Where True Beauty Lies

Forsaking the Land of Shadows, yet again,
And prostrate before You,
I enter with my candle,
Wick, barely alive,
Smoldering,
Awaiting the gentle breeze,
That will kindle my flame
To blaze forth, anew.

Praise rises in my soul,
As a lifetime of thanks given,
Recall to memory
The reason for my trust.

Can Faith be called blind,
When a thousand thousand yesterdays
Form the foundation of our friendship?

Now, I look upon You,
Upon the Altar of Adoration.
Beauty captures my attention.
The monstrance, a delight to my eye,
All aglow,
As it catches the early rays of morning.
Golden shafts stream from its center,
Whispering "Glory."

The pedestal,
Ornate with pomegranates, grapes and lilies,
Celebrate the gift of Your Creation.
Yet, You, in Your splendid Humility,
Reside in true beauty, Unadorned, and at rest,
Your work accomplished,
Awaiting only my disfigurement.

What will You with me?
Transfigure in longed for alchemy of Spirit.

By heartfelt confession and remorse,
At Your Word,
Spoken in Persona Christi,
I wash my robes clean
In the Blood of the Lamb.
You do not horde Your beauty,
But send it forth,
To renew all creation,
And, forgetting not the least,
Remember me.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander

Eyes of My Soul

O eyes of my soul,
Eyes of my spirit,
Eyes of my heart,
See!

See the glory revealed
In all creation.
See the Son
Hidden in the least
To the greatest.

Recognize the Christ,
Lord of all.
Lord over the earth
Lord over the sea
Lord raised above the heavens.

Enthrone Him, King,
King of your soul,
King of your spirit,
King of your heart.

As light illuminates,
See that you are a new creation.
See Christ, in this moment,
As in the breaking of the Bread.

Copyright 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

What or Who is the Holy Spirit?

These days you often hear a person claim to be “spiritual” rather than proclaim a religion or aspire to be “religious”.  Religion it seems smacks of something suspect. “Spirit” and the “spiritual” are the stuff of spiritual devotees or wannabees. So what is this “spirit” that makes one “spiritual”,  but not, God forbid, “religious”?

Is it raw, ethereal, but available energy to be plucked from the life-stream by a mantra or posture. How about a super-force, an impersonal force, as “the Force” of movie fame. We can ask what is asked of Superman, “Is it a bird? .. .;  we’ll stop short of asking “is it a plane?’, perhaps, just, maybe, of another plane, It’s hard to tell.  With New Age jargon, eastern religious explanations in pop culture and  literature, making claims for apprehending it for our use, health, wealth and happiness or the simple purity of bliss, the matter of the immaterial is evasive.

For the undiscerning Christian, the airways are ripe with confusion, which is the way the spirits of the air like it. Religious truth be told, truth holds the answer for the discerning, if we, indeed, are seeking Truth, rather than novelty and the exotic.

The answer to what or who,is “Who” is the Holy Spirit. “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (John 14: 26), operative words: “Advocate”  and “He”, a mission and a person, not a thing, a vibration, a feeling, or impersonal force. Where Satan and his minions confuse and accuse, the Holy Spirit advocates on behalf of those who call on the Father and the Son.  “The Spirit intercedes” (Romans 8:27). He also directs, as in: “Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me..’ (Acts 13:2), also,  “And the Spirit said to Philip, Go up..” (Acts 8: 29).

Just as we seek to know ourselves, through experience, introspection, observing as objectively as possible, our inner workings,conversations, intentions, and desires, so the Spirit knows the Father and the Son, their inner workings and intentions and desires, “Among human beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.(I Cor 2:11)

As for the gifts, health, provision and happiness or the simple the purity of the peace that passes understanding: “.. one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes” 1Cor 12:11

So, while the world, the flesh, and the devil, may appeal to a “what” or a “something”, and be lost in a soup of foggy warm fuzzies and cold prickly vibs, you can seek the Paraclete, the Advocate, intervener, director, gifter and producer of good fruit growing on the vine of the One Who identifies Himself as Truth and sends the Spirit.

As for spiritual, that you already art, in part.  You are a synthesis of matter and spirit, a natural Human Being called to be more, invited to be supernatural, to be incorporated with the Divine. These days are no different than the days of old, Man seeking his God, or a handy substitute.  Choose wisely; your eternity begins with Who you choose to serve in this life and, ultimately, the next.

©2015 Joann Nelander

podcast

Discernment of Spirits – Setting the Captives Free – Fr. Timothy Gallagher

1 Jn 3:24–4:6

Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Eyes of My Soul

O eyes of my soul,
Eyes of my spirit,
Eyes of my heart,
See!

See the glory revealed
In all creation.
See the Son
Hidden in the least
To the greatest.

Recognize the Christ,
Lord of all.
Lord over the earth
Lord over the sea
Lord raised above the heavens.

Enthrone Him, King,
King of your soul,
King of your spirit,
King of your heart.

As light illuminates,
See that you are a new creation.
See, in this moment,
As in the breaking of the Bread.

Copyright 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

A Generous Spirit

In these acts of giving do not fear a lack of means. A generous spirit is itself great wealth. There can be no shortage of material for generosity where it is Christ who feeds and Christ who is fed. In all this activity there is present the hand of him who multiplies the bread by breaking it, and increasing it by giving it away. (Saint Leo the Great, pope)

Complete Fullness in Christ

From a homily by a spiritual writer of the fourth century
May you be filled to the complete fullness of Christ

Those who have been considered worthy to go forth as the sons of God and to be born again of the Holy Spirit from on high, and who hold within them the Christ who renews them and fills them with light, are directed by the Spirit in varied and different ways and in their spiritual repose they are led invisibly in their hearts by grace.

At times, they are like men who mourn and lament over their fellow men, and pouring forth prayers for the whole human race, they plunge into tears and lamentation, on fire with spiritual love for mankind.

At other times they are enkindled by the Spirit with love and exultation that, were it possible, they would clasp in their embrace all mankind, without discrimination, good and bad alike.

Sometimes they are cast down below all mankind in lowliness of spirit, so that they reckon theirs to be the lowest and most abject of conditions.

And sometimes they are held by the Spirit in ineffable joy.

At one time they are like a brave man who puts on the king’s full armor and goes down into battle; he fights bravely against the enemy and defeats them. In like manner, the spiritual man takes up the heavenly arms of the Spirit and marches against the enemy and engaging in battle tramples the foe beneath his feet.

At another time the soul is at rest in deepest silence, tranquility and peace, existing in sheer spiritual pleasure and in ineffable repose and a perfect state.

Again, the soul is instructed by grace in a certain understanding in the ineffable wisdom and the inscrutable knowledge of the Spirit on matters which neither tongue nor lips can utter.

Then again, the soul becomes like any ordinary man.

In such varied ways does grace work within them and many are the means by which it leads the soul, renewing it according to God’s will and training it in different ways so that it may be set before the heavenly Father pure and whole and blameless.

We, too, therefore must make our prayer to God and entreat in love and in great hope that he may bestow upon us the heavenly grace of the gift of the Spirit. We pray that we, too, may be guided by that Spirit and that he may lead us into the fullness of divine will and refresh us with the varied kinds of his repose, that by the help of this guidance, exercise of grace and spiritual advancement, we may be considered worthy to attain to the perfection of the fullness of Christ, as the Apostle says: that you may be filled to the complete fullness of Christ.

Healing in the Heart of Jesus

Praying for my loved ones and remembering friends of youth and later life, I began to see how feelings of love welled up within me.  God’s love drew me close to Himself and bade me come away with Him.  I feared to leave off praying for friend after friend as they came to mind that I leave someone untouched by His Mercy and Grace.  Then He came closer still, and filled me now with peace and knowledge.  His Spirit whispered to my heart, “Fear not!”  He gave me to understand that all these, that I recalled and cherished, all these, I held in my heart and rediscovered with each rising memory, all these were enclosed within my very being, held fast by my love.  As His arms embraced me in my prayer to draw me closer, the prayer of my heart for all of these sounded in His ears.  For love of me, wretched sinner though I be, He enfolded Luke17_16_LeperWhoThankedHimall within His bosom, loving purely and eternally the image of His Son emblazoned upon my soul.  He drew all to Himself, knowing, gracing and blessing.  He knew them as I knew them of old and also as He finds them now, in the flesh or in the spirit.  His grace is fresh and waters the ground of their present.  He opens a loving wound in them that invites His love and healing.