Cleaning Up Your Act

I can only clean up your dirt,
If you give it to me.
Is it pride that stands in your way?
Think, then, of the filth in which you wallow.

Being prostrate in repentance,
Is in reality a rising,
A lifting of your head,
A step up, my man!

Really now, how proud can a man be,
Who is chained to his sin,
A slave in bondage to habit,
Following the crowd?

Mire and muck,
What trappings are these,
But for a prince of fools?
Fall on your knees to stand up!

© 2011 Joann Nelander   All rights reserved

WRATH OF GOD, A LIVING HELL

The Wrath of God blazes forth
As left to myself,
I behold myself.
Where is His image in me?
What have I done ?

Where God is not,
Only Hell resides.
Life has become my agony,
With self-inflicted wounds.

Unchanging Purity of Being,
Fire of Love,
I, now, the antithesis,
Banishing God to the periphery
Holding Him at bay.
My kingdom, my way!

Sin rages in His absence,
A counterfeit of life,
For where the Creator is not,
There is only dissipation.
Creating nothing;
Loving no one,

I built a world apart,
Overruled His Plan,
Overturned His "Shalt Nots"
With tolerance and choice.
There is no compromise for Truth.
Sin is always a choice,
Or it is not sin.

The Wrath of God blazes forth.
Consumes the idol, self.
Now, to turn, to choose anew,
To turn again before the final hour,
While it is still Day,
No more to turn away!

So splendid a freedom is love
That it can not come to be
Without an altar,
And in the Fire of Love,
To sacrifice my "Me".
©2014 Joann Nelander

.

Sins of Ignorance and Sins of the Flesh

Sins of Ignorance and Sins of the Flesh

by Fr. Mullady

Sins of Ignorance and Sins of the Flesh Editor’s note: It is our great pleasure to welcome Father Brian Mullady OP to our writing team. He is a professor, preacher and retreat master, who has authored three books, and is the Theological Consultant to the Institute on Religious Life. Please welcome him warmly and make him feel at home! It is a moral truth that… Read More

via Spiritualdirection.com | Catholic Spiritual Direction | Catholic Spiritual Direction – Seek Him – Find Him – Follow Him Catholic Spiritual Direction.

Healing the Original Wound

“If you have loved and been loved in return, you have some idea of what the promise of eternal life is.  You can think a little of the love of God.  If you feel that you have been unloved or have not really loved, then you have a great hunger inside of you for the mysterious love of God.  In either case, you know something about the imperative need, the restlessness, the hunger that we all have to find love, unfailing love, in the brief reality we call our lives.”

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel died recently after a long life of love and service.  I’ve asked him to be my spiritual director now that he has eternity to answer my questions. I’ll start small with his book.

Read a bit more  about Fr. Groeschel

The Wrath of God, a Living Hell

The Wrath of God blazes forth
As left to myself,
I behold myself.
Where is His image in me?
What have I done ?

Where God is not,
Only Hell resides.
Life has become my agony,
With self-inflicted wounds.

Unchanging Purity of Being,
Fire of Love,
I, now, the antithesis,
Banishing God to the periphery
Holding Him at bay.
My kingdom, my way!

Sin rages in His absence,
A counterfeit of life,
For where the Creator is not,
There is only dissipation.
Creating nothing;
Loving no one,

I built a world apart,
Overruled His Plan,
Overturned His "Shalt Nots"
With tolerance and choice.
There is no compromise for Truth.
Sin is always a choice,
Or it is not sin.

The Wrath of God blazes forth.
Consumes the idol, self.
Now, to turn, to choose anew,
To turn again before the final hour,
While it is still Day,
No more to turn away!

So splendid a freedom is love
That it can not come to be
Without an altar,
And in the Fire of Love,
To sacrifice my "Me".
 
©2014 Joann Nelander

 

 

.

By Your Presence

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

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

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

©2011 Joann Nelander

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Cry of One Forgiven

How can I thank You
For Your forgiveness,
For that moment,
In which You scattered
My accusers,
And took my part?

As I looked up
From the mud of my despair,
Your majestic countenance
Was all.
You loomed before me,
Brighter than the Sun.

Who could have imagined
Such grandeur?
You wore holiness like a crown
That more than circled Your brow.
Rather, it emanated,
As light from Your Being,
Announcing Who You are?

Only humility can receive You,
And dare Your gaze.
For Your Eyes
Pierce the soul,
Revealing all.

Only those crying for a Savior
Dare look up,
To confess with that glance
Their fault and nakedness,
Helpless and all pleading.

Only the thirsty
Can drink in the majesty
Of Your knowing.
For pride is the travesty,
That hides,
For fear of revelation.

That moment shattered my fear
And rent the clouds of all my life.
Taking proffered Hand,
I rise to my feet
Then, as now, again,

Light embraces me
As my rags fall to my feet.
In their place
Love has woven a mantle,
A robe of Being,
That more than clothes me.

It is a signal grace,
That names me,
With it, You announce
To all Creation
Who I am in You.

My "Yes" reverberates
Throughout the Universe.
I am new,
Like a star at its birth,
Bursting forth
With Your Holiness;
Baptized in Your Redemption.

How can I thank You
For Your forgiveness,
O, You, Who took my part?
Go now,
In search of my accusers.

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander

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The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – a fitting tabernacle to hold the Word made Flesh

via  The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – a fitting tabernacle to hold the Word made Flesh with Teresa Monaghen « Discerning Hearts Discerning Hearts.

Teresa Monaghen, of Pro Sanctity and Fr. John Sianchuck, C.Ss.R., a Ukranian Byzantine priest do a great job of explaining the Western and Eastern understanding of this great mystery.

Take a listen to the discussion posted above, that Bruce and I had with Teresa Monaghen, from Pro Sanctity and Fr. John Sianchuk, C.Ss.R., a Ukrainian Redemptorist priest discuss the difference and similarities of Western and Eastern understanding of the Immaculate  Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (34.7MB)

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Immaculate Conception,

Immaculate Conception 2 The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – a fitting tabernacle to hold the Word made Flesh with Teresa Monaghen490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137

493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long. ”

via The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – a fitting tabernacle to hold the Word made Flesh with Teresa Monaghen « Discerning Hearts Discerning Hearts.

Scruples and the Fear of Hell |Blogs | NCRegister.com

Scruples and the Fear of Hell |Blogs | NCRegister.com

<blockquote><p>Hell is not a threat by God.  It’s a diagnosis of the stakes for which we play and the consequences of being the sort of fallen creatures we are in the sort of universe this is with the sort of God who made it. When the doc says "If you persist in your behavior without change you will get liver cancer and you will die" he’s not threatening you.  He’s stating a fact.  The cancer is not being sent by the doc to kill you.  It’s the fruit of the stuff you are doing.  The doc is there to heal you.  But the healing requires the diagnosis.</p><p>Jesus’ diagnosis is that our race is sick with sin.  Hell is the fruition of a life obstinately ordered toward sinful selfishness.  The endstage of sin is hell just as the endstage of cancer is death.  It’s not an extra added punishment for sin.  It’s just what sin fully is.  So it’s not something God does to us.  It’s something we do to ourselves.  God is not Daddy Dearest, standing there threatening to shove you into the box of scorpions forever “to teach you a lesson” if you don’t clean up your room this minute.  He is the guy on the beach waving his arms and trying to get the oblivious (and contemptuous) bathers out of the surf and into the Land Rover that will speed them to high ground before the tsunami makes landfall.  He has done and continues to do absolutely everything—including die—to make sure that we don’t lose the life of grace for which we were created.  In short, he is Emmanuel—God with us—not against us.</p><p> Read more via <a href=’http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/scruples-and-the-fear-of-hell’>Scruples and the Fear of Hell |Blogs | NCRegister.com</a>.</p></blockquote>

The Anatomy of a Sin as set forth in a lesser known Biblical passage. « Archdiocese of Washington

via The Anatomy of a Sin as set forth in a lesser known Biblical passage. « Archdiocese of Washington.

. They suppressed their consciences-  What is the conscience? The Catechism defines it thus: For Man has in his heart a law inscribed by God, This is his conscience, there he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths… (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) # 1776). So, in effect, the conscience is the voice of God within us. God has written his Law in the hearts of every human person.

Thus, in terms of basic right and wrong, we know what we are doing. There may be certain higher matters of the Law that the conscience must be taught (eg. the following of certain rituals or feasts days etc.). But in terms of fundamental moral norms, we have a basic and innate grasp of what is right and wrong. Deep down inside we know what we are doing. We see and salute virtues like bravery, self-control, and generosity. We also know that things like murder of the innocent, promiscuity, theft, destruction of reputations etc are wrong.For all the excuses we like to make, deep down inside we know what we are doing, and we know that we know.   I have written substantially about conscience elsewhere (HERE).

But notice that it says that they “suppressed their consciences.” Even though we know something is wrong we often want to do it anyway. One of the first things our wily minds will do is to try and suppress our conscience. To suppress something is to put it down by force, to inhibit or to try and exclude something from awareness or consciousness.

The usual way of doing this is through rationalizations and sophistry. We invent any number of thoughts, lies and distortions to try and reassure our self that something is really OK, something that deep down inside we know isn’t OK.

We also accumulate false teachers and teachings to assist in this suppression of the truth that our conscience witnesses to. St. Paul wrote to Timothy: For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Tim 4:1-3).

It is quite an effort to suppress one’s own conscience and I would argue that we cannot ever do it completely. In fact the whole attempt to suppress the conscience is not only quite an effort, it is also very fragile. This helps explain the anger and hostility of many in the world toward the Church. Deep down they know we are right and often, just the slightest appeal to the conscience to awaken its voice, causes quite an eruption of fear and anger.

So here is the first stage in the anatomy of a sin: the suppression of the conscience. In order to act wickedly and not face deep psychological pain of significant guilt these men in the story first  suppress their conscience in order to shut off the source of that pain. Step one is underway.

2. They would not allow their eyes to look to heaven– In order to sustain the fictions, stinking thinking, rationalizations, and sophistry that are necessary to suppress the conscience, it is necessary for one to distance himself  from the very source of conscience, God himself.

One way to do this is to drift away from God though neglect of prayer, worship, study of the Word of God and association with the Church which speaks for God. Drifting away may become more severe as times goes on and the refusal to repent becomes deeper. Drifting soon becomes absence and absence often becomes outright hostility to anything religious or biblical.

Another way that some avert their eyes from heaven is to redefine God. The revealed God of Scripture is replaced by a designer God who does not care about this thing or that. “God doesn’t care if I go to church, or shack up with my girlfriend etc.” On being shown scripture quite contrary to their distorted notions of God they simply respond that Paul had hangups, or that the Bible was written in primitive times.

Culturally the refusal to look heavenward is manifest in the increasing hostility to the Catholic Christian faith. Demands growing increasingly strident that anything even remotely connected to the faith be removed from the public square. Prayer in public, nativity sets, Church Bells, any reference to Jesus or Scripture in schools, etc. It must all be removed according to the radical seculars who refuse to turn their eyes heavenward or even have anything around that reminds them to do so.

The cumulative effect is that many are no longer looking to heaven or to God. Having suppressed their conscience they now demand a Godless public square. Still others reinvent a fake God, a false kingdom, an idol. Either way, the purpose is to isolate and insulate the self   from God and what he reveals.

This makes it easier to maintain the rather exhausting effort of suppressing the conscience.

So for these men in the story, step two in engaged and it further supports the suppression of conscience necessary to commit sin without the pain of guilt.

3. And did not keep in mind just judgment– Finally lets throw in a little presumption which dismisses any consequences for evil acts. This of course is one of  THE sins of our current age. There are countless people, even many Catholics in the pew and clergy too who seem outright to deny that they will ever have to answer to God for what they have done. But of course this is completely contrary to Scripture that insists that we will indeed answer one day to God for what we have done.

This final stage of presumption is meant to eliminate the salutary fear that should accompany evil acts. The sinner at this stage has had some success in alleviating the psychic pain of guilt and even a lot of the fear that used to accompany sin when the voice of conscience was less layered over and muted.

But, even after suppressing the conscience and refusing heaven’s influence,  still some fear remains so now an attack is made on any notion of consequences. Perhaps the sinner exaggerates the mercy and patience of God to the exclusion of God’s holiness which sin cannot endure. Perhaps he denies the reality of hell which God clearly teaches. Perhaps he denies that God exists at all and holds that there is no judgment to be faced. However he does it, he must push back the fear the punishment and/or judgment.

Here then is the anatomy of sin. Having suppressed the conscience, the voice of God to the extent possible and having removed oneself from heaven’s influence, and then denying that anything of negative consequence will come, one is freer to sin gravely. It is as though one has taken a number of stiff drinks and anesthetized himself sufficiently to proceed without pain.

But guess what, it’s still there deep down inside. The voice of conscience remains. Under all the layers of stinking thinking and attempts to insulate oneself from the true God, deep down the sinner still knows what he is doing is wrong. Even the slightest thing to prick his conscience causes increasing unease. Anger, projection, name-calling, ridiculing of anyone or anything awaken his conscience will increasing be resorted to. Sin is in full bloom now and repentance seems increasingly difficult or unlikely. Only great prayers and fasting by others for him will likely spring him loose from the deep moral sleep he is currently in. Pray for the conversion of sinners.

via The Anatomy of a Sin as set forth in a lesser known Biblical passage. « Archdiocese of Washington.

via The Anatomy of a Sin as set forth in a lesser known Biblical passage. « Archdiocese of Washington.

. They suppressed their consciences-  What is the conscience? The Catechism defines it thus: For Man has in his heart a law inscribed by God, This is his conscience, there he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths… (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) # 1776). So, in effect, the conscience is the voice of God within us. God has written his Law in the hearts of every human person.

Thus, in terms of basic right and wrong, we know what we are doing. There may be certain higher matters of the Law that the conscience must be taught (eg. the following of certain rituals or feasts days etc.). But in terms of fundamental moral norms, we have a basic and innate grasp of what is right and wrong. Deep down inside we know what we are doing. We see and salute virtues like bravery, self-control, and generosity. We also know that things like murder of the innocent, promiscuity, theft, destruction of reputations etc are wrong.For all the excuses we like to make, deep down inside we know what we are doing, and we know that we know.   I have written substantially about conscience elsewhere (HERE).

But notice that it says that they “suppressed their consciences.” Even though we know something is wrong we often want to do it anyway. One of the first things our wily minds will do is to try and suppress our conscience. To suppress something is to put it down by force, to inhibit or to try and exclude something from awareness or consciousness.

The usual way of doing this is through rationalizations and sophistry. We invent any number of thoughts, lies and distortions to try and reassure our self that something is really OK, something that deep down inside we know isn’t OK.

We also accumulate false teachers and teachings to assist in this suppression of the truth that our conscience witnesses to. St. Paul wrote to Timothy: For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Tim 4:1-3).

It is quite an effort to suppress one’s own conscience and I would argue that we cannot ever do it completely. In fact the whole attempt to suppress the conscience is not only quite an effort, it is also very fragile. This helps explain the anger and hostility of many in the world toward the Church. Deep down they know we are right and often, just the slightest appeal to the conscience to awaken its voice, causes quite an eruption of fear and anger.

So here is the first stage in the anatomy of a sin: the suppression of the conscience. In order to act wickedly and not face deep psychological pain of significant guilt these men in the story first  suppress their conscience in order to shut off the source of that pain. Step one is underway.

2. They would not allow their eyes to look to heaven– In order to sustain the fictions, stinking thinking, rationalizations, and sophistry that are necessary to suppress the conscience, it is necessary for one to distance himself  from the very source of conscience, God himself.

One way to do this is to drift away from God though neglect of prayer, worship, study of the Word of God and association with the Church which speaks for God. Drifting away may become more severe as times goes on and the refusal to repent becomes deeper. Drifting soon becomes absence and absence often becomes outright hostility to anything religious or biblical.

Another way that some avert their eyes from heaven is to redefine God. The revealed God of Scripture is replaced by a designer God who does not care about this thing or that. “God doesn’t care if I go to church, or shack up with my girlfriend etc.” On being shown scripture quite contrary to their distorted notions of God they simply respond that Paul had hangups, or that the Bible was written in primitive times.

Culturally the refusal to look heavenward is manifest in the increasing hostility to the Catholic Christian faith. Demands growing increasingly strident that anything even remotely connected to the faith be removed from the public square. Prayer in public, nativity sets, Church Bells, any reference to Jesus or Scripture in schools, etc. It must all be removed according to the radical seculars who refuse to turn their eyes heavenward or even have anything around that reminds them to do so.

The cumulative effect is that many are no longer looking to heaven or to God. Having suppressed their conscience they now demand a Godless public square. Still others reinvent a fake God, a false kingdom, an idol. Either way, the purpose is to isolate and insulate the self   from God and what he reveals.

This makes it easier to maintain the rather exhausting effort of suppressing the conscience.

So for these men in the story, step two in engaged and it further supports the suppression of conscience necessary to commit sin without the pain of guilt.

3. And did not keep in mind just judgment– Finally lets throw in a little presumption which dismisses any consequences for evil acts. This of course is one of  THE sins of our current age. There are countless people, even many Catholics in the pew and clergy too who seem outright to deny that they will ever have to answer to God for what they have done. But of course this is completely contrary to Scripture that insists that we will indeed answer one day to God for what we have done.

This final stage of presumption is meant to eliminate the salutary fear that should accompany evil acts. The sinner at this stage has had some success in alleviating the psychic pain of guilt and even a lot of the fear that used to accompany sin when the voice of conscience was less layered over and muted.

But, even after suppressing the conscience and refusing heaven’s influence,  still some fear remains so now an attack is made on any notion of consequences. Perhaps the sinner exaggerates the mercy and patience of God to the exclusion of God’s holiness which sin cannot endure. Perhaps he denies the reality of hell which God clearly teaches. Perhaps he denies that God exists at all and holds that there is no judgment to be faced. However he does it, he must push back the fear the punishment and/or judgment.

Here then is the anatomy of sin. Having suppressed the conscience, the voice of God to the extent possible and having removed oneself from heaven’s influence, and then denying that anything of negative consequence will come, one is freer to sin gravely. It is as though one has taken a number of stiff drinks and anesthetized himself sufficiently to proceed without pain.

But guess what, it’s still there deep down inside. The voice of conscience remains. Under all the layers of stinking thinking and attempts to insulate oneself from the true God, deep down the sinner still knows what he is doing is wrong. Even the slightest thing to prick his conscience causes increasing unease. Anger, projection, name-calling, ridiculing of anyone or anything awaken his conscience will increasing be resorted to. Sin is in full bloom now and repentance seems increasingly difficult or unlikely. Only great prayers and fasting by others for him will likely spring him loose from the deep moral sleep he is currently in. Pray for the conversion of sinners.

via The Anatomy of a Sin as set forth in a lesser known Biblical passage. « Archdiocese of Washington.

As I Am, Lord–MP3-Fr. Raymond

Because I am obnoxious, forgive me Lord.
Because I am dishonest, forgive me Lord.
Because I am egotistical, forgive me Lord.
Because I am undisciplined, forgive me Lord.
Because I am weak, forgive me Lord.
Because I am impure, forgive me Lord.
Because I am arrogant, forgive me Lord.
Because I am self-centered, forgive me Lord,
Because I am pompous, forgive me Lord.
Because I am insincere, forgive me Lord.
Because I am unchaste, forgive me Lord.
Because I am grasping, forgive me Lord.
Because I am judgmental, forgive me Lord.
Because I am impatient, forgive me Lord.
Because I am shallow, forgive me Lord.
Because I am inconsistent, forgive me Lord.
Because I am unfaithful, forgive me Lord.
Because I am immoral, forgive me Lord.
Because I am ungrateful, forgive me Lord.
Because I am disobedient, forgive me Lord.
Because I am selfish, forgive me Lord.
Because I am lukewarm, forgive me Lord.
Because I am slothful, forgive me Lord.
Because I am unloving, forgive me Lord.
Because I am uncommitted, forgive me Lord.
Because I am sinful, forgive me Lord.

Because I am loved by You, thank you Lord!

By Father Raymond A. Pavlick, Paterson, N.J.

As I Am. Lord MP3 recording by Richard Garnaut.

Stays in Vegas? Really

Interesting thought:

“What happens in Vegas – is recorded in Heaven”

A Prayer for Tough Times

H/T Catholic Prayers

O Lord, hear my cry pouring out from a troubled heart. The sorrow which clutches at my soul has driven me to You my protector, my True Friend in time of need. You know, my God, all my failings, my faults and my sins as well as the torment gripping my soul. My greatest sorrow should be for my disregard of Your holy commandments in the past, and I sincerely hope that you will grant me the grace of true contrition. O my Savior, hide not Your Face from me in this tribulation, let the light of Your Countenance shine upon me that I may be illuminated by Its love. If it be Your will, lighten this burden from me, yet should it be a means of my salvation, help me, help me O Lord, to carry this cross, for alone I can do nothing. Radiate Your love upon Your prodigal child O Lord, this beggar who knocks at Your door seeking shelter in Your Sacred Heart; this once proud earthen vessel made of clay seeks You, O Christ, and in a newly found faith, firmly believes that you will receive him in Your limitless Love and Mercy. Amen

This prayer’s tone is suggestive of that found in several of the famousPenitential Psalms, in which the psalmists readily admit their sins to God, sometimes in heart-wrenching detail, while calling on, and trusting in, His mercy.

Sunday Snippets – A Catholic Carnival

RAnn of  This That and the Other Thing  hosts  Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival. Click to find out how to submit your favorite posts of the past week.

Please think about joining us or simply read what other Catholics are thinking and saying.

I’ve been gathering strength (goofing off) for the year ahead; so here’s all I have:

Counting Stars

Fallen and Forgiven 

I Watched a Friend at Prayer

I watched a friend at prayer.
From the moment her eyes
Met Yours on the Cross,
She was enraptured.

What is it that passes between like souls?
The gulf between You, God,
And Your creature is unfathomable,
Yet, Your love spans the distance and dissimilarity
With the intimacy of a mother
Suckling her infant,
All giving, all gift and all grace.

I watched my friend at prayer.
The world about her changed.
A holy space surrounded her,
As angels hurried to and fro,
Now bowing, now prostrate, now adoring.

All prayer unites,
As earth receives its Savior-God,
As Man exercises dominion,
Freed from Sin and chains.

Angels in swift flight,
Aloft on mission-wings ,
Now ascending,
Now descending.

Peace on earth
To men of good will,
As Time and Eternity kiss,
Love knowing no distance.

I watched my friend at prayer,
As her prayer became my prayer,
You drawing all to Yourself.
Draw me now,
And all will in turn
Run after the odor of  Your ointments.

Prayer in a Time of Darkness

H/T : The Foundation of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary

Prayer to Save America

During these critical times in U.S. history as well as in salvation history,  pray, pray, pray!

O merciful God, we cry to Thee for pardon and for mercy.
We are an unbelieving and perverse generation.
We are disobedient, disloyal and ungrateful to Thee.
We have excluded Thee from our homes, our schools, our places of business.
We are no longer worthy to be called Thy children.
Merciful Father, spare America!
Forgive us!
Save us from the scourge we deserve.
Teach us Thy law, and move our wills to serve Thee today and everyday.
Merciful God, please spare America!
O Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Pray for us!

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.

No Empty Dream

Lamenting, I quit my case.
Sorrowing, my complaints lie with me
In dust and ashes.
The plaintiff  has become defendant.

I rest the case I brought against You.
What have I proven?
That I never knew You?
That I never sought You?

Counterfeits sufficed to fill my belly.
There was always another dream on the horizon.
Tomorrows pretended to satisfy my emptiness.
The chase was the gambit that became the game.

Before You showed me mercy,
You showed me Me
Not the Me of mirrors, but the Me of my heart,
That shrunken pigmy of diminishing proportion.

Among Men, there is no forgiveness like Yours.
If judged by Men, I would be meted punishment
By the self-righteously righteous,
While the unrighteous, would applaud my vice and welcome me at the hearth,
No forgiveness necessary, where sin is no sin.

As gift, the clarity of Day, dawned suddenly,
You appeared with Light as Your garment,
In Your Light I was all Darkness,
Pretense dissipated as Your Sun rose.

The world appeared not as a prize but as a wonder.
Nature didn’t dictate; it served.
The heart of mothers where turned back to their children.
And You reigned as King.

I would have fainted away,
Had not the Good Thief stood by Your side.
He smiled my way,
Eyes twinkling at the memory of his meeting You upon Your Cross.
Assurances asked, assurances given.
Simple eternal words.

Coming full circle, I rest upon Your arm,
You lift up my head and incline to comfort me.
Mercy smiles on my repentant heart,
And plans for me a future full of hope.

You Who laid the foundation of  the Earth,
Plot a course for me through the Wilderness of the world.
My pilgrimage from sin to saint
Leads through Two Hearts bound by a Mystery uniting Heaven and Earth.

Birthed anew in Baptism,
Restored again in Reconciliation,
Your grace acts on me, Your grace acts in me.
All grace that waited upon my willing.

My will is now that of a child.
I follow at Your side, learning Your ways.
Your Words are my food and my fullness.
Heaven is no longer an empty dream, but a Promise.
From You lips on the Cross, piercing my heart.

“Father forgive them.
They know not what they do.”

Copyright Joann Nelander © 2011   All rights reserved.

Draw Close to God

Draw close to God.
Remove competing wills.
In humility,
Take your repose.
Pride conquers all,
Til dying on Christ’s Cross.

Boundless Heart,
Encompassing Universes,
In all dimensions,
You are outside of Time,
Yet close to me.
Eclipse all matter,
Minds, and might,
To draw me nigh to Thee.

Amen.

Copyright Joann Nelander ©2011   All rights reserved.

Poetry Potluck – Week 26

Check out Jingle Poetry for Week #26 of Poetry Potluck, and without much ado, here’s what becomes of indulgence:

The Fall

Chains ethereal bind my soul
Confusion clouds the pathways of my reason
Who could have guessed the menace
It was over in a moment with hasty but firm decision.
Subtle flirtation turned a dance of dalliance.
Trojan welcomed without caution.
Grace dismissed with contemporary flair.

Reality now comes in many colors
Shades of gray,
A balancing act to fit the season.
Nothing’s black or white,
Anymore.

Who could have known the cost?
Who would have called it betrayal?
Yet, I had chosen.
I ignored the Voice,
All appetite,
And caressing desire.

Somehow I knew
There would be a price to pay,
But how it would feel,
And what it would be,
Floated in some mist,
Too easily brushed aside
With the feeling of shackles,
Weary old taboos;
So, Adam devoured the apple.

Handle it, I could and would,
Just later…
Now, was for me.
Later, for regret.
A logical scheme.
It worked for me!

The deed
And the darkness descended,
One following the other.
Night fell like a mantle on my shoulders.
Where the joy?
Where promised pleasure?
Where my once bright countenance.

I lifted myself to myself,
Sad at the pillage
Visited upon my soul,
I am alone,
Alone, but for my thoughts,
Thoughts, that, too, accuse you.

The world feels different today,
A bit more cloaked,
As with a secret,
But, I assure myself,
All’s well, the same.

Waking in another Kingdom
I pull the curtain back:
Without, a sky stripped of it’s stars,
Within, only black,
No sun of clarity
No heart of love.

I can no longer trust
That dawn and morning light
Will follow in sure order.
Yet, somehow, I fear they might.
It must be me who changed?

I lingered in this abyss,
Fearing the permanence of my loss.
No stigmatizing letter branded,
For the absence of shame,
But my wax had melted,
and molecules rearranged,
Hardening, misshapen.

Drinking in the Truth,
I could not swallow
The gall of repentance.
Pride, like a master craftsmen,
Fashioned my demise,
Tightening his chain about my heart.

My life, my life,
It’s my life!
I raged at unseen angels.
‘Til falling back upon myself,
I licked my wounds.
I donned a mask of merriment.

Then, one foot after the other,
I dressed for the world.
No one, I assured,
No one would notice
My fall from grace.

Copyright © 2011 Joann Nelander    All rights reserved.

More poetry and enjoyment visit Poetry Potluck at Jingle Poetry.

Set the World Aright

The world, in turmoil, convulses.
Peoples flee.
Those who know You,
Run to You.
Those, who are rushing
To the pit in despair,
Flee from You,
As from Leviathan.

Show forth Your Truth and Beauty.
Stop sinners in their flight.
Smile, as the Sun from heaven,
That all men may truly see,
And all men know You, O Truth.

You are a scourge
To the proud,
But to the man,
Who clearly sees himself,
For what he is, and faints.
Then, coming to his senses,
Lies prostrate in repentance;
To that man, You are Hope
And help, and healing.

Your Mercy covers a multitude of sin.
Your blood, sprinkled on us,
Cries out “Sanctuary!”
O Altar, O Victim, O Priest.

Christ Jesus,
You know my heart,
And yet embrace it.
Your priestly garment
Covers my nakedness.
Your Kingly Mantle identifies me,
As Child of the Great King.
My name is written on Your Thigh.
Like a mother,
You brought me forth at Your Knees,
To claim me eternally.

The waters well up,
I am washed,
And carried in the current,
To ride the waves of Your Mercy
And come to rest on Your shore
For all eternity.

Celebrate the Mass
Of our Redemption,
Once for all,
And for all time.
The thunder is silent.
The quaking ceases.
The clouds of darkness part.
The Sun of Justice rises,
And the course of the world
Obeys the Will of Your Father.

O Christ, O Holy One,
Guide the course
Of this wayward planet.
Set the earth aright,
And welcome its people
Into Your Heart.

Copyright © 2011 Joann Nelander All rights reserved.

The Fall

Chains ethereal bind my soul
Confusion clouds the pathways of my reason
Who could have guessed the menace
It was over in a moment with hasty but firm decision.
Subtle flirtation turned a dance of dalliance.
Trojan welcomed without caution.
Grace dismissed with contemporary flair.

Reality now comes in many colors
Shades of gray,
A balancing act to fit the season.
Nothing’s black or white,
Anymore.

Who could have known the cost?
Who would have called it betrayal?
Yet, I had chosen.
I ignored the Voice,
All appetite,
And caressing desire.

Somehow I knew
There would be a price to pay
But how it would feel,
And what it would be,
Floated in some mist,
Too easily brushed  aside
With the feeling of shackles,
Weary old taboos;
So, Adam devoured the apple.

Handle it, I could and would,
Just later…
Now, was for me.
Later, for regret.
A logical scheme.
It worked for me!

The deed
And the darkness descended,
One following the other.
Night fell like a mantle on my shoulders.
Where the joy?
Where promised pleasure?
Where my once bright countenance.

I lifted myself to myself,
Sad at the pillage
Visited upon my soul,
I am alone,
Alone, but for my thoughts,
Thoughts, that, too, accuse you.

The world feels different today,
A bit more cloaked,
As with a secret,
But, I assure myself,
All’s well, the same.

Waking in another Kingdom
I draw back the curtain:
Without, a sky stripped of it’s stars,
Within, only black,
No sun of clarity,
No heart of love.

I can no longer trust
That dawn and morning light
Will follow in sure order.
Yet, somehow, I fear they might.
It must be me who changed?

I lingered in this abyss,
Fearing the permanence of my loss.
No stigmatizing letter branded,
For the absence of shame,
But my wax had melted,
and molecules rearranged,
Hardening, misshapen.

Drinking in the Truth,
I could not swallow
The galll of repentance.
Pride, like a master craftsmen,
Fashioned my demise
Tightening his chain about my heart.

My life, my life,
It’s my life!
I raged at unseen angels.
‘Til falling back upon myself,
I licked my wounds.
I donned a mask of merriment.

Then, one foot after the other,
I dressed for the world.
No one, I assured,
No one would notice
My fall from grace.

Copyright   Joann Nelander

Healing Your Family Tree

Taken from http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Archa...

Image via Wikipedia

This is the Feast Day of the Archangels and a good day to pray for our families, petitioning the Archangels to aid us on this pilgrimage of life:

Prayer for Healing the Family Tree
by Rev. John H. Hampsch, CMF

Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child, in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I also ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders.

With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son, Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and to all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree.

I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the bloodlines in my family lineage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members’ guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment, and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits.

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever-deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

New Adam

I read these lines from the 33rd Day of Total Consecration to Jesus by St. Louis Marie de Montfort:

Our Blessed Lady is the true terrestrial paradise of the New Adam, and the ancient paradise was but a figure of her. In this earthly paradise we have riches, beauties, rarities and inexplicable sweetness, which Jesus Christ, the New Adam has left here; it was in this paradise that He took His complacence for nine months, worked His wonders and displayed His riches with the magnificence of a God. It is in this earthly paradise that there is the true tree of life, which has borne Jesus Christ, the Fruit of Life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which has given light unto the world. There are, in this divine place, trees planted by the hand of God, and watered by His Divine Unction, which have borne and daily bear fruit of divine taste. It is only the Holy Ghost, Who can make us know the hidden truth of these figures of material things. The Holy Ghost, by the mouth of the Fathers, also styles the Blessed Virgin the Eastern Gate, by which the High-Priest, Jesus Christ, enters the world, and leaves it. By it, He came the first time, He will come the second, by it.

They inspired these thoughts, though I haven’t even touched on Mary yet:

Where on this Earth has Jesus passed that flowers failed to bloom?
What on Earth has Jesus passed that succumbed to Adam’s doom?
When on this sad Earth did Jesus pass and desert’s dust remain?
Only if our fallen wills prevail, can Jesus come in vain.

When Jesus passed did flowers bloom and birds begin to sing?
When Jesus passed did children run to jump into his arms?
When Jesus passed did fallen men find strength to rise again?
When Jesus passed and left this world, once worst for Adam’s Sin,
Did Gates fling wide at Sin’s stemmed tide and Paradise begin again?

Why I Remain Catholic

Today, On Good Friday, Here’s Why I Remain Catholic

Though the ill aspects of the Catholic Church have recently been highlighted in the news, commentator Elizabeth Scalia says the good aspects have never gotten enough attention.

Published: April 02, 2010
by Elizabeth Scalia

Elizabeth Scalia is a contributing writer to First Things Magazine as the blogger known as The Anchoress.

The question has come my way several times in the past week: “How do you maintain your faith in light of news stories that bring light to the dark places that exist within your church?”

When have darkness and light been anything but co-existent? How do we recognize either without the other?

I remain within, and love, the Catholic Church because it is a church that has lived and wrestled within the mystery of the shadow lands ever since an innocent man was arrested, sentenced and crucified, while the keeper of “the keys” denied him, and his first priests ran away. Through 2,000 imperfect — sometimes glorious, sometimes heinous — years, the church has contemplated and manifested the truth that dark and light, innocence and guilt, justice and injustice all share a kinship, one that waves back and forth like wind-stirred wheat in a field, churning toward something — as yet — unknowable.

The darkness within my church is real, and it has too often gone unaddressed. The light within my church is also real, and has too often gone unappreciated. A small minority has sinned, gravely, against too many. Another minority has assisted or saved the lives of millions.

But then, my country is the most generous and compassionate nation on Earth; it is also the only country that has ever deployed nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

My government is founded upon a singular appreciation of personal liberty; some of those founders owned slaves.

My family was known for its neighborliness and its work ethic; its patriarch was a serial child molester.

Read the complete essay here.

Surprise – Sin Abounds!

It should be no surprise; Sin abounds! The human race is awash with, riddles with, mired in and drowning under, Sin.  It is our natural state of being without a Savior. From the day we are born, leaving Eden, so to speak, we become the star of our universe, maybe, more like a Black Hole.  We can’t help trying to draw all things to ourselves. With myiads of rationalizations and excuses to suit our ages and pretensions, the event horizon is approached and we are doomed.  Sin in its rational disguises is irrational and drives us like a madman.  It is the Dark, clouding out the true Sun.

The real surprise in life is that where sin abounds grace abounds all the more!  It can be stated that God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. Romans 5:20.

Our Savior comes still today to save us.  Being “churched” does not perfect us; God does, in His own time.  If we open our hearts in repentance, Jesus gives us His forgiveness and cancels the debt against us.  Perfect comes later, sometimes, much later.

The euphemistic blessing, “May you live in interesting times.” is said to be the least severe of three curses, the others being:

“May you come to the attention of those in authority.”
“May you find what you are looking for.”

Fortunately, for us, the Living, we live in glorious times.  Sin abounds and we are saved!  God for His part has done the work, we need but claim the Victory.  The offer is always at hand in nail-pierced hands. Grace abounds all the more!  Alleluia!

Must Read:  Why I Remain A Catholic

by Elizabeth Scalia The Anchoress

When We Were Dead In Sin

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

By one death and resurrection the world was saved

When mankind was estranged from him by disobedience, God our Saviour made a plan for raising us from our fall and restoring us to friendship with himself. According to this plan Christ came in the flesh, he showed us the gospel way of life, he suffered, died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead. He did this so that we could be saved by imitation of him, and recover our original status as sons of God by adoption. Continue reading

Tears For the Feet of Jesus

Drop, drop, slow tears, and bathe those beauteous feet,
which brought from heaven the news and Prince of Peace.

Cease not, wet eyes, his mercies to entreat;
to cry for vengeance sin doth never cease.

In your deep floods drown all my faults and fears;
nor let his eye see sin, but through my tears.

Words: Phineas Fletcher (1582-1650)

Gardening and the Soul – 101

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=garden+path&iid=5220023″ src=”9/6/3/a/Rear_View_of_ae85.jpg?adImageId=10905785&imageId=5220023″ width=”380″ height=”301″ /]

Lent means that spring is just around the corner.  Looking at my garden, it was obvious that it was in need of some serious tender loving care. All I had the energy for was to uproot a few of the hundreds of weeds, but I did begin. Immediately, a thought interrupted my picking. “Many souls are dead and don’t even know it.” Surprised by the seriousness of the pronouncement, I turned to the Lord,  “Why is that, Lord?”

“Look at the weeds you’re uprooting; they look healthy and well, don’t they? Yet, you know they’re counterfeits; you root them up.  Many people no longer know what’s good for them.  They opened their soil to the world and allowed the world to decide what grew in them;  no questions asked!

Empty places invite weeds.  Weeds take the place of authentic, productive life.  Soon they choke out the good by sheer  numbers and their greedy appetites.  Weeds look pretty good for a while.  It isn’t until you miss the flowers and the fruit,  that you notice something has gone awry.  In life, people are like gardens. Some are dying but still look good.  Sin like weeds is deceptive.  People are kept busy and entertained by counterfeit life.  Yet they are loosing ground to the world.  They are losing the reward of their time and effort.  Their work and play have no eternal end,  just transitory vigor and flash. It’s really death wrapped in greenery.

This morning I weeded my entire garden. I also went to confession.

Our Lady of Fatima for Today

On May 13, 1917, the Blessed Vrgin Mary, who we now honor as Our Lady of Fatima, our Lady of the Rosary, appeared for the first time to the three seers, Francisco, Jacinta & Lucia at the Cova Da Iria, Fatima, Portugal. She asked that the Rosary be said to obtain peace for the world and to end the war.

The world still needs the peace that Our Lady promises in answer to this powerful prayer. If war was the punishment for unrepented sin in 1917, what do we risk today by abortion ,euthanasia, and unchaste lives? Mercy is still God’s choice if we would but choose Him and begin to live a lifestyle of holiness. He is still sending His own Mother to help us and form us for her Son.