Word, it is precisely the marriage of Mary and Joseph that brings to realization in full "freedom" the "spousal gift of self" in receiving and expressing such a love.(16) "In this great undertaking which is the renewal of all things in Christ, marriage-it too purified and renewed-becomes a new reality, a sacrament of the New Covenant. We see that at the beginning of the New Testament, as at the beginning of the Old, there is a married couple. But whereas Adam and Eve were the source of evil which was unleashed on the world, Joseph and Mary arc the summit from which holiness spreads all over the earth. The Savior began the work of salvation by this virginal and holy union, wherein is manifested his all-powerful will to purify and sanctify the family – that sanctuary of love and cradle of life."(17)

How much the family of today can learn from this! "The essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love. Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church his bride."(18) This being the case, it is in the Holy Family, the original "Church in miniature (Ecclesia domestica),"(19) that every Christian family must be reflected. "Through God’s mysterious design, it was in that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families."(20)

8. St. Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly through the exercise of his fatherhood. It is precisely in this way that, as the Church’s Liturgy teaches, he "cooperated in the fullness of time in the great mystery of salvation" and is truly a "minister of salvation."(21) His fatherhood is expressed concretely "in his having made his life a service, a sacrifice to the mystery of the Incarnation and to the redemptive mission connected with it; in having used the legal authority which was his over the Holy Family in order to make a total gift of self, of his life and work; in having turned his human vocation to domestic love into a superhuman oblation of self, an oblation of his heart and all his abilities into love placed at the service of the Messiah growing up in his house."(22)

In recalling that "the beginnings of our redemption" were entrusted "to the faithful care of Joseph,"(23) the Liturgy specifies that "God placed him at the head of his family, as a faithful and prudent servant, so that with fatherly care he might watch over his only begotten Son."(24) Leo XIII emphasized the sublime nature of this mission: "He among all stands out in his august dignity, since by divine disposition he was guardian, and according to human opinion, father of God’s Son. Whence it followed that the Word of God was subjected to Joseph, he obeyed him and rendered to him that honor and reverence that children owe to their father."(25)

Since it is inconceivable that such a sublime task would not be matched by the necessary qualities to adequately fulfill it, we must recognize that Joseph showed Jesus "by a special gift from heaven, all the natural love, all the affectionate solicitude that a father’s heart can know."(26)

Besides fatherly authority over Jesus, God also gave Joseph a share in the corresponding love, the love that has its origin in the Father "from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named" (Eph 3:15).

The Gospels clearly describe the fatherly responsibility of Joseph toward Jesus. For salvation-which comes through the humanity of Jesus-is realized in actions which are an everyday part of family life, in keeping with that "condescension" which is inherent in the economy of the Incarnation. The gospel writers carefully show how in the life of Jesus nothing was left to chance, but how everything took place according to God’s predetermined plan. The oft-repeated formula, "This happened, so that there might be fulfilled…," in reference to a particular event in the Old Testament serves to emphasize the unity and continuity of the plan which is fulfilled in Christ.

With the Incarnation, the "promises" and "figures" of the Old Testament become "reality": places, persons, events and rites interrelate according to precise divine commands communicated by angels and received by creatures who are particularly sensitive to the voice of God. Mary is the Lord’s humble servant, prepared from eternity for the task of being the Mother of God. Joseph is the one whom God chose to be the "overseer of the Lord’s birth,"(27) the one who has the responsibility to look after the Son of God’s "ordained" entry into the world, in accordance with divine dispositions and human laws. All of the so-called "private" or "hidden" life of Jesus is entrusted to Joseph’s guardianship.

The Census

9. Journeying to Bethlehem for the census in obedience to the orders of legitimate authority, Joseph fulfilled for the child the significant task of officially inserting the name "Jesus, son of Joseph of Nazareth" (cf. Jn 1:45) in the registry of the Roman Empire. This registration clearly shows that Jesus belongs to the human race as a man among men, a citizen of this world, subject to laws and civil institutions, but also "savior of the world." Origen gives a good description of the theological significance, by no means marginal, of this historical fact: "Since the first census of the whole world took place under Caesar Augustus, and among all the others Joseph too went to register together with Mary his wife, who was with child, and since Jesus was born before the census was completed: to the person who makes a careful examination it will appear that a kind of mystery is expressed in the fact that at the time when all people in the world presented themselves to be counted, Christ too should be counted. By being registered with everyone, he could sanctify everyone; inscribed with the whole world in the census, he offered to the world communion with himself, and after presenting himself he wrote all the people of the world in the book of the living, so that as many as believed in him could then be written in heaven with the saints of God, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever, Amen."(28)

The Birth at Bethlehem<!–more–>

10. As guardian of the mystery "hidden for ages in the mind of God," which begins to unfold before his eyes "in the fullness of time," Joseph, together with Mary, is a privileged witness to the birth of the Son of God into the world on Christmas night in Bethlehem. Luke writes: "And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn" (Lk 2:6-7).

Joseph was an eyewitness to this birth, which took place in conditions that, humanly speaking, were embarrassing-a first announcement of that "self-emptying" (cf. Phil 2:5-8) which Christ freely accepted for the forgiveness of sins. Joseph also witnessed the adoration of the shepherds who arrived at Jesus’ birthplace after the angel had brought them the great and happy news (cf. Lk 2:15- 16) . Later he also witnessed the homage of the magi who came from the East (cf. Mt 2:11).

The Circumcision

11. A son’s circumcision was the first religious obligation of a father, and with this ceremony (cf. Lk 2:21) Joseph exercised his right and duty with regard to Jesus.

The principle which holds that all the rites of the Old Testament are a shadow of the reality (cf. Heb 9:9f; 10:1) serves to explain why Jesus would accept them. As with all the other rites, circumcision too is "fulfilled" in Jesus. God’s covenant with Abraham, of which circumcision was the sign (cf. Gn 17:13), reaches its full effect and perfect realization in Jesus, who is the "yes" of all the ancient promises (cf. 2 Cor 1:20).

Conferral of the Name

12. At the circumcision Joseph names the child "Jesus." This is the only name in which there is salvation (cf. Acts 4:12). Its significance had been revealed to Joseph at the moment of his "annunciation": "You shall call the child Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (cf. Mt 1:21). In conferring the name, Joseph declares his own legal fatherhood over Jesus, and in speaking the name he proclaims the child’s mission as Savior.

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

13. This rite, to which Luke refers (2:22ff.), includes the ransom of the first-born and sheds light on the subsequent stay of Jesus in the Temple at the age of twelve.

The ransoming of the first-born is another obligation of the father, and it is fulfilled by Joseph. Represented in the first-born is the people of the covenant, ransomed from slavery in order to belong to God. Here too, Jesus – who is the true "price" of ransom (cf. 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pt l:19) – not only "fulfills" the Old Testament rite, but at the same time transcends it, since he is not a subject to be redeemed, but the very author of redemption.

The gospel writer notes that "his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him" (Lk 2:23), in particular at what Simeon said in his canticle to God, when he referred to Jesus as the "salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel" and as a "sign that is spoken against" (cf. Lk 2:30-34).

The Flight into Egypt

14. After the presentation in the Temple the Evangelist Luke notes: "And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him" (Lk 2:39-40).

But according to Matthew’s text, a very important event took place before the return to Galilee, an event in which divine providence once again had recourse to Joseph. We read: "Now when [the magi] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him’" (Mt 2:13). Herod learned from the magi who came from the East about the birth of the "king of the Jews" (Mt 2:2). And when the magi departed, he "sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under" (Mt 2:16). By killing them all, he wished to kill the new-born "king of the Jews" whom he had heard about. And so, Joseph, having been warned in a dream, "took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son’ " (Mt 2:14-15; cf. Hos 11:1).

And so Jesus’ way back to Nazareth from Bethlehem passed through Egypt. Just as Israel had followed the path of the exodus "from the condition of slavery" in order to begin the Old Covenant, so Joseph, guardian and cooperator in the providential mystery of God, even in exile watched over the one who brings about the New Covenant.

Jesus’ Stay in the Temple

15. From the time of the Annunciation, both Joseph and Mary found themselves, in a certain sense, at the heart of the mystery hidden for ages in the mind of God, a mystery which had taken on flesh: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14). He dwelt among men, within the surroundings of the Holy Family of Nazareth-one of many families in this small town in Galilee, one of the many families of the land of Israel. There Jesus "grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him" (Lk 2:40). The Gospels summarize in a few words the long period of the "hidden" life, during which Jesus prepared himself for his messianic mission. Only one episode from this "hidden time" is described in the Gospel of Luke: the Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old. Together with Mary and Joseph, Jesus took part in the feast as a young pilgrim. "And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it" (Lk 2:43). After a day’s journey, they noticed his absence and began to search "among their kinsfolk and acquaintances." "After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers" (Lk 2:47). Mary asked: "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously" (Lk 2:48). The answer Jesus gave was such that "they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them." He had said, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?" (Lk 2:49-50)

Joseph, of whom Mary had just used the words "your father," heard this answer. That, after all, is what all the people said and thought: Jesus was the son (as was supposed) or Joseph" (Lk 3:23). Nonetheless, the reply of Jesus in the Temple brought once again to the mind of his "presumed father" what he had heard on that night twelve years earlier: "Joseph…do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." From that time onwards he knew that he was a guardian of the mystery of God, and it was precisely this mystery that the twelve- year-old Jesus brought to mind: "I must be in my Father’s house."

The Support and Education of Jesus of Nazareth

16. The growth of Jesus "in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man" (Lk 2:52) took place within the Holy Family under the eyes of Joseph, who had the important task of "raising" Jesus, that is, feeding, clothing and educating him in the Law and in a trade, in keeping with the duties of a father.

In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Church venerates the memory of Mary the ever Virgin Mother of God and the memory of St. Joseph,(29) because "he fed him whom the faithful must eat as the bread of eternal life."(30)

For his part, Jesus "was obedient to them" (Lk 2:51), respectfully returning the affection of his "parents." In this way he wished to sanctify the obligations of the family and of work, which he performed at the side of Joseph.

III

A JUST MAN A HUSBAND

17. In the course of that pilgrimage of faith which was his life, Joseph, like Mary, remained faithful to God’s call until the end. While Mary’s life was the bringing to fullness of that fiat first spoken at the Annunciation, at the moment of Joseph’s own "annunciation" he said nothing; instead he simply "did as the angel of the Lord commanded him" (Mt 1:24). And this first "doing" became the beginning of "Joseph’s way." The Gospels do not record any word ever spoken by Joseph along that way. But the silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence, for thanks to that silence we can understand the truth of the Gospel’s judgment that he was "a just man" (Mt 1:19).

One must come to understand this truth, for it contains one of the most important testimonies concerning man and his vocation. Through many generations the Church has read this testimony with ever greater attention and with deeper understanding, drawing, as it were, "what is new and what is old" (Mt 13:52) from the storehouse of the noble figure of Joseph.

18. Above all, the "just" man of Nazareth possesses the clear characteristics of a husband. Luke refers to Mary as "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph" (Lk 1:27). Even before the "mystery hidden for ages" (Eph 3:9) began to be fulfilled, the Gospels set before us the image of husband and wife. According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal, or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his own house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her "husband." Mary, however, preserved her deep desire to give herself exclusively to God. One may well ask how this desire of Mary’s could be reconciled with a "wedding." The answer can only come from the saving events as they unfold, from the special action of God himself. From the moment of the Annunciation, Mary knew that she was to fulfill her virginal desire to give herself exclusively and fully to God precisely by becoming the Mother of God’s Son. Becoming a Mother by the power of the Holy Spirit was the form taken by her gift of self: a form which God himself expected of the Virgin Mary, who was "betrothed" to Joseph. Mary uttered her fiat. The fact that Mary was "betrothed" to Joseph was part of the very plan of God. This is pointed out by Luke and especially by Matthew. The words spoken to Joseph are very significant: "Do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 1:20). These words explain the mystery of Joseph’s wife: In her motherhood Mary is a virgin. In her, "the Son of the Most High" assumed a human body and became "the Son of Man."

Addressing Joseph through the words of the angel, God speaks to him as the husband of the Virgin of Nazareth. What took place in her through the power of the Holy Spirit also confirmed in a special way the marriage bond which already existed between Joseph and Mary. God’s messenger was clear in what he said to Joseph: "Do not fear to take Mary your wife into your home." Hence, what had taken place earlier, namely, Joseph’s marriage to Mary, happened in accord with God’s will and was meant to endure. In her divine motherhood Mary had to continue to live as "a virgin, the wife of her husband" (cf. Lk 1:27).

19. In the words of the "annunciation" by night, Joseph not only heard the divine truth concerning his wife’s indescribable vocation; he also heard once again the truth about his own vocation. This "just" man, who, in the spirit of the noblest traditions of the Chosen People, loved the Virgin of Nazareth and was bound to her by a husband’s love, was once again called by God to this love.

"Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife" into his home (Mt 1:24); what was conceived in Mary was "of the Holy Spirit." From expressions such as these are we not to suppose that his love as a man was also given new birth by the Holy Spirit? Are we not to think that the love of God which has been poured forth into the human heart through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rm 5:5) molds every human love to perfection? This love of God also molds-in a completely unique way-the love of husband and wife, deepening within it everything of human worth and beauty, everything that bespeaks an exclusive gift of self, a covenant between persons, and an authentic communion according to the model of the Blessed Trinity.

"Joseph. . .took his wife; but he knew her not, until she had borne a son" (Mt 1:24-25). These words indicate another kind of closeness in marriage. The deep spiritual closeness arising from marital union and the interpersonal contact between man and woman have their definitive origin in the Spirit, the Giver of Life (cf. Jn 6:63). Joseph, in obedience to the Spirit, found in the Spirit the source of love, the conjugal love which he experienced as a man. And this love proved to be greater than this "just man" could ever have expected within the limits of his human heart.

20. In the Liturgy, Mary is celebrated as "united to Joseph, the just man, by a bond of marital and virginal love."(31) There are really two kinds of love here, both of which together represent the mystery of the Church – virgin and spouse – as symbolized in the marriage of Mary and Joseph. "Virginity or celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God not only does not contradict the dignity of marriage but presupposes and confirms it. Marriage and virginity are two ways of expressing and living the one mystery of the Covenant of God with his people."(32) the Covenant which is a communion of love between God and human beings.

Through his complete self-sacrifice, Joseph expressed his generous love for the Mother of God, and gave her a husband’s "gift of self." Even though he decided to draw back so as not to interfere in the plan of God which was coming to pass in Mary, Joseph obeyed the explicit command of the angel and look Mary into his home, while respecting the fact that she belonged exclusively to God.

On the other hand, it was from his marriage to Mary that Joseph derived his singular dignity and his rights in regard to Jesus. "It is certain that the dignity of the Mother of God is so exalted that nothing could be more sublime; yet because Mary was united to Joseph by the bond of marriage, there can be no doubt but that Joseph approached as no other person ever could that eminent dignity whereby the Mother of God towers above all creatures. Since marriage is the highest degree of association and friendship involving by its very nature a communion of goods, it follows that God, by giving Joseph to the Virgin, did not give him to her only as a companion for life, a witness of her virginity and protector of her honor: he also gave Joseph to Mary in order that he might share, through the marriage pact, in her own sublime greatness."(33)

21. This bond of charity was the core of the Holy Family’s life, first in the poverty of Bethlehem, then in their exile in Egypt, and later in the house of Nazareth. The Church deeply venerates this Family, and proposes it as the model of all families. Inserted directly in the mystery of the Incarnation, the Family of Nazareth has its own special mystery. And in this mystery, as in the Incarnation, one finds a true fatherhood: the human form of the family of the Son of God, a true human family, formed by the divine mystery. In this family, Joseph is the father: his fatherhood is not one that derives from begetting offspring; but neither is it an "apparent" or merely "substitute" fatherhood. Rather, it is one that fully shares in authentic human fatherhood and the mission of a father in the family. This is a consequence of the hypostatic union: humanity taken up into the unity of the Divine Person of the Word-Son, Jesus Christ. Together with human nature, all that is human, and especially the family – as the first dimension of man’s existence in the world – is also taken up in Christ. Within this context, Joseph’s human fatherhood was also "taken up" in the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation.

On the basis of this principle, the words which Mary spoke to the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple take on their full significance: "Your father and I…have been looking for you." This is no conventional phrase: Mary’s words to Jesus show the complete reality of the Incarnation present in the mystery of the Family of Nazareth. From the beginning, Joseph accepted with the "obedience of faith" his human fatherhood over Jesus. And thus, following the light of the Holy Spirit who gives himself to human beings through faith, he certainly came to discover ever more fully the indescribable gift that was his human fatherhood.

IV

WORK AS AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE

22. Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the Family of Nazareth. The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order to support his family: he was a carpenter. This simple word sums up Joseph’s entire life. For Jesus, these were hidden years, the years to which Luke refers after recounting the episode that occurred in the Temple: "And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them" (Lk 2:51). This "submission" or obedience of Jesus in the house of Nazareth should be understood as a sharing in the work of Joseph. Having learned the work of his presumed father, he was known as "the carpenter’s son." If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus’ work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.

23. In the human growth of Jesus "in wisdom, age and grace," the virtue of industriousness played a notable role, since "work is a human good" which "transforms nature" and makes man "in a sense, more human."(34)

The importance of work in human life demands that its meaning be known and assimilated in order to "help all people to come closer to God, the Creator and Redeemer, to participate in his salvific plan for man and the world, and to deepen…friendship with Christ in their lives, by accepting, through faith, a living participation in his threefold mission as Priest, Prophet and King."(35)

24. What is crucially important here is the sanctification of daily life, a sanctification which each person must acquire according to his or her own state, and one which can be promoted according to a model accessible to all people: "St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies;…he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things-it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic."(36)

V

THE PRIMACY OF THE INTERIOR LIFE

25. The same aura of silence that envelops everything else about Joseph also shrouds his work as a carpenter in the house of Nazareth. It is, however, a silence that reveals in a special way the inner portrait of the man. The Gospels speak exclusively of what Joseph "did." Still, they allow us to discover in his "actions" – shrouded in silence as they are – an aura of deep contemplation. Joseph was in daily contact with the mystery "hidden from ages past," and which "dwelt" under his roof. This explains, for example, why St. Teresa of Jesus, the great reformer of the Carmelites, promoted the renewal of veneration to St. Joseph in Western Christianity.

26. The total sacrifice, whereby Joseph surrendered his whole existence to the demands of the Messiah’s coming into his home, becomes understandable only in the light of his profound interior life. It was from this interior life that "very singular commands and consolations came, bringing him also the logic and strength that belong to simple and clear souls, and giving him the power of making great decisions-such as the decision to put his liberty immediately at the disposition of the divine designs, to make over to them also his legitimate human calling, his conjugal happiness, to accept the conditions, the responsibility and the burden of a family, but, through an incomparable virginal love, to renounce that natural conjugal love that is the foundation and nourishment of the family.(37)

This submission to God, this readiness of will to dedicate oneself to all that serves him, is really nothing less than that exercise of devotion which constitutes one expression of the virtue of religion.(38)

27. The communion of life between Joseph and Jesus leads us to consider once again the mystery of the Incarnation, precisely in reference to the humanity of Jesus as the efficacious instrument of his divinity for the purpose of sanctifying man: "By virtue of his divinity, Christ’s human actions were salvific for us, causing grace within us, either by merit or by a certain efficacy."(39)

Among those actions, the gospel writers highlight those which have to do with the Paschal Mystery, but they also underscore the importance of physical contact with Jesus for healing (cf. for example, Mk 1:41), and the influence Jesus exercised upon John the Baptist when they were both in their mothers’ wombs (cf. Lk 1:41-44).

As we have seen, the apostolic witness did not neglect the story of Jesus’ birth, his circumcision, his presentation in the Temple, his flight into Egypt and his hidden life in Nazareth. It recognized the "mystery" of grace present in each of these saving "acts," inasmuch as they all share the same source of love: the divinity of Christ. If through Christ’s humanity this love shone on all mankind, the first beneficiaries were undoubtedly those whom the divine will had most intimately associated with itself: Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and Joseph, his presumed father.(40)

Why should the "fatherly" love of Joseph not have had an influence upon the "filial" love of Jesus? And vice versa why should the "filial" love of Jesus not have had an influence upon the "fatherly" love of Joseph, thus leading to a further deepening of their unique relationship? Those souls most sensitive to the impulses of divine love have rightly seen in Joseph a brilliant example of the interior life.

Furthermore, in Joseph, the apparent tension between the active and the contemplative life finds an ideal harmony that is only possible for those who possess the perfection of charity. Following St. Augustine’s well-known distinction between the love of the truth (caritas veritatis) and the practical demands of love (necessitas caritatis),(41) we can say that Joseph experienced both love of the truth-that pure contemplative love of the divine Truth which radiated from the humanity of Christ-and the demands of love-that equally pure and selfless love required for his vocation to safeguard and develop the humanity of Jesus, which was inseparably linked to his divinity.

VI

PATRON OF THE CHURCH IN OUR DAY

28. At a difficult time in the Church’s history, Pope Pius IX, wishing to place her under the powerful patronage of the holy patriarch Joseph, declared him "Patron of the Catholic Church."(42) For Pius IX this was no idle gesture, since by virtue of the sublime dignity which God has granted to his most faithful servant Joseph, "the Church, after the Blessed Virgin, his spouse, has always held him in great honor and showered him with praise, having recourse to him amid tribulations."(43)

What are the reasons for such great confidence? Leo XIII explained it in this way: "The reasons why St. Joseph must be considered the special patron of the Church, and the Church in turn draws exceeding hope from his care and patronage, chiefly arise from his having been the husband of Mary and the presumed father of Jesus…, Joseph was in his day the lawful and natural guardian, head and defender of the Holy Family…. It is thus fitting and most worthy of Joseph’s dignity that, in the same way that he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ."(44)

29. This patronage must be invoked as ever necessary for the Church, not only as a defense against all dangers, but also, and indeed primarily, as an impetus for her renewed commitment to evangelization in the world and to re-evangelization in those lands and nations where-as I wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Christideles Laici – "religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and…are now put to a hard test."(45) In order to bring the first proclamation of Christ, or to bring it anew wherever it has been neglected or forgotten, the Church has need of special "power from on high" (cf. Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8): a gift of the Spirit of the Lord, a gift which is not unrelated to the intercession and example of his saints.

30. Besides trusting in Joseph’s sure protection, the Church also trusts in his noble example, which transcends all individual states of life and serves as a model for the entire Christian community, whatever the condition and duties of each of its members may be.

As the Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council has said, the basic attitude of the entire Church must be that of "hearing the word of God with reverence,"(46) an absolute readiness to serve faithfully God’s salvific will revealed in Jesus. Already at the beginning of human redemption, after Mary, we find the model of obedience made incarnate in St. Joseph, the man known for having faithfully carried out God’s commands.

Pope Paul VI invited us to invoke Joseph’s patronage "as the Church has been wont to do in these recent times, for herself in the first place, with a spontaneous theological reflection on the marriage of divine and human action in the great economy of the Redemption, in which economy the first-the divine one-is wholly sufficient unto itself, while the second-the human action which is ours-though capable of nothing (cf. Jn 15:5), is never dispensed from a humble but conditional and ennobling collaboration. The Church also calls upon Joseph as her protector because of a profound and ever present desire to reinvigorate her ancient life with true evangelical virtues, such as shine forth in St. Joseph."(47)

31. The Church transforms these needs into prayer. Recalling that God wished to entrust the beginnings of our redemption to the faithful care of St. Joseph, she asks God to grant that she may faithfully cooperate in the work of salvation; that she may receive the same faithfulness and purity of heart that inspired Joseph in serving the Incarnate World; and that she may walk before God in the ways of holiness and justice, following Joseph’s example and through his intercession.(48)

One hundred years ago, Pope Leo XIII had already exhorted the Catholic world to pray for the protection of St. Joseph, Patron of the whole Church. The Encyclical Epistle Quamquam Pluries appealed to Joseph’s "fatherly love…for the child Jesus" and commended to him, as "the provident guardian of the divine Family," "the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood." Since that time-as I recalled at the beginning of this Exhortation-the Church has implored the protection of St. Joseph on the basis of "that sacred bond of charity which united him to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God," and the Church has commended to Joseph all of her cares, including those dangers which threaten the human family.

Even today we have many reasons to pray in a similar way: "Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin…graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness…and just as once you saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God’s holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity."(49) Today we still have good reason to commend everyone to St. Joseph.

32. It is my heartfelt wish that these reflections on the person of St. Joseph will renew in us the prayerful devotion which my Predecessor called for a century ago. Our prayers and the very person of Joseph have renewed significance for the Church in our day in light of the Third Christian Millennium.

The Second Vatican Council made all of us sensitive once again to the "great things which God has done," and to that "economy of salvation" of which St. Joseph was a special minister. Commending ourselves, then, to the protection of him to whose custody God "entrusted his greatest and most precious treasures,"(50) let us at the same time learn from him how to be servants of the "economy of salvation." May St. Joseph become for all of us an exceptional teacher in the service of Christ’s saving mission, a mission which is the responsibility of each and every member of the Church: husbands and wives, parents, those who live by the work of their hands or by any other kind of work, those called to the contemplative life and those called to the apostolate.

This just man, who bore within himself the entire heritage of the Old Covenant, was also brought into the "beginning" of the New and Eternal Covenant in Jesus Christ. May he show us the paths of this saving Covenant as we stand at the threshold of the next millennium, in which there must be a continuation and further development of the "fullness of time" that belongs the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Word.

May St. Joseph obtain for the Church and for the world, as well as for each of us, the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Given at Rome, in St. Peter’s, on August 15 – the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – in the year 1989, the eleventh of my Pontificate.

JOHN PAUL II

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Jesus of the Cross,

Jesus of the Cross,
Jesus of the Suffering,
Jesus of the Dying,
Hanging from Your Cross
Before our eyes,
Hanging in Your Suffering,
Bleeding out Your Love,
Hanging in Your Dying
Above the world,
First Born Son and New beginning,
Birthing in the hearts of the Children of Man,
Children for God.

Copyright 2013 Joann Nelander All rights reserved

Thank You Pope Benedict from the Church – Add Yours

Here are some sentiments and great love:- Just Click to add yours on the Thank You Pope Benedict Blog:

12TH FEB 2013

Holy Father, my heart swells with love and admiration.  You are   an encouraging spiritual father to this world in pain and suffering, for you remind us of our destiny in Christ Jesus Who loves us, everyone.  You are a symbol of that love by your constancy and devotion and now especially for the more you want for us.

God lent you to us for a time, and you do shine.  You feel your weakness, we perceive your strength and devotion.  Our hearts go with you into your retirement to buoy you up and lift you to God in our prayer. Go in peace and continue to pray for the little ones like me who grow in pondering you.

Joann Nelander Albuquerque, NM USA

12TH FEB 2013

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The following meditations will probably rank high among many similar works which the

contemplative love of Jesus has produced; but it is our duty here plainly to affirm that they

have no pretensions whatever to be regarded as history.

They are but intended to take one of

the lowest places among those numerous representations of the Passion which have been

given us by pious writers and artists, and to be considered at the very utmost as the Lenten

meditations of a devout nun, related in all simplicity, and written down in the plainest and

most literal language, from her own dictation. To these meditations, she herself never

attached more than a mere human value, and never related them except through obedience,

and upon the repeated commands of the directors of her conscience.

The writer of the following pages was introduced to this holy religious by Count Leopold

de Stolberg. (The Count de Stolberg is one of the most eminent converts whom the Catholic

Church has made from Protestantism. He died in 1819.)

PDF of the Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US

H/T Joyce Devivre

HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

The Mystery of Man’s Reconciliation With God

From a letter by Saint Leo the Great, pope:

Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Saviour there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.
He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the pre-eminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfills what is proper to the flesh.
One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person – this must be said over and over again – is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

On the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp

Polycarp

Polycarp / Wikipedia

From a letter on the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna

 

 

A Rich and Pleasing Sacrifice

  

When the pyre was ready, Polycarp took off all his clothes and loosened his under-garment. He made an effort also to remove his shoes, though he had been unaccustomed to this, for the faithful always vied with each other in their haste to touch his body. Even before his martyrdom he had received every mark of honour in tribute to his holiness of life.
There and then he was surrounded by the material for the pyre. When they tried to fasten him also with nails, he said: “Leave me as I am. The one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.” So they did not fix him to the pyre with nails but only fastened him instead. Bound as he was, with hands behind his back, he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.
Looking up to heaven, he said: “Lord, almighty God, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have come to the knowledge of yourself, God of angels, of powers, of all creation, of all the race of saints who live in your sight, I bless you for judging me worthy of this day, this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ, your anointed one, and so rise again to eternal life in soul and body, immortal through the power of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among the martyrs in your presence today as a rich and pleasing sacrifice. God of truth, stranger to falsehood, you have prepared this and revealed it to me and now you have fulfilled your promise.
“I praise you for all things, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal priest of heaven, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him be glory to you, together with him and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”
When he had said “Amen” and finished the prayer, the officials at the pyre lit it. But, when a great flame burst out, those of us privileged to see it witnessed a strange and wonderful thing. Indeed, we have been spared in order to tell the story to others. Like a ship’s sail swelling in the wind, the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body. Surrounded by the fire, his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white-hot in a furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt. So sweet a fragrance came to us that it was like that of burning incense or some other costly and sweet-smelling gum.

From A Saintly Friend

My Child,
Praise be to Jesus Christ.
He is our Anchor.
He is the High Tower
He is the Lamp that shines in the dark.
He is the Light that dispels all darkness.
He it is that brings us to the safe harbor.

Rough seas, storms,
Thunder in the night,
And the tumult of the deep,
All serve, our Great King.
Fear nothing that comes to you.
You have a champion in high heaven
And ministering angels about you.

See with the eyes of your soul.
Remember: “Greater is He
That is in you,
Than he who is in the world.”

Rejoice that you are His,
And that you are weak and small.
The great can not see
Their need for a savior.
You know your need,
And you know your Savior.

By Joann Nelander

Repenting and Forgiven

c. 1632

Image via Wikipedia

How true it is
That we are wretched sinners,
Dying since our birth,
Condemned by Man’s First Sin.

Yet, we wait, in hope believing,
For what we have begun to be,
Since our Christ died upon a Tree
Shedding His blood at Calvary.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
One of the Holy Three,
All Man, All God, All Given
That upon repenting
We become the forgiven.

Light in the Temple

With this instruction of St. Columbanus, I include a prayer I posted earlier this week, because it seemed to apply.

From the Instructions of St Columbanus

Perpetual light in the temple of the eternal High Priest
How happy, how lucky are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes! How blessed it is to be wakeful and watching for God, who created all things, who fills them with being and exceeds all of them in greatness!
I am a lowly creature but I am still his servant, and I hope that he will choose to wake me from slumber. I hope that he will set me on fire with the flame of his divine love, the flame that burns above the stars, so that I am filled with desire for his love and his fire burns always within me!
I hope that I may deserve this, that my little lamp should burn all night in the temple of the Lord and shine on all who enter the house of God! Lord, I beg you in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and my God, give me a love that cannot stumble so that my lamp can be lit but can never go out: let it burn in me and give light to others.
And you, Christ, our gentle saviour, in your kindness light our lamps so that they shine for ever in your temple and lighten our darkness and dispel the shadows of the world.
I beg you, my Jesus, fill my lamp with your light. By its light let me see the holiest of holy places, your own temple where you enter as the eternal High Priest of the eternal mysteries. Let me see you, watch you, desire you. Let me love you as I see you, and before you let my lamp always shine, always burn.
Beloved Saviour, show yourself to us who beg a glimpse of you. Let us know you, let us love you, let us love only you, let us desire you alone, let us spend our days and nights meditating on you alone, let us always be thinking of you. Fill us with love of you, let us love you with all the love that is your right as our God. Let that love fill us and possess us, let it overwhelm our senses until we can love nothing but you, for you are eternal. Give us that love that all the waters of the sea, the earth, the sky cannot extinguish: as it is written, love that no flood can quench, no torrents drown. What is said in the Song of Songs can become true in us (at least in part) if you, our Lord Jesus Christ, give us that grace. To you be glory for ever and for ever. Amen.

Prayer At Adoration

You, My Lord, light up my darkness.  I join my voice to the bright “Hosannas” of adoring angels. With the elect of Heaven here at my side, I call upon these holy saints and angels to remember before the throne of God all who labor in Your vineyard. Make me Your monstrance that I may carry You in my heart and be Your light to all I meet today.  Amen.

by Joann Nelander

Easter “Praises of God”

Praises of God

  • You are encircling Love.
  • You are abiding strength
  • You are the constant “Hound of Heaven”
  • You are my Spouse, my Love.
  • You are my All-in-All.
  • You are my surrounding Presence.
  • You are the joy of my life.
  • You are my dearest Friend.
  • You are my “nudger” when I am weak.
  • You are my encouraging companion.
  • You fill my life with purpose and meaning.
  • You are gentle, caring and compassionate.
  • Your are beauty, sweet unction for my soul.
  • You are impregnating Presence filling all life.
  • You are my precious guide and protector.
  • You are my Counselor, my Lover, My Friend.
  • You are Wisdom, Truth and Peace.
  • You are so human and so divine.
  • You are mystery, urging us on.
  • You draw us to Your Father and give us Your Life-giving Spirit.
  • You keep showing us Your Mother to also honor and love.
  • You are filled with amazing surprises.
  • You mend our broken hearts, mind and body.
  • You are water for the thirsty.
  • You are bread for the hungry.
  • Your are Creator, Redeemer, Risen Lord.
  • You enflesh us with Your image and likeness, Your very life-giving breath.
  • You are healing when we humbly acknowledge our brokenness.
  • You are forgiving when we fail.
  • You sense our needs before we know them.
  • You are the hand that holds us close to Your Heart.
  • You are the Indwelling Presence that makes us special.
  • You are the Light that illumines our darkness.
  • You are peace  for longing, agonizing hearts.
  • You are the flower that perfumes our life.
  • Your are the smile that brings acceptance.
  • You are the most precious friend that we cannot so without.

Amen!  Amen!

by   Sister La Donna Pinkelman, OSF Sylvania, Ohio