Misery

A Nation cries,
In want of Thee.
Time hurries,
All the while consuming,
That which our hands have built.

Our plenty devoured
In furnaces of desire.
"More, give us more,
The engines roar. "

You wait,
That we might recognize
Your reign.
Your sun rises on each new day.
You are patient.
Wait, wait, wait….

Obedience is not our way.
We turn only blind eyes
And misprize chastisement’s scourge.
We know only
The gates of Hell demand,
Demand our sacrifice,
Human sacrifice.
We do not deny them.

No place too sacred to invade.
Give the gods their due,
For they pay our way.
After all, we are only clay,
Living to be merry
One more day.

You, O Holy One,
Speak of Love and Eternity.
Our bellies cry out "Now"
"Who needs Your Throne!"
Give us bread without God Alone.
Our way,
Just one more day.

©2012 Joann Nelander All rights reserved

Pray-as-you-go Mini-retreat–Acts of the Apostles

Pray-as-you-go Mini-retreat–Acts of the Apostles

The Why and the What of Sanctifying Grace

The Why and the What of Sanctifying Grace

This is a very helpful excerpt from Frank J. Sheed’s book, Theology for Beginnings:

"Putting it bluntly, the life of heaven requires powers which by nature we do not possess. If we are to live it, we must be given new powers. To make a rough comparison: if we wanted to live on another planet, we should need new breathing powers, which by nature our lungs have not got. To live the life of heaven, we need new knowing and lovinig powers, which by nature our souls have not got.

For heaven our natural life is not sufficient; we need supernatural life. We have it only by God’s free gift, which is why we call it grace (the word is related to gratis). Sanctifying grace will be our next topic. Everything the Church does is connected with it, and can be understood but cloudily if we do not grasp what it is.

SANCTIFYING GRACE

When we come to die there is only one question that matters—have we sanctifying grace in our souls? If we have, then to heaven we shall go. There may be certain matters to be cleared, or cleansed, on the way, but to heaven we shall go, for we have the power to live there. If we have not, then to heaven we cannot go; not because we lack the price of admission, but because quite simply our soul lacks the powers that living in heaven calls for. It is not a question of getting past the gate, but of living once we are there; there would be no advantage in finding a kindly gate-keeper, willing to let us in anyhow! The powers of intellect and will that go with our natural life are not sufficient: heaven calls for powers of knowing and loving higher than our nature of itself has. We need super-natural life, and we must get it here upon earth. To die lacking it means eternal failure.

We must look at grace more closely if we are to live our lives intelligently. Two things about it must be grasped.

First: It is supernatural, it is wholly above our nature, there is not even the tiniest seed of it in our nature capable of growing, there is nothing we can do to give it to ourselves. We can have it only as God gives it, and He is entirely free in the giving. That, as we have seen, is why it is called grace; and because its object is to unite us with God, it is called sanctifying grace.

Second: Even the word supernatural does not convey how great a thing it is. It is not simply above our nature, or any created nature. It enables us to do—at our own finite level, but really—something which only God Himself can do by nature: it enables us to see God direct. That is why it is called “a created share in the life of God.” That is why those who have it are called “sons of God”: a son is like in nature to his father; by this gift we have a totally new likeness to Our Father in heaven.

Giving us this new life, God does not give us a new soul with new faculties. He inserts it, sets it functioning, in the soul we already have. By it our intellect, which exists to know truth, is given the power to know in a new way; our will, which exists to love goodness, is given the power to love in a new way.

We get the supernatural life here on earth. Not until we reach heaven will it enable us to see God face to face and love Him in the direct contact of the will. But even on earth its elevating work has begun; it gives the intellect a new power of taking hold of truth—by faith; it gives the will new powers of reaching out to goodness—by hope and by charity.

Faith, then, does not mean simply feeling that we believe more than we used to; hope does not mean simply feeling optimistic about our chances of salvation; charity does not mean simply feeling pleased with God. All three may have their effect on our feelings; but they are not feelings; they are wholly real.

The supernatural life in our souls is a new fact, as real as the natural life we have to start with. The powers it gives are facts too; they enable us to do things which without them we could not do: they are as real as eyesight, and considerably more important. Without eyesight, we could not see the material world. But without sanctifying grace we should not be able to see God direct, which is the very essence of living in heaven.

Not only that: here below we should not be sharers of the divine life, sons of God, capable already of taking hold of God by faith and hope and charity, capable of meriting increase of life. This increase of life must be realized; one can be more alive or less, and our life in heaven will differ according to the intensity of faith and hope and charity in our souls when we come to die.

We shall go on to consider these three virtues in detail. Meanwhile concentrate upon one truth: grace is not just a way of saying that a soul is in God’s favor; it is a real life, with its own proper powers, living in the soul; and he who has it is a new man. A soul with sanctifying grace in it is indwelt by God." (Frank J. Sheed.)

Mary’s Holy Healing Maternity

Mary, Mother,
Grace-filled vessel,
Poised throughout your life
To receive God’s word.

Always listening,
By obedience wooing,
From your holy infancy,
Caressing to your heart
The holy Word of God.

You conceived in your heart
Our God eternal,
Before He entered
Your virginal womb.

Grace upon grace
Your beauty unfolded,
In blossom so rare,
Upon this Earth.

Season upon season,
You moved in silence hidden,
In prayer secure.

O Mary Mother,
With kiss so sweet,
lavish upon me
Thy Holy Maternity.

I entrust to your sublimity
My formation within my mother’s womb.
Make happy that dear chamber,
In which my life and love
Were bequeathed and body grown.

"Behold your Mother,"
He said from His Cross.
Now, do I behold you,
And take you to my heart.

Speak here the words
You whispered in Christ’s ear
As He laid his little head
Upon your breast.

Jesus received from you
Milk and kindness
With gentle regard.
Caress now my humanity.

Make me ever your home,
As I welcome you to my soul,
Make me your hearth,
With fires burning bright.

Purify my moments
And sanctify my soul.
By virtue,
Virtue of your wedded Spouse,
Petition the Holy Spirit of Your  Son.

Send angels,  as you once did stewards,
To wait upon the words of your Son.
Miracles followed
On your behest at Cana.

I wait now and ever in your arms,
Embraced as the Christ Child.
Look upon me, dear Mother
And heal my wounded yet happy heart.

By Joann Nelander

Mary’s Holy Healing Maternity

Mary, Mother,
grace-filled vessel,
poised throughout your life
to receive God’s word.

Always listening,
by obedience wooing,
caressing to your heart
the holy word of God
from your holy infancy.

You conceived in your heart
our God eternal,
before He entered
your virginal and immaculate Womb.

Grace upon grace
Your beauty unfolded
in blossom so rare
upon this Earth.

Season upon season,
you moved in silence hidden,
in prayer secure.

O Mary Mother,
with kiss so sweet,
lavish upon me
Thy Holy Maternity.

I entrust to your sublimity
my formation within my mother’s womb.
Make happy that dear chamber,
in which my life and love
were bequeathed and body grown.

"Behold your Mother,"
He said from His Cross.
Now, do I behold you,
and take you to my heart.

Speak here the words
you whispered in Christ’s ear
as He laid his little head
upon your breast.

Jesus received from you
milk and kindness
with gentle regard.
Caress now my humanity.

Make me ever your home,
as I welcome you to my soul,
Make me your hearth,
with fires burning bright.

Purify my moments
and sanctify my soul.
By virtue, virtue of your wedded Spouse,
petition the Holy Spirit of Your  Son.

Send angels,  as you once did stewards,
to wait upon the words of your Son.
Miracles followed
on your behest at Cana.

I wait now and ever in your arms,
embraced as the Christ Child.
Look upon me, dear Mother
and heal my wounded yet happy heart.

By 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

To Your Silence

Here I am Lord
I have brought the world and my day with me
What a motley crew arrayed before You
But not in vain.

We come with a clatter
My noise, our noise,
To the Silence.
The deafening roar
To the hallowed stillness.

Whisper in the chamber of our meeting
Where we tent with You,
Hope for the dying,
Faith to the listening,
Love to the willing.

Sweet Cause

The world of men is full of accusers,
Innocent as doves in their own eyes.
Only the sinner finds a place at Your table,
Garbed, no longer in rotting rags,
But in wedding dress and festive best.

The lowly come
And are welcomed.
Choosing a place at Your feet
You invite "Come up higher".
At Your breast the disciple rests.

Hearts make merry,
While the wine of wisdom
Turns sorrow into joy,
Allowing the cross no less,
Sweet cause of happiness.

©2013 Joann Nelander

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God Can Make It from Nothing

God can make it from nothing.
No Time, no Space, no place!
With a Word, Time,Space, place
All suns are born in His Light.

Beauty of the One Supreme Being,
Arrayed in all that is,
Himself, ethereal, everywhere and near,
Is, itself.

Living, thinking, Eternal Being,
Unseen, untouchable,
Existing forever and always,
Limitless, within and without.

Ocean of omnipotence,
Alive in Your Living,
Living in minuscule, and mighty,
Nothing without you.

Existence,
Beyond all that is.
Worlds exists without me,
But not without You.

I am called,
As You called Creation into being.
The sticks and stones of creation,
Obey Your every whim and command.

Man, alone, can say "NO".
Place "YES" in my heart,
That I may not thwart,
But with creation play my part.

All that is,
Is of Thee,
Infinite in all Your Perfections.
My Loving Mystery.

God, You can make it from nothing,
Make of me a Son,
A light after the long Night,
Knowing in loving eternal delight.

© 2016 Joann Nelander

Purity of Heart

There is only one heart so pure,
As to remain demure,
One life lived in blessed union
With Your Own.
One so holy
As to share Your throne.

Solomon, in His wisdom
A type of Christ,
Rose from his kingly chair
To seat his mother
By his side,
Thereby made clear
Her stature in his sight,
Made queenly and motherly ruling
Her right.

Queen Mother, most pure and holy,
By the Father ‘s will made New Eve
To the New Adam, His Son,
You, Spouse of God,
Of flesh and blood,
Share in the rule
Of David’s Promised House.

When courted by the Holy Spirit,
Your "Fiat",
Made you One,
To bring forth
Holy Son.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

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