All Saints Day–St. Bernard

From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot
Let us make haste to our brethren who are awaiting us.

Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.

Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.

Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.

When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.

Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession.

New Song

Love and praise hold hands.
Happy hearts rejoice.
Song rises from the multitude,
As lives lived in faith believing.

The Just sing with their being,
Resplendent and resounding love.
Praise embodied in saintly flesh.

New song, New Day,
New creation,
In harmony with Heaven
A symphony of faithful, forgiven witness.

Alleluia.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Your Saints in Glory

At the moment
You lift Your saintly friends
From the Earth,
And plant them
In the Heaven of Your Being,
At that precious moment,
And by that fateful act,
You endow upon
The sons and daughters
Of Your Covenant,
Remaining in this world,
More, not less.

When Your friends
Journey forth,
All the Earth
Is, henceforth, blessed,
And not, otherwise,
Disposed or deprived.

As Your Servants,
Enter Your Realms of Light,
Their charisms become infinite,
In their capacity to bless.

When the smallest of the small
Cries out,
In the name of Your forever Friends,
These other Christs
Answer with Your power to succor.

In the Now of Your Essence,
They share Your Glory.
In Heaven,
There is only one glory,
Which cannot increase.
United to You,
Who, are unchanging,
This new rain falls to
the Earth,
And it’s consenting
creatures, here,
Can and do change,
In the shower
Of Your abundant dew fall.

We are, henceforth,
The beneficiaries of new riches,
Streaming from Your Side,
The Door, by which Your saints
Entered Eternity.

Glory upon glory falls,
As golden droplets,
Upon the land
Of sunrise and sunset.

Your gifts do not cease
With the death
Of those who are Yours.
Heaven is united to earth,
And in the celebration
Of their new birth,
Rejoices.

©2012 Joann Nelander

Your Saints in Glory

At the moment
You lift Your saintly friends
From the Earth,
And plant them
In the Heaven of Your Being,
At that precious moment,
And by that fateful act,
You endow
The sons and daughters
Of Your Covenant,
Remaining in this world,
With more,
Not less.

When Your friends
Journey forth,
All the Earth
Is, henceforth,  blessed,
And not, otherwise,
Disposed or deprived.

As Your Servants,
Enter Your Realms of Light,
Their charisms become infinite,
In their capacity to bless.

When the smallest of the small
Cries out,
In the name of Your forever Friends,
These other  Christs
Answer with Your power to succor.

In the Now of Your Essence,
They share Your Glory.
In Heaven,
There is only one glory,
Which cannot increase.
United to You,
Who, are unchanging,
This new rain falls to
the Earth,
And it’s consenting
creatures, here,
Can and do change,
In the shower
Of Your abundant dew fall.

We are,  henceforth,
The beneficiaries of new riches,
Streaming from Your Side,
The Door, by which Your saints
Entered Eternity.

Glory upon glory
Falls,
As golden droplets,
Upon the land
Of sunrise and sunset.

Your gifts do not cease
With the death
Of those who are Yours.
Heaven is united to earth,
And in the celebration
Of their new birth,
Rejoices.

©2012 Joann Nelander

Wisdom of the Church

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

He who perseveres to the end will be saved

Whenever we suffer some affliction, we should regard it both as a punishment and as a correction. Our holy Scriptures themselves do not promise us peace, security and rest. On the contrary, the Gospel makes no secret of the troubles and temptations that await us, but it also says that he who perseveres to the end will be saved. What good has there ever been in this life since the time when the first man received the just sentence of death and the curse from which Christ our Lord has delivered us?

So we must not grumble, my brothers, for as the Apostle says: Some of them murmured and were destroyed by serpents. Is there any affliction now endured by mankind that was not endured by our fathers before us? What sufferings of ours even bear comparison with what we know of their sufferings? And yet you hear people complaining about this present day and age because things were so much better in former times. I wonder what would happen if they could be taken back to the days of their ancestors–would we not still hear them complaining? You may think past ages were good, but it is only because you are not living in them.

It amazes me that you who have now been freed from the curse, who have believed in the son of God, who have been instructed in the holy Scriptures–that you can think the days of Adam were good. And your ancestors bore the curse of Adam, of that Adam to whom the words were addressed: With sweat on your brow you shall eat your bread; you shall till the earth from which you were taken, and it will yield you thorns and thistles. This is what he deserved and what he had to suffer; this is the punishment meted out to him by the just judgment of God. How then can you think that past ages were better than your own? From the time of that first Adam to the time of his descendants today, man’s lot has been labor and sweat, thorns and thistles. Have we forgotten the flood and the calamitous times of famine and war whose history has been recorded precisely in order to keep us from complaining to God on account of our own times? Just think what those past ages were like! Is there one of us who does not shudder to hear or read of them? Far from justifying complaints about our own time, they teach us how much we have to be thankful for.

Why the Saints?

A Prayer Before Blogging

My God, I believe and I adore You.  Be ever before the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see You in all circumstances and look for You in those I meet today.  I place Your blood over my heart, before my lips and around my mind as I pray and before I venture forth into this day.  May Your good angels, and Your  saints assist me, especially in drawing my thoughts to You.   Be glorified, My Love, in the Church, in the world and in me.

And they all said…….AMEN!

Particular to this day:  May I remember that it’s Sunday and spend lots of time with You.  Amen