Truth’s Army, Truth’s Bride

Truth was never far away.
It stood erect,
And with resolve,
Waited for the moment
Of my will’s consent.

It was relentless,
Devoid of error,
Stalwart and persistent.

Truth was the beacon
On the high mountain.
It appealed to me
On the level of the good.

It drew me
As home beckons the lost.
I journeyed closer,
But as the light
Revealed my tatters
I drew back,
Trapped by my choices.

Truth is a wedding garment,
That clothes inwardly,
As well as out.
My espousals never produced
A marriage of Truth and the holy.
In its stead, I’d wed
What I wanted.
Now, I feared our distance,
And what I had become.

Desiring the right,
Even if I was wrong,
I gathered courage to my breast
And risked all in the quest.

I shed my rags
And found a covering of prayer,
A robe of humility,
And came to Love
In holy fear.

Now, I am
Full of resolve,
A stalwart knight
On Truth’s high mountain,
Carrying lighted torch
To the Dark Valley,
Into caverns of deception.

Standing tall before the Foe,
Truth girds my waist,
And undertakes to speak
Light in the darkness.

I am become an army
On the plain,
As Truth marches not alone.
It goes forth,
Drawing with it men of valor,
Choosing the death of Pride,
And living as Truth’s Bride.

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

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Spiritual Perfection by Diadochus of Photice

via divineoffice.org

From the treatise On Spiritual Perfection by Diadochus of Photice, bishop
The mind has a spiritual sense which teaches us to distinguish between good and evil
The light of true knowledge makes it possible to discern without error the difference between good and evil. Then the path of justice, which leads to the Sun of Justice, brings the mind into the limitless light of knowledge, since it never fails to seek the love of God with all confidence.
Therefore, we must maintain great stillness of mind, even in the midst of our struggles. We shall then be able to distinguish between the different types of thoughts that come to us: those that are good, those sent by God, we will treasure in our memory; those that are evil and inspired by the devil we will reject. A comparison with the sea may help us. A tranquil sea allows the fisherman to gaze right to its depths. No fish can hide there and escape his sight. The stormy sea, however, becomes murky when it is agitated by the winds. The very depths that it revealed in its placidness, the sea now hides. The skills of the fisherman are useless.
Only the Holy Spirit can purify the mind: unless the strong man enters and robs the thief, the booty will not be recovered. So by every means, but especially by peace of soul, we must try to provide the Holy Spirit with a resting place. Then we shall have the light of knowledge shining within us at all times, and it will show up for what they are all the dark and hateful temptations that come from demons, and not only will it show them up: exposure to this holy and glorious light will also greatly diminish their power.
This is why the Apostle says: Do not stifle the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of goodness: do not grieve him by your evil actions and thoughts, and so deprive yourself of the defense his light affords you. In his own being, which is eternal and life-giving, he is not stifled, but when he is grieved he turns away and leaves the mind in darkness, deprived of the light of knowledge.
The mind is capable of tasting and distinguishing accurately whatever is presented to it. Just as when our health is good we can tell the difference between good and bad food by our bodily sense of taste and reach for what is wholesome, so when our mind is strong and free from all anxiety, it is able to taste the riches of divine consolation and to preserve, through love, the memory of this taste. This teaches us what is best with absolute certainty. As Saint Paul says: My prayer is that your love may increase more and more in knowledge and insight, and so enable you to choose what is best.

Whispers in the Loggia: "Merry Christmas – Go To Confession": The Pope’s Tree-Lighting Message

"As 2014 begins to wrap up, one of the year’s indelible images bears recalling: the moment at the Lenten penance service in St Peter’s when the Pope stunned his MC – and everyone else – by going to Confession himself before heading to his own box to conduct the sacrament for others.

Indeed, it was an unprecedented public sight of a Roman pontiff. And as was said at the time, having made Reconciliation his most frequent and urgent cause among the sacraments over 21 months in office – not to mention doing so infinitely more than his recent predecessors – Francis’ affinity for the confessional stands as a principal proof that the reality of Jorge Bergoglio is far from the caricature accepted either by his champions or his castigators.

In the latest instance of the push, the Pope issued an appeal for penitents last night, while following in the footsteps of B16 at lighting the mega-tree of Gubbio – the evergreen-shaped display along a side of Mt Ingino that’s won the Perugian town the distinction of "world’s largest Christmas tree," even if it isn’t one per se.

As his predecessor did in 2011, Francis lit the tree via a tap on a tablet… and here, video of his pre-lighting remarks with English translation:

Buona sera! I wish you a holy and happy Christmas.

When we turn on the lights of the creche [sic – he said "Presepio" but meant "albero" (tree)], we want the light of Christ to be in us. A Christmas without light isn’t Christmas. So let there be light in our souls, in our hearts; let there be our forgiveness for others; and let there not be hatred, for this are darkness. Let there be the light of Jesus, which is so beautiful. This is my wish for all of you. Many thanks for your gift – it’s beautiful. And I give you my warmest tidings of peace and happiness.

If you have something dark on your soul, ask the Lord’s forgiveness. This is a beautiful chance Christmas gives us – to clean up our souls, eh! Don’t be afraid – the priest is merciful, he forgives everything in the name of God, because God forgives everything. May the light be in your hearts, in your families, in your cities. And now, with this wish, let’s turn on the lights.

May almighty God bless you, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Merry Christmas and pray for me!

via Whispers in the Loggia: "Merry Christmas – Go To Confession": The Pope’s Tree-Lighting Message.

Light to My Light

Round and round,
Oft’ repeated action,
Oft’ repeated sin,
I go,
Blinded by the storm within,
To folly’s fortune,
And wayward whim.

Hunger and thirst
Assail in just desert,
Assail with a vengeance.
Who will pay the piper?
Who will ransom the captive heart,
Break my fetters,
And smash my chains?

Crying into the night
Black my heart ache
Black my guilt.
Still my tears betray my hope,
As for Love I grope,
Calling, because primal urge
Causes me to shout into the Darkness.

I am the smoldering candle,
That will not go out.
That will not curse the darkness.
You are fan to my flame,
And breath in my nostrils,
You are the oil that fuels my lamp
To show the way out of darkness,
Light to my light.

© 2013 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Truth’s Army, Truth’s Bride

Truth was never far away.
It stood erect,
And with resolve,
Waited for the moment
Of my will’s consent.

It was relentless,
Devoid of error,
Stalwart and persistent.

Truth was the beacon
On the high mountain.
It appealed to me
On the level of the good.

It drew me
As home beckons the lost.
I journeyed closer,
But as the light
Revealed my tatters
I drew back,
Trapped by my choices.

Truth is a wedding garment,
That clothes inwardly,
As well as out.
My espousals never produced
A marriage of Truth and the holy.
In its stead, I’d wed
What I wanted.
Now, I feared our distance,
And what I had become.

Desiring the right,
Even if I was wrong,
I gathered courage to my breast
And risked all in the quest.

I shed my rags
And found a covering of prayer,
A robe of humility,
And came to Love
In holy fear.

Now, I am
Full of resolve,
A stalwart knight
On Truth’s high mountain,
Carrying lighted torch
To the Dark Valley,
Into caverns of deception.

Standing tall before the Foe,
Truth girds my waist,
And undertakes to speak
Light in the darkness.

I am become an army
On the plain,
As Truth marches not alone.
It goes forth,
Drawing with it men of valor,
Choosing the death of Pride,
And living as Truth’s Bride.

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

Free to Love

I choose to love You, Lord.
My free will is Your gift.
I can decide Your Way too narrow,
And banish You
From my mind, my home, my life,
And the world about me.

I am free to celebrate gods,
I fashion as my own,
To revel in idolatry,
To exult with the mocking crowds
Making fun and sport of You,
You, Who are “so out of touch.”

You have fallen from fashion.
Your Cross, an embarrassment.
This world demands signs,
And leeks, and onions,
And grande cappacinos.

No, You will not stop me.
Without Your grace,
I can not stop myself.
I seem at times to prefer
The company of men,
All who purport to know.

Truth, though, gives witness
To a milieu
Of blatant braggadocio
With holes,
Through which their errors flow
To seed a field with tares.
For a prideful people
Seeking a rose garden,
Yet only thistles grow.

I choose to love You, Lord.
Be Sun to my darkness,
Be my Light
That I might see.
Protect and command me,
That I might obey.
Love demands freedom.
Freely, I turn to Thee.

©2012 Joann Nelander

Be the Sun in Me

Be, O Lord, the Sun in me.
Despite, my clouds,
Masking Your Beauty,
Be seen as light invisible,
Going forth, in the Spirit,
To the world,
A world in need of Revelation.

Pierce the veil of my travail.
Linger long to suffer my malaise,
My unsettled wine.

By grace, bless me,
As you bless those
Blind to Your Presence in me.

Sacrament and penance,
My claim upon Your Heart.
Light, undiminished,
Under my bushel,
Burning bright within my core,
Make of me a lampstand,
In Your Father’s House.

Be, O, Lord,
The Sun in Me,
To a world in need of illumination.

Copyright Joann Nelander 2012
All rights reserved

Miracle of the Sun

 

Darkness had come upon the land,

A darkness so thick,

It could be felt.

 

You spoke and said to me,

I will awake the dawn.

Rising early, I raised my arms to heaven

And Your sun entered my soul.

 

 

A thousand candles,

Burn on the altar of my heart.

Piercing the darkness,

Are Your eyes of Love.

Cascading streams of Light,

Illuminating that cavern,

That was Sin.

 

Lord, help me

Return Your gaze.

I behold You, darkly,

New to the blinding Light.

 

Dancing Miracle of Sun

Accustom my open eyes to Your Spirit

To receive the sun and moonbeams

As You eclipse the Night.

 

© 2012  Joann Nelander

All rights reserved

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