Babe of All Perfection


O happy Babe.
Babe of All Perfection,
Your little heart, so full of love,
Your face radiant,
Reflected in Your mother’s gaze.
Your soul, ablaze!
Hearth of longing and compassion,
The Family of Nations comes to adore You

©2011 Joann Nelander

As the Father is Perfect

Be perfect, You say.
"Be perfect, as the Father is perfect."

"Perfection" is held before our eyes,
Hung in the heavens, like a star,
Like a luminous star,
As a star going before us,
Beckoning to us,
Inviting, "Come follow me."

In the dark of Your Mystery,
We make ready,
We journey forth,
Answering a call,
A call written on the heart,
Engraved, as by prophetic fathers,
Beyond imagining,
More certain than Death’s curtain,
Far, far, greater than the cost.

"Perfection" begins life as a babe,
Bound in swaddling,
A law conceived in the soul,
Bidding trust,
Coaxing obedience.
"Come, follow Me"

Journey through the Night.
When you have done all,
Spent all,
Lay down your dreams,
Your treasure,
For the rest lies with the Heavenly Host.

Touching the earth once more
In celestial wonderment,
With a loving caress,
And a word of command,
Fulfilled, as it is spoken,
"Be perfect, as the Father is perfect",
Angels whisper you home.


Copyright 2015 Joann Nelander

A Short Road to Perfection

September 27, 1856 John Henry Newman

{285} IT is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection—short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are sure ones.

I think this is an instruction which may be of great practical use to persons like ourselves. It is easy to have vague ideas what perfection is, which serve well enough to talk about, when we do not intend to aim at it; but as soon as a person really desires and sets about seeking it himself, he is dissatisfied with anything but what is tangible and clear, and constitutes some sort of direction towards the practice of it.

We must bear in mind what is meant by perfection. It does not mean any extraordinary service, anything out of the way, or especially heroic—not all have the opportunity of heroic acts, of sufferings—but it means what the word perfection ordinarily means. By perfect we mean that which has no flaw in it, that which is complete, that which is consistent, that which is sound—we mean the opposite to imperfect. As we know well what imperfection in {286} religious service means, we know by the contrast what is meant by perfection.

He, then, is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly, and we need not go beyond this to seek for perfection. You need not go out of the round of the day.

I insist on this because I think it will simplify our views, and fix our exertions on a definite aim. If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first—Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.

Cardinal Newman’s Prayer for Humility before God

“O my God, holiness befits Your house, and yet You make Your home in my heart.  My Lord, My Savior, to me You come hidden under the semblance of earthly things, yet in that very flesh and blood which You took from Mary, You, who first inhabited Mary’s breast, do now come to me. My God, You see me; I cannot see myself.  Were I ever so good a judge about myself, ever so unbiased and with ever so correct a rule of judging, still, from my very nature, I cannot look at myself and view myself truly and wholly.

But You , as You come to me, contemplate me.  When I say, “Lord, I am not worthy,” You, whom I am addressing, alone understand in their fullness the words which I use.  You see how unworthy so great a sinner is, to receive the One Holy God, whom the seraphim adore with trembling.  You see not only the stains and scars of past sins, but also the mutilations, the deep cavities, and the chronic disorders they have left in my soul.  You see the innumerable living sins, though they be not mortal, lining in their power and presence, their guilt and their penalties which clothe me; You see all my bad habits, my insensitive attitudes, my wayward, lawless thoughts, my multitude of infirmities and miseries; yet You come.  You see most perfectly how little I really feel what I am now saying, yet You come.  O my God, left to myself should I not perish under the awful splendor and the consuming fire of Your Majesty? Enable me to bear You, lest I have to say with Peter: ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ ”

Babe of All Perfection

O happy Babe!

Babe of All Perfection,

Your little heart, so full of love,

Your face radiant,

Reflected in Your mother’s gaze.

Your soul, ablaze!

Hearth of longing and compassion,

The Family of Nations comes to adore You

©2011 Joann Nelander

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