You Looked Down

You looked down
From Your Cross
To behold faithfulness.
There stood Your Mother.

You beheld her look of grief,
Her suffering Your pain.
You wed it
To Your Own,
Presenting all
Before Our Father’s holy throne.

© 2013 Joann Nelander

Riding the Wind

He rides the Wind in power and right,
Born of Eternal Light.
All goodness follow in His train,
Like comet tails, falling stars,
That fire my night.

Here light upon my soul and nest,
As spirit bird, find place of rest,
Spreading feathered wing
As shelter, and friend,
To Godly bless.

Stirring, fan the embers of my love,
To blaze anew in fire from above
Transforming dust and dross,
To forge one who walks
Amongst the flame, O Holy Dove.

©2013 Joann Nelander

People of Praise

Your people praise you, O Lord.
As points of light,
Scattered about
The surface of the Earth.
Together with angelic choirs,
That dot the firmament,
Your children sing.

With fish, and bird,
With rivers and seas,
With mountains,
And heavenly heights,
Creation sings in chorus,
Affirmation,
Acclamation,
And affection,
In sanctifying hosannas,
That fall as bountiful rain,
To water man and beast
With fruitful exaltation,
Multipling our delight,
As we magnify our God.

We are your mothers,
Fathers, sisters,
Brothers, friends
Of Your fold,
Returning praise,
And worship due
The Most High Lord
Of all creation.
In Your Light we
Become Your Light.

© 2012 Joann Nelander

A Willing Heart

The least of Your children, O Lord,,
Can bring forth fruit one hundred fold.
Such is the mystery of grace and love
Planted in a willing heart.

By Joann Nelander

Perfected Through the Cross

I would like to offer You the perfect,
But all I have is me.
So, here I am,
Sorrowful, in all my misery.

In hope I approach You,
Through the gaping wound in Your Side,
Through which flowed Your Mercy,
Your Final Word.

Wash me, Son of God,
In that endless river,
Your Life poured out
Throughout Time.

I stand, I kneel,
Then prostrate
At Your Cross,
I wait to receive You.

You are taken down,
And placed in Mary’s arms,
It is in her arms,
I find You.

There with You,
I am held fast,
Giving and receiving,
The Love You have won for Me.

By Joann Nelander

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

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