Living Now

I live because You died,
Not in guilt,
But in the freedom of Love.

Choices are arrayed before me,
Multiplied by the days of my Life.
With the breaking
Of each New Day,
I rise forever
To choose You,

With the breaking
Of the Bread,
With the Lifting Up,
With the Cross before my eyes
I am a witness
Of the Resurrected One.

You Christ upon the altar,
You, Christ, living anew
In me,
Walk the Earth again
Leaving now my footsteps.

©2012 Joann Nelander

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Moments of Grace

Prepare me , O Lord,
During those moments of awe,
Even if hampered
By sleep or confusion,
Presumption, even ignorance,
As we’re Peter,John, and James
On the mountain
Of Your Transfiguration.

Prepare me for the work
With which You grace me,
In the valley of the world.

Let me remember
Of the mountain experience,
Your Love and Your Glory.
Water the seed of my baptismal faith
With the fresh water
From Your pieced side.

Be as the dew fall
On the grass of my awakening.
Honor the tears of Mother Mary,
As she looked on You,
In the Hour of Your glorification
On the Cross,
To weep with you for me.
Awe struck, I live to praise You.

Copyright 2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

One Last Prayer

If I should die today,
What have I to say?
Perhaps just one last prayer.

Grant that my heart
Should leap and quicken,
Catching sight of You
Coming from afar.

With Your Father,
You have wooed, and waited,
Sent Your Spirit
Into my dry bones,
Raising me from dust
Once again
And, now, forevermore.

Here I am, my Hallowed three.
The Bridegroom cometh;
Come for me.

(c) 2012 Joann Nelander

Bryan Lewis ‘I Think My Dogs A Democrat’

Jesus, the Desert,Temptation – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

<blockquote>First of all, the desert, where Jesus withdrew to, is the place of silence, of poverty, where man is deprived of material support and is placed in front of the fundamental questions of life, where he is pushed to towards the essentials in life and for this very reason it becomes easier for him to find God. But the desert is also a place of death, because where there is no water there is no life, and it is a place of solitude where man feels temptation more intensely. Jesus goes into the desert, and there is tempted to leave the path indicated by God the Father to follow other easier and worldly paths (cf. Lk 4:1-13). So he takes on our temptations and carries our misery, to conquer evil and open up the path to God, the path of conversion.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>In reflecting on the temptations Jesus is subjected to in the desert we are invited, each one of us, to respond to one fundamental question: what is truly important in our lives? In the first temptation the devil offers to change a stone into bread to sate Jesus’ hunger. Jesus replies that the man also lives by bread but not by bread alone: ​​without a response to the hunger for truth, hunger for God, man can not be saved (cf. vv. 3-4). In the second, the devil offers Jesus the path of power: he leads him up on high and gives him dominion over the world, but this is not the path of God: Jesus clearly understands that it is not earthly power that saves the world, but the power of the Cross, humility, love (cf. vv. 5-8). In the third, the devil suggests Jesus throw himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple of Jerusalem and be saved by God through his angels, that is, to do something sensational to test God, but the answer is that God is not an object on which to impose our conditions: He is the Lord of all (cf. vv. 9-12). What is the core of the three temptations that Jesus is subjected to? It is the proposal to exploit God, to use Him for his own interests, for his own glory and success. So, in essence, to put himself in the place of God, removing Him from his own existence and making him seem superfluous. Everyone should then ask: what is the role God in my life? Is He the Lord or am I?</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>Overcoming the temptation to place God in submission to oneself and one’s own interests or to put Him in a corner and converting oneself to the proper order of priorities, giving God the first place, is a journey that every Christian must undergo. “Conversion”, an invitation that we will hear many times in Lent, means following Jesus in so that his Gospel is a real life guide, it means allowing God transform us, no longer thinking that we are the only protagonists of our existence, recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, His love, and that only by “losing” our life in Him can we truly have it. This means making our choices in the light of the Word of God. Today we can no longer be Christians as a simple consequence of the fact that we live in a society that has Christian roots: even those born to a Christian family and formed in the faith must, each and every day, renew the choice to be a Christian, to give God first place, before the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, before the criticism of many of our contemporaries.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>The tests which modern society subjects Christians to, in fact, are many, and affect the personal and social life. It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, practice mercy in everyday life, leave space for prayer and inner silence, it is not easy to publicly oppose choices that many take for granted, such as abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to prevent hereditary diseases. The temptation to set aside one’s faith is always present and conversion becomes a response to God which must be confirmed several times throughout one’s life.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>The major conversions like that of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, or St. Augustine, are an example and stimulus, but also in our time when the sense of the sacred is eclipsed, God’s grace is at work and works wonders in life of many people. The Lord never gets tired of knocking at the door of man in social and cultural contexts that seem engulfed by secularization, as was the case for the Russian Orthodox Pavel Florensky. After acompletely agnostic education, to the point he felt an outright hostility towards religious teachings taught in school, the scientist Florensky came to exclaim: “No, you can not live without God”, and to change his life completely, so much so he became a monk.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>I also think the figure of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch woman of Jewish origin who died in Auschwitz. Initially far from God, she found Him looking deep inside herself and wrote: “There is a well very deep inside of me. And God is in that well. Sometimes I can reach Him, more often He is covered by stone and sand: then God is buried. We must dig Him up again “(Diary, 97). In her scattered and restless life, she finds God in the middle of the great tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah. This young fragile and dissatisfied woman, transfigured by faith, becomes a woman full of love and inner peace, able to say: “I live in constant intimacy with God.”</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>The ability to oppose the ideological blandishments of her time to choose the search for truth and open herself up to the discovery of faith is evidenced by another woman of our time, the American Dorothy Day. In her autobiography, she confesses openly to having given in to the temptation that everything could be solved with politics, adhering to the Marxist proposal: “I wanted to be with the protesters, go to jail, write, influence others and leave my dreams to the world. How much ambition and how much searching for myself in all this!”. The journey towards faith in such a secularized environment was particularly difficult, but Grace acts nonetheless, as she points out: “It is certain that I felt the need to go to church more often, to kneel, to bow my head in prayer. A blind instinct, one might say, because I was not conscious of praying. But I went, I slipped into the atmosphere of prayer … “. God guided her to a conscious adherence to the Church, in a lifetime spent dedicated to the underprivileged.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>In our time there are no few conversions understood as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, moved away from the faith for years and then rediscovered Christ and his Gospel. In the Book of Revelation we read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”(3, 20). Our inner person must prepare to be visited by God, and for this reason we should allow ourselves be invaded by illusions, by appearances, by material things.</blockquote>
<blockquote></blockquote>
<blockquote>From Ash Wednesday General Audience 2-13-2013</blockquote>

Bl. Charles de Foucauld & Peace in the Middle East

Bl. Charles de Foucauld – a saint for our times troubled and violent times. 

"My God, if you exist, make your existence known to me,"  Bl. Charles de Foucauld

On Charles de Foucauld

                        by Joann Nelander

Never having seen the stars of glory,
‘Til encountering them in You.
A mansion of grace without walls
Sheltered him in desert wastes.
The good in his heart was God.

He was a monstrance
His life was Gospel
Preached by a beating heart,
On fire to win man for God.

He lived preparing to die.
He expected martyrdom,
And lived in happy anticipation.
Desert priest and brother of all,
Pray for us,
Who still don’t see the stars.

©2011 Joann Nelander

On Earth As It Is in Heaven

I love analogies when they immediately shed a ray of light in my struggle for understanding. In the Our Father, Jesus teaches us to ask for His Father’s "Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." I got stumped trying to understand how His Father’s Will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven is possible while we are on this earth as we still suffer the effects of the Fall. Even with the gift of the sacraments, we are prone to sin again, and again, despite our honest resolve to turn away from sin and to sin no more.

Believing this request to be infinitely more than a simply desirable and beautiful rhetorical phrase, I asked Jesus, how can this be, when sin once committed can’t be undone, even by God. While great theological answers are beyond me, I was happily satisfied, when an image of my favorite handbag popped into mind.

Bits and pieces of old, worn, discarded remnants of seemingly useless cloth make-up my bag. The new creation is to me beautiful. Looking on it now with an internal gaze, I grasped a bit more of the wonder of Salvation and the Church’s cry, "O Happy Fault".IMG_8068

Sinners, despite their irrevocable falls, being infinitely loved by God, receive His answer to their prayer in Jesus. Their need draws God to themselves. The dilemma of Sin and our frailty, which is the contradiction to the Father’s Will for the perfection of Heaven He desires for the Earth, is solved by the coming of God, Himself. God comes! He comes, draws us to Himself, and in this, Heaven reigns on Earth with the Father’s Will. The answer is in the works, and we are the work. We, the bits and pieces, find a heavenly place in the Son.

Darkly Here

Though I perceive myself without You,
I could not reach for You, as I do,
But for You.
Therefore You are with me,
In my waiting,
In my hoping,
In my believing.

Never alone in my great wanting,
Satisfied in my enduring,
Tomorrow felt in my longing,
Smiling with every tear.

I am of high and holy cheer,
Certain You are near,
Believing You are darkly here.

©2016 Joann Nelander.

Calm My Heart – PJ Anderson

Listening and Silent

It seems…
I am always talking to You,
That I am always with You,
And have no doubt
You are with me,
Listening and silent.

I am an endless monologue.
You, hovering Spirit,
Wordlessly eloquent
Abide.
You are Presence and Truth,
Listening and silent,
Thunderously silent,
Save for the stirring of my heart,
And the sometime rush of thought,
Coming, as it were,
From the bowels of my being
With frightening conviction,
And challenging my reticence
To speak aloud
The thoughts of solitude.

Reluctant always
To go about,
And leave the cloister of my heart,
Where in Your chambers I find,
And hold dear,
Private audience with the King,

The world without is a noisy charade,
And woos the pride of me take center stage.
Where suddenly I realize
I have been talking much, too much,
To my regret.

I, naggingly, suspect
I have diminished
What was my treasure
And ceased to learn.
Cacophany of me,
I cease to learn,
And simply rearrange,
That with which I am familiar.

Where do prophet, poet and a would be recluse
Find voice if not in You,
Rejecting even audience
To find You in my silence,
Your silence?

©2012 Joann Nelander
All rights reserved

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