The Poetry, Prayer & Prose of Joann Nelander


A King, A Victim, A Priest

A king,
A victim,
A priest,

A king accused,
A victim scourged,
A priest condemned,

A king crowned and robed,
A victim beaten and humiliated,
A priest on the altar of the Cross,

O Anointed One,
O Crucified One,
O Holy One,
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done.
Eternal Priesthood won.

A Prayer in Adoration

Here I am Lord,
Sitting, kneeling,
Prostrate in spirit
Before You, adoring.
Who You are in Your glory
Lies hidden under the appearance
Of this Holy Bread before me.

You have revealed to Your Church
The wonder, and magnificence
Of Your living Presence.
With Mother Church,
I extol Your beauty.
Truths come to mind
And I give assent.

I am married to You,
O Holy Bridegroom.
In the fullness of time,
I will embrace You
With a glorified vision and body,
But, for now, I reach with heart
And mind’s eye to catch a glimpse
Of this splendid Truth
Hidden ‘neath Bread and Wine
And broken Body on a Cross.

Favor me with an increase
Of love and desire,
Until my longing tears free
From all that holds me captive still.
I know my blindness
And have seen my foolishness.
In my poverty and need,
I seek refuge here
Before Your eyes.

Your Truth,
Your splendid Truth, be mine!
These are so glorious,
I can not comprehend them
In their reality, and breath.
I can only glimpse them
And cry out in faith and hope.

My adorable Lord,
Looking upon me now as always,
Gather to Yourself,
The groans and sighs in Spirit born,
Unto Your memories
As so many Communions
And Resurrections of spirit,
As chains of Love in Time,
But always
Only One Adorable Lord.

A Thousand Little Moments

I fail and I fall.
“Yes, Father, it’s me, again.”
My prayers and tears reach Your heart with plaintive sighs.

I reach for Love, as a baby grasps the finger,
Securing You to my heart,
Binding You by trifles.
A thousand little moments, like a knitter’s weave,
Trivial triumphs conquering like souls,
For made in Your image, I desire only You.

Of wooing, my begging be a part.
I turn, my God, to You, as a prayer with every care.
Prayer and tears, now, all one,
I nestle to Your breast and am all ear.

I listen as beat upon beat,
Love’s rhythm reassures me of the next,
And, of Your eternal constancy.
I listen, as for a whisper,
And fear not whisper
Every care, and fretful prayer.

I reach for You with every breath,
And sigh when You draw nigh.
You answer with a mother’s warmth,
Bending low, picking me up, and pressing me
To Your consoling bosom.

“What is it my child. Am I not here?
Haven’t I given you all?”
You kiss away my tears
And delight in the exchange.
I have given nothing but complaint,
Yet, You are full of smiles.

A thousand little caresses knit our day.
I cry and You comfort.
I beckon, and You bend in kind regard.
You draw me into that chamber,
In which I was formed,
That hallowed space,
In which my time began.

Heaven and rest contained
In one all holy Name.
Name me, my God,
And I will come into being,
Called forth from my darkness
Into Your marvelous Day.

All our moments measured by Your mercy,
I cry out for a heart made unto Your own,
That I may grow to give Your Love.
Love begetting love, for love alone.

Advent – Prayer in Waiting

Advent is upon my soul.
Divine gift of season,
I listen for the cry of a First Born Son,
Begotten before Time begun,
And enfleshed in the Virgin’s womb.

I come to her,
Who is the Ark,
Your Mercy Seat.
Kneeling beside her,
In these pregnant moments,
I lay my head upon her lap.

Her wonderment, and awe,
In steadfast contemplation,
Inspire angels’ songs.

I hear their reverent voices
In my night.
Their chorus bids me come.
Come to the stable of simplicity.

Leave the noisy city for a deserted place,
The Wilderness, whose hidden way
Leads to the waiting manger,
Now, in expectant readiness,
For the Food, that will feed
The hungry world.

My Advent prayer,
Come, O Holy Infant!
Come to my straw!

All You Have Given Me

I love You, Lord.
You embrace me
In our communion
Of Eucharist.

I believe in Your love
For the sinner.
I am that sinner.
You come to me.

I am empty and poor,
Yet, You make
My poverty Your paradise.
Here I bring to You
All You have given me.

Behold Your streaming waters
Tumbling over my rocky ground.
Your light penetrates my depths.
The caverns of my heart
Yield their darkness
To You, O Holy Sun!

Sit here beside me in silence,
As praise becomes
An uncontainable river within me.
Flow from my humble abode
To water Your thirsting world without.

Delight, O Lord,
At the crashing thunder,
As majestic waves rise before You,
In a crescendo of thanksgiving.
They pound down upon the shore
Of my unworthiness.
They ebb and flow
And gather strength,
As I remember Your Mercies.
All You have given me,
I give now with gratitude.

Eagles dance in the air
Above our heads,
Clasping claws holding fast,
Spinning in wedded bliss,
Their flight a symbol
Of our Holy Love.

Alpha and Omega

Lord be the alpha and omega
Of my moments this day.
Be the beginning and end
O my every thought, inclination and desire,
The motus primo primi
Of my life.

Anchor

Hope an anchor tossed
Plummeting to fathomless deep
Careless of the cost
Hope an anchor tossed
Implacable while storms accost
Faith, the ground, the keep
Hope an anchor tossed
Plummeting to fathomless deep

As an Orchid

My Lord Jesus,
As my eyes open
On a new day,
And sleep gives way,
I find You beside me.

As a lover,
You have watched me sleep.
My stirrings,
During the long night,
Were covered
As with a blanket.

Chasing dreams,
I did not notice You,
Lying there upon Your Cross,
Waiting to be lifted into place.

Your forbearance frightens me.
What will it demand,
When dreams abandon me,
And leave me to Your Love?

Will my “yes”
Cause You to be raised
And die for me
On yet another day?

What You have done,
You are doing,
And still will do.
Such is the fearful Love
You waste on me.

To Love, I am a flower
Like no other.
Like one orchid,
Blooming among millions of orchids
In dense worldly jungles,
Never to be beheld,
Yet ravishing in perfection.

You cherish me,
As Your image,
Which the Beauty,
Growing in me,
Though unseen,
Will one day reveal.

Yes!  A thousand times, yes!
I will be your Orchid this day.
All days!
You, upon Your Cross,
Me, in the world,
But not of it,
Mysteriously bound together.

Pick me!
Make of me a corsage,
One solitary bloom,
Graced beyond imaging.

Press me, then,
Onto Your Father’s Breast
To wear in proclamation
Of Your Life,
Spent upon a Cross,
Bringing me to Life.

As this day unfurls,
As a wave offering,
Remind me of the throne
I rest upon,
Worn as a treasure
Over our Father’s Heart.

Be Ready for the Infant King

Who will come to the stable
On Christmas Day?
And what will they take away?

Wise men, steadfast and earnest, came,
Instead of palace music,
They heard the donkey brae.
A lowly sound and sight,
Yet their wonder unallayed.

Many come rejoicing,
To behold the Newborn King,
Bowing low,
While angels sing.

Christ’s comes for all
But not all come.
Some come, behold, then fall away,
Being rootless, they merrily go their way.

Father God prepared a voice
To announce His Only Word,
A messenger, born before, to go before.
Another child, spared Ramah’s plight
To live and pierce Sin’s long night
John, O, John, still cries, “Repent!”

Prepare if you would follow.
At Jerusalem’s Gate,
Many cried, “Messiah,”
Who would soon cry, “Crucify.”

Whose will will you do,
When the music fades in life?
Pride prides itself on ‘my way,’
Confounds with will and strife.

Without a ready, willing heart,
Nothing changes Christmas Day.
Corrupt hearts go on corrupting,
All the while the kingly Infant cries,
As throughout His life,
“I am the Way.”

Whose heart will live in yours
As angelic songs fade away.
Will you simply leave the stable
To follow your own way?

Come, O come, rejoicing!
Praying for a change.
Receive the Babe within your Heart.
The humble He teaches His Way.

Becoming Flame

I offer You the straw of my life,
O Lord of my redemption.
Send Your angels, day by day,
To glean my field,
To fuel the fire of Your Love.

Did You not say,
“Learn from Me,
For I am meek,
And humble of heart?”
You do not need my riches.
You seek my poverty, my emptiness.

Your Fire penetrates my stubble.
I become like You,
All aglow As light and heat
Testify to Your Presence in the flame
That shoots to the heavens.

I am surrender and trust
In welcome transformation.
I am lost and yet eternal.
In You, straw by straw,
As kindling,
I am become the Flame.

By Your Presence

You, by Your Presence, O Lord,
Are Light to my darkness.
You are the kiss upon my brow,
The oil upon my head,
The arms of sweet embrace,
The banner over my heart.

You, All Love,
Bless this child of Your magnificent
And magnanimous Mercy.
Day by day.
I find You all about me.

Flowers and fields,
Spread before me
As a welcoming blanket.
Come rest awhile, You invite.
I come and I delight.

Choice

Given a choice,
Give me grace
That I might choose
Your holy Will.

Courts of Praise

Thank you, dear Lord, for my life long,
For beloved family and friends,
And all dear hearts touching mine.

My treasure trove of souls
Spills far beyond my time
To number as my own
Those who have gone before,
Your saints of ages past,
The cloud of witnesses on high
And pure angelic beings
In realms veiled from the eye.

There never was a day
In which I was alone,
Nor forgotten
Before Your throne.

There, at Your feet,
All heaven sweet anthems raise
To set celestial hearts ablaze
My heart with choruses
Swell my love,
Grown great in gratitude.

I make a small return of love
Beside Your All Love.
You count my debt as paid,
And bid me enter courts of praise.
Cry of One Forgiven

How can I thank You
For Your forgiveness,
For that moment,
In which You scattered
My accusers,
And took my part?

As I looked up
From the mud of my despair,
Your majestic countenance
Was all.
You loomed before me,
Brighter than the Sun.

Who could have imagined
Such grandeur?
You wore holiness like a crown
That more than circled Your brow.
Rather, it emanated,
As light from Your Being,
Announcing Who You are?

Only humility can receive You,
And dare Your gaze.
For Your Eyes
Pierce the soul,
Revealing all.

Only those crying for a Savior
Dare look up,
To confess with that glance
Their fault and nakedness,
Helpless and all pleading.

Only the thirsty
Can drink in the majesty
Of Your knowing.
For pride is the travesty,
That hides,
For fear of revelation.

That moment shattered my fear
And rent the clouds of all my life.
Taking proffered Hand,
I rise to my feet
Then, as now, again,

Light embraces me
As my rags fall to my feet.
In their place
Love has woven a mantle,
A robe of Being,
That more than clothes me.

It is a signal grace,
That names me,
With it, You announce
To all Creation
Who I Am in You.

My “Yes” reverberates
Through out the Universe.
I am new,
Like a star at its birth,
Bursting forth
With Your Holiness;
Baptized in Your Redemption.

How can I thank You
For Your forgiveness,
O You, Who took my part?
Go now,
In search of my accusers.

Cry of the Heart

Lord, do others speak to you in whole sentences.
My prayer is like me in my raw and bewildered state,
Mind and feelings at war within me,
Straining to understand, to comprehend myself,
And wondering what You desire,
Still in a quandary to know what to pray;
Indeed, how to prayer.

All I know is that You, O Lord, are.
Though I seem alone, You are with me,
Your Holy Name, my byword.
My prayer is Your Name,
Now echoing in the Father’s ear.
I do not call it back.
It shall resound through eternity,
and on its strains I hold fast.

I wait and I adore.
Let me rest here,
Safe in Your embrace.

Dancing With God

Early one morning in the Holy Land,
I gazed heavenward and smiled;
An image painted in cloud,
Floated in the sky.

“I had the best dream,”
My companion, shared;
“It was so real.”
“I was dancing with Jesus.”

God delights to confirm the visions,
He gives His friends.
The heavens always proclaim God,
But, especially, on this day.

“That must have been you,
Who I saw in the clouds!”
I wondered in awe.
“Jesus was turning you
Under His arm.”

(Remembering Doris)

Draw Close to God

Draw close to God.
Remove competing wills.
In humility,
Take your repose.
Pride conquers all,
Til dying on Christ’s Cross.

Boundless Heart,
Encompassing Universes,
In all dimensions,
You are outside of Time,
Yet close to me.
Eclipse all matter,
Minds, and might,
To draw me nigh to Thee.

Amen.

Entombed in Eucharistic Love

You, O Lord, inflame my heart.
Rush on me, O Lord!
Rush on me, O Holy Spirit,
As I devour You, O God,
Devour Me.

Descend into my depths.
Awaken my soul.
Resurrect my poor spirit.
Rise in my heart.
I am Your servant, Lord.

My members are now
Your members, Jesus.
My heart, Your heart,
My eyes, Your eyes,
My ears, Your ears.

Arise, O Lord! Inflame, O Lord!
On every cell imprint Your Name.
On every fiber, imprint Your Image.
My frame, Your temple,
My will, Your altar.

Yours, Yours, I am Yours.
Lay me down next to You,
Entombed in Eucharistic Love.
Now and forever, Yours.

Heart of my heart,
I love you,
Repaying Love with love,
Yet, wholly inadequate.
Living out of Your Being for supply.

Answering Your call,
The Spirit and the Bride, say “Come!”
I answer, “Come. Come, Lord Jesus,
Bridegroom of my soul!
Finally, eternally, come!

Come Eternal Flame!
Baptize me, O Holy Spirit;
Holy Fire of the Father’s Love.
Eternal Father, Trinity,
One Son, forever.  Eucharistic Sun.

Everything For You

It is hard to be alone, Lord.
I know You are by my side.
In my heart of hearts
I turn to You.
Be lord of this day.
Here is my hand in Yours;
Lead me!

All in Your Name,
Everything for You,
Everyone in my life,
I give to you
In their present need.
Many do not know
To call to You.
Trifles control them,
And they flit away
Their Eternity with You.

It may seem preposterous
That I should dare seek
For the whole world,
Forgiveness and conversion.
I am only one poor,
And wretched sinner,
Yet, Lord, see the army
That prays with me.
See the Blood and Water of Your Son
Pleading for the Redeemed.

Feed My Lambs

I am no one,
But see the army
Of saints and angels
Who implore Thee.

You say “Feed my lambs,
Feed my sheep,”
And I am tempted
To think, I have nothing,

But, Lord, are You
Not the Whole Loaf,
And are You not
Eternal and mine?

I will give
From my Ever Present Lord.
In my poverty,
You are my abundance.

What I can not see,
I know is on the way.
You are not far off.
You have come,
And You are coming soon.

Emmanuel!

Fire of God’s Love

Fire of God’s Love,
O steadfast Love,
Forge of me
Enduring Love,
As chains, whose links are born
In fire and flame.
Hammered by blows,
That in the end form
And deliver my frame.

Claim my metal
From the molten chaos
To shape and save me,
Never more misshapen,
Wanton, amorphous,
Hardness of heart.

Fishers of Men

O, Lord, what’s it all about,
This blogging?
Feeds, links, posts and pings,
So much to learn,
Much more to do.

A world within a world,
A web of letters, syllables, and words,
And people pinging people,
For seeing, or not seeing,
Things just as they do.

Why me? Why the Blogosphere?
It won’t make me famous.
It surely won’t make me money.
It won’t even make me friends.

Maybe the Lord is saying:
“Jump in, My friend!”
“That’s were the fish are swimming.”
Fishers of men must learn to use the Net.

Fleeting Prayers – Arrows to the Heart

Fleeting prayers
Known but to God
Recorded in His Heart.
Nothing wasted.

All in flower, bearing fruit,
Supplying for the need
Of His Church,
Throughout Time,

Nothing wasted,
Nothing forgotten,
All in flower,
All bearing fruit.

Fleeting prayers
Known but to God
Nothing forgotten
Recorded in His Heart.

Flower in the Sun

Make me as a flower in sun and rain.
May I, as by nature, turn to follow You
In Your course throughout my life.

Let Your holy, healing waters
Penetrate my being
As roots, planted securely,
In Your Providential soil
Drink of Your constant streams.

As it is Your nature to water and supply,
May I by Rebirth,
Unfurl my gowns
To Solomon’s delight.

Flowers and Drunken Bees

Flowers in the rain
Petals open to sustain
Life that is and is to be
Crouched in hidden expectancy.

Bees by colors in delight,
Arrested, nay, beguiled, alight.
To sip and gather on furry feet,
Nectar, and pollen of life so sweet.

Flower to flower
In drunken run
Dance the mystery
Now begun.

* “A hapless male bee, blind drunk with the flower’s overpowering pheromones, might well mistake a toadstool for a suitable mate” a tidbit from Wikipedia

For a Rainy Day

Swimming in raindrops
As they fall from the wet sky
Sun dancing in bright chambers

For Fear Apart

Why apart?
From the in-gathering,
All embracing Mother Church you flee,
To remain apart all the while,
Calling and yearning for your God.

You flee and I run after you,
Pursuing you at every turn, and twist, and fall.
I reach, and you pull your hand away.
Why not stay?
My Body yearns for you.
My members long to know you.

I wait upon your prayers,
With angels, ready to dispatch.
O, Pardoned Soul,
You seek your God in myriad ways,
I am here, wedded to My Bride,
Always at her side.
Promised never to depart.
You hold yourself apart.

You’ve built a chapel in your heart
For others that play God,
I call and draw you by Love
Within the chapel of your heart.
You sigh as I tug
At heart strings tight and taunt.
You resist Me for fear they’ll break.
I woo, I’m told to wait.
You say you are not ready
For Love’s music.

“Measure me Your Love,” you say.
“Give comfort, strength and sure supply,
But do not on my ‘Yes’ rely.”

Perhaps the Bride, the Church,
Who bears My Word forth
Unto all centuries,
Has words you n’er obey,
In dread fear of the “ought”
You can not bear.

You will your will be done on earth
And choose to judge all heaven.
You want only love’s first glance,
The sweet embrace, and kiss upon the cheek,
Nothing, too dear, nothing too deep.
It seems a bitter end,
To lose yourself in giving all,
O Measured One.

You know Love comes with a Cross,
A Cross, you fear to carry.
You choose to stay apart
And skirt the Cross.
Alas, the world without has crosses, too.
They may come disguised
In promised delight,
But soon you’ll drag that empty dream uphill.

How long one longs,
And labors longingly and all alone
Beneath the weight of vanities profane,  I do not say.
I only await a cry, a plea,
Glance of recognition.
When our eyes meet,
Then our hearts meet;
At long last you leap into the arms
Of One Who grasps you in your fall.

Be mine as Church joined to Husband.
At last the Lord of All
Can leap the walls you’ve built about yourself
To know you now within His Sacred Heart,
Bearing your cross in His,
Making all things new
And all your burdens light.

Count now as joy life without measure.
Fear not my Church.
She is My Spouse, My very Body;
I, the Head.
I woo and wait, now,
As Groom upon the altar.
You must give yourself away.

Found

My Lord, my Love,
Turning to you,
I meet Your gaze.
Your eyes never stray
From your child.

Since my conception,
That awesome moment,
You have kept
Careful watch over me.

Through fleeting years,
You have guarded me,
As the apple of Your eye.
Your angels await my prayers.
I part my lips,
Pronouncing Your Name,
And they are at alert.

“Thy Kingdom come”
A flurry of wings
Break the silence.
“Thy Will be done. “
The brightness of electrum
Pervades the air.

“Give us this day
Our daily bread.”
Shining beings glow white-hot,
Wings unfurl.

Soaring heavenward
To the throne of God,
Weightless spirits
Obtain my abundance,
In measure overflowing.

Depending on You,
For even my gratitude,
I rejoice,
For the Sun rises
Each day in my heart.

Searching for You,
I find Your trail,
There is food on the table
And horses in the stall,
My children, too, are clothed,
And I am adorned in virtue,
Protected by humility.
What have I,
You have not given me?

Though I spend myself in labor,
My vigor, I have not exhausted.
Though, I fall into bed at night,
I look back on a day,
Lived in Your Presence.

Now, I recognize Your disguise.
I find You in the dawn.
Announced by bird song.
Heralded in my children’s cries.
“Tie my shoes,”
I hear You say.

Hope sends out new shoots,
As I find my strength refreshed
By your calm streams.
My duty awaits me,
And I am Your steward.

Drawing from coffers
That may appear empty,
They are, none-the-less,
Full of opportunity,
As Your poor
Are always with us,
Depending on You,
And, You, on me.

You no longer hide.
You await me in the voiceless.
Your vessels of helplessness
Beckon me.
“Come!”

Your Cross surrounds me,
As I find myself
Nailed to the society of men.
The blood of Adam fills my veins,
But, so too,
The Blood of Christ.

As I expend myself
On family and neighbor,
You are fed and clothed
In your hunger and nakedness.
As I lift my voice in song,
The high heavens resound,
Echoing Your Name.

My Jesus, You, fill the Universe,
For need and the Promise of Plenty,
Are all about me,
And I am Church,
Throbbing with Your Blood,
Beating with Your Heart.
From A Saintly Friend

My Child,
Praise be, to Jesus Christ.
He is our Anchor.
He is the High Tower
He is the Lamp that shines in the dark.
He is the Light that dispels all darkness.
He it is that brings us to the safe harbor.

Rough seas, storms,
Thunder in the night,
And the tumult of the deep,
All serve our Great King.
Fear nothing that comes to you.
You have a champion in high heaven,
And ministering angels all about you.

See with the eyes of your soul.
Remember: “Greater is He,
That is in you,
Than he who is in the world.”

Rejoice that you are His,
And that you are weak and small.
The great can not see
Their need for a savior.
You know your need,
And you know your Savior.

From the Womb to Heaven

“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord
Praise and exalt him above all forever.”

If Your heavens can bless You,
Simply by being
What You created them to be,
As Your psalmist proclaimed
By Your Spirit,
How much more the living,
Though unborn children of men,
O, Son of Man, Human,
As they are human?

If the elements of Nature can bless You,
By coming forth at Your Word
Why not the children
Of empty, aborted wombs,
Who will not live to pronounce Your Name,
Yet shout Your Glory in their humanity.

The Waters of the deep,
Your subjects,
Obey by their being,
As the Star of Bethlehem
Obeyed in its course,
So Your snow-white lambs
Come to You in their dying
By the Sin of Man,
Sin, for which You died.

You died,
Pouring forth a River
That flows forever,
From the Temple of Your Holy Body.
Gushing forth, O Blood and Water,
Wash the Innocents
Who suffer the cold and chill of Man.

All wind blesses You, O Lord,
So may the Wind of Your Spirit
Rush to the side of these,
The weak and the powerless.
Trusting in Your Mercy,
Allow Baptismal Waters to flow,
From Your Holy Side,
In answer to the prayer
Of the People of God, Your Body.

We pray in the Spirit of Jesus,
Who’s pierced Heart
Released the Mercy of God.
Father, by Your sovereignty,
Permit our spiritual act
To the full extent of Your generosity.

We Implore the proxy
Of the Cloud of Witnesses
And Martyrs crying beneath Your Altar,
All who stand in silent witness
To the death of the Unborn,
Who will be aborted this day.

God willing,
Stand in and take up Christ’s Eternal Water,
More alive than all the waters of the Earth.
Pour it for me upon each child
Now in a womb soon to be emptied.

Pray with me, O Church, as the Water flows:
“I baptize you in the Name of the Father,
And of the Son,
And of the Holy Spirit.

Let us call the girls “Mary”
And the boys “Joseph.”
God will call them by a name
Known but to Him.

That these new citizens with the saints
And members of the household of God,
Produce sweet fruit,
For having held the hand
Of a human chain of life,
From the time of Adam,
To the End of Time.

Father, grant those of their lineage
Faith in the Living God,
That those who will never
Know them in this life,
May embrace them in Heaven,
In whose courts,
They shall praise this day.

Gifts and the Giver

Open every gift like a child.
It’s okay to squeal with delight.
Look into the eyes of the Giver
Long enough to see His Heart.

Remember to share.
Share your joy.
Share your sorrow.
Share God’s Joy.
Share God’s Sorrow.

When God aches
In the Poor and Suffering,
Give Him a hug.
Kiss away His Tears.
Share your blanket,

Give God great gifts.
Offer Him the air you breathe.
Offer Him the Sun and Moon.
Offer him the color of the sky.

Hold nothing back.
Let God see you cry.
Give Him your heart.
When it breaks,
Save all the pieces for Him

God treasures
The smallest “thank you.”
In moments of confusion,
He knows they’re hard to give,
So He saves them
To wear as His necklace.

Bring God flowers.
He doesn’t mind
A weed or two.
God likes grooming you.

Giving Gifts to God

Babe of Bethlehem,
Your Star still lights the way.
You are the loveliest flower,
Your Father’s good creation,
A wondrous bouquet.
Kings are approaching,
Bearing gifts,
While this New Day dawns.

This day finds me by Your side,
Reverently watching,
As you nurse
At Mother Mary’s breast.
In the ordinary tasks of Motherhood,
Mary is all gift.

Strangely, I am learning
As I gaze on Your holy family.
I squeeze in between
The donkey and the lamb,
Service and sacrifice
Becoming everything in Love.

How can I help?
What can I bring You?
Mary reads my heart and smiles.
You have made her a Mother,
And she already knows,
She is mine.

In loving You,
She is loving me,
And I am wrapped in familial sweetness,
Wanting to give in kind.
Precious Infant, You
are changing everything.

The world without is passing,
Almost as a stranger.
I let it pass,
For I, now, know,
I am passing, too.

Without fear, I look on You,
Your days on Earth are numbered,
And yet, they are without end.
I, too, accept Your Father’s will.

Kings are approaching,
Searching for meaning,
And giving all to come to You.
Wise Men, heartened by Your Star,
Following the signs
And listening with their hearts,
Doing all that they can do,
And accepting from your angels,
That which they could not know on their own.

Open hearts and open ears,
I must have the same.
I listen in the dark,
As new day dawns upon this world,
Now, filled with wonder.
I wonder, too.
What shall I give to You,
Having already given You my heart,
And all my dawning days?

Your Soul reaches out at my behest.
I hear You.
I, now, hear You.
It is, of course, the beat of Your Heart
That whispers in its smallness,
Yet seems to thunder
Within my breast.

“Souls, souls, souls;
Give me, souls!”
As Mary I become your handmaid.
I answer my “Amen.”
God Has Plans for You

God is counting on you.
God’s plan for the Universe includes you.
God’s plan for History includes you.
God’s plan of Salvation includes you.
God planned you.
You count!

Catch God’s vision.
When you are down,
Ask God, what’s up?
Plans can go wrong
But God is on track.
Are you?

Be faithful.
Little choices add up.
The ordinary is grace-filled opportunity.
That is the stuff of Saints.

God Throws Kisses.

God throws kisses
He threw me one
As I left home.
You can always spot God’s kiss.
It comes with a smile
From the lips of someone who kinda’ glows
When he says your name.
.
Sometimes God blows His kisses.
At times they feel like the wind.
They’re carried on a cool breeze
And surprisingly warms you
When you inhale.

Sometimes you can see God’s kisses.
People may think their only snowflakes,
But then you must see them
For what they are.
I like the ones that land gently
On my face and shoulders.
Those are definitely kisses.

His All For You

Your Father built the world
With you in mind.
You needn’t be important
To be important.
God has made you so.
You are carved upon His hand;
A perfect fit!

The Father’s desire for you,
Waits upon you.
The God of all the Universe
Halted by your will,
For without you
He won’t.

When your world
Stands still,
Limbo silent, and bereft,
Think to move the Hand of God.

“Who do you say I AM?”
When you can see it,
Say it!
Say it, so that the heavens hear you.
Say it, so the angels stop in flight.
Say it so that mountains move,
And flowers blossom.

Christ’s first buds,
Then flowers in bloom,
As Father God
Sets the world in motion
And blossoms forth in you.

Holy Hope

O, Holy Hope,
I see before me
The path of Jesus.
It trails into my future,
While its clarity fades
As it leaves this present moment.

I am like Bartimaeus along this way.
I call out for my Savior.
At my plea angels hurry to my side
With the balm to heal my blindness.

I see the Christ with me,
Before me, beside me,
Beneath me, as hallowed ground,
Above me, as Sun’s light and warmth.

In Hope I never walk alone.
Companions of my life, hand in hand,
Faith and Love abide with me.
My life follows in His steps
To that place prepared for me.

Here on this Earth,
I, too, know the Cross.
And in this Day,
I, too, experience
The paradise of His Presence.

I Dream of Heaven

Night and day, I dream of heaven.
O, not the dream that slumber brings,
That mirage that is tortuous,
With struggles and comings and goings,
Jumbles and journeys
Taking me far, far from home.

No, I speak now of the dream of my heart.
I dream of heaven, the cry of my heart.
With longing and yearning and surety of soul,
I labor in love for a home that I know.
Through all life’s long journey,
My days are replete
With a pilgrim’s desire,
That sheds light ‘to my feet.

Though weary, and broken,
I no longer doubt,
That all heaven is waiting
To welcome with shout,
One miserable sinner,
It can’t do without.

I Live by Your Will

Today, I live by Your Will.
Today, I live by Your Cross.
Today, I live by the grace of God.

I call on all heaven
To pray for me,
As I am weak,
And prone to sin.

With Isaiah, I promise God,
That I will not be silent,
I will cry out
For the sake of Jerusalem.

You, saints of God,
I station you on my walls
And at the city gate.

Do not cease
To petition the King,
For He is poised
To answer the persistent.

If All the World Turn Away

If all the world turn away from Christ
I pray I will still be there at His feet
Washing them with my tears,
Drying them with my hair.

I Am That Newborn

Joy was my initial response
To a day of silence,
More exactly, a day of listening.

The sense I had was of God’s delight.
He was looking on me as we do a newborn,
Full of love and enchantment.
He wanted me to share this delight.
He wanted me to recognize
That it was me
Who delighted Him.

I had an image in my mind
Of angels and saints,
Those present at the Mass,
Passing by and looking on me
As they would a precious newborn.

(I had just consumed the Eucharist.)
Each holy spirit approached,
Giving me a blessing
They said I would grow into.
Or, seen another way,
By which I would grow.

The Father wanted me to know
How much it delighted Him
To see me rise after a fall.
I am a sinner but I will be a saint,
If I allow His love to form me,
And continue to rise after each fall.

It would be nice
If my falls were infrequent,
But if they be a thousand,
He would grace me
A thousand times,
Each time I washed
My robe clean
In the blood of Christ,
Confessing my sins
And beginning anew,
A newborn.

I Can Come to You

I can come to You in Spirit.
I can sit by Your side.
“Ask Me”, You say.
“Ask of Me”, You invite.

“Come closer, when you are ready.
When you make up your mind.
I see, you are counting the cost.
That is wise, the thing to do.”

“When you measure Me on your scales,
Remember, too, what I paid for you.
I would do it all, again…. just for you.
Measure that, too.”

” ‘Not fair!’, you say.
“Let’s see,” say I.
“Is it Me, Who is unfair,
Or is it you?”

“You weigh friends, that will have go,
If you have any hope of staying true.
Then, you, consider, forbidden loves,
Which, by the by, I call ‘lust’,
Lust that leaves you bust,
Left with only dust.

“You are right to consider,
For while, My Love is free,
It is relentless in it’s quest.
It will change and challenge you.”

“False loves and lovers,
Fade in My Light.
Tinsel tells tawdry,
In the company of Gold.”

I can come to You in Spirit.
I can sit by Your side.
“Ask Me”, You say.
“Ask of Me”, You invite.”

I see You are the Treasure,
‘The Pearl of great price.’
No longer can I sit beside You.

Please,  may I enter into Your Heart?

In Adoration Waiting

You are before me, Bright Light.
The Darkness without shouts,
But I gaze heavenward.
My eyes rest upon You, Lamb of God,
In Your rest, upon the Altar of Your repose.
Having conquered all,
By Your Cross,
And sacrificial Death,

You spread Your mantle over the centuries,
Till Your glorious Coming.
I see You enthroned on the altar,
And offer You the throne and altar of my heart.

Here You are enshrined in my life,
Now hidden in Yours.
The Darkness without lies and denies You,
But the Spirit within gives witness,
That dispels all blindness,
Preparing me to do battle in this stillness.
“Stand still and know the I Am God.”

Indictment

A nation that calls Black, “White”,
And Sin, “Righteousness”,
Cannot expect the respect
And reward it merited,
When it called Sin “Sin”
And Black “Black”.

Intention

All the people of my life,
I place in Your Life.
Living Savior,
One with the Father,
The Spirit,
And lowly me,
Look on my memory,
And on my forgetfulness.

Search my corridors and halls.
Find all those faces and voices
Of my past, present and forgotten.
Forgive them,
As You’ve forgiven me.
Draw them,
As You have drawn me.

Prepare a heavenly paradise,
In which each may dwell.
Life is short;
Memories fleeting.
You alone endure.
Embracing all,
In Your Eternity.

Amen.

Let Me

Let me be the Star that guides.
Let me be the Voice crying in the wilderness.
Let me be the Brother that leads a brother.
Let me be the Mother bidding
“Do whatever He tells you.”

Let me be tears upon Your feet,
Let me be anointing oil.
Let me be a cloak that hides your nakedness.
Let me be the prayer of the Blind Bartimaeus:
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Let me pray with You in the garden
Let me draw a spiritual sword by Your Side.
Let me help you carry Your Cross.
Let me weep with You for the Fallen and the Lost,
Lamenting, “… you would not be gathered.”

Let me feel with Mother Mary
Let me cry out like the Magdalen.
Let me, like the Centurion,
Recognize You in Your Dying.
Let me sit beside the Angel at Your Tomb.
“He has risen, He is not here”

Lord, Make My Day

Make me all blessing, Dearest Lord.
My day lies, yet, before me,
As I wake.
Your Will shall come to me.
May my arms be open
To embrace the gift.
In the giving of grace,
May I ever receive,
And not turn aside a blessing.

Some blessings come disguised.
If misfortune lies at my doorstep,
Help me, in me fear,
Lest I bar the door as curse;
You plot a Way across stony ground,
That will lead me, true to You,
To troves You treasure hidden in dark places.

You set my course.
May Your brave Spirit
Dress me for each day,
That I may know,
With steady heart,
Your Way is my way,
And I am sent,
And set upon it.
I must stay that course,
Returning blessing for the curse,
Thus spreading grace
That grace abound.
With seeds for the morrow
Fill my purse
That I might spend You
On the poor,
And lavish You on sinners
As I go.

At days’ end
May I find myself rejoicing,
And safely rest in Thee,
My All and happy end.

Lord Take Delight

Take delight in me, dear Lord.
How can one so foul give You pleasure?
I can not please You as I am in my aloneness.
Unite me then to Your Mercy.

Employ Your Justice in the measure of my want,
For I am of the dust,
And have been given no goodness apart from You.
Deem to come to my aid.

In anticipation of Your visitation
Send Your advance guard,
Saints and angels to clothe me
For the presence of a King.

Strip me of my un-loveliness.
Set me free from dalliance and despair.
You Who are fire
Purify by Love and True Life.

Laugh at the enemy at my gate,
Disarm the Foe by the wonder of Your Holiness.
See me here in my blood-guilt,
And do not despise my wretchedness,
But embrace me as the child of holy consummation

Born of Your Passion.
Delight in me, O Ancient of Days,
Creative Word , seal my fate,
Speak that I might stand forth,
The image of Your Being.

Laugh and delight at the work of Your hands.
As a newborn gives joy to mother and father,
Take pleasure in Your pains on my behalf,
The labor of Your Love.

Love Take Me Captive

O Captain of my heart
On Love’s Tree
You penetrate the Lie.

You, victorious in Death,
Descend, piercing the Earth
To ransom Adam’s seed.

Scale my stony ramparts;
Pull down vanity’s tower.
Besiege the Gates of Hell.

Trumpet Your holy rage.
As with thundering steed,
And burnished sword,
Capture, and hold fast, my soul.

Call “Beloved” Your desolate one;
Call “Espoused” she who mourns
Her innocence’s demise.

Circle me about with Promise.
Covenant me in Blood Sacrifice.
Ascend on high with wedded bride..

O, Love Divine, make me Thine!

Love’s Return

Moved by Love, my Love,
How do I make return?
Struggles press, take hold of.
Moved by Love, my Love,
Power proffered from above
Too requisite to spurn.
Moved by Love, my Love,
How do I make return?

Mary, the Means by the Will of God

O Mary, living for Christ,
From the beginning, Immaculata,
As the Father willed,
Bring forth Christ for all Mankind.

Make me the fruit of your holy labor.
Mary, the means and not the end,
Carry me within your bosom blest.
O Mary, living in me,
May I receive your thoughts
And inspirations.

Let your heart beat with my own.
May your soul inflame my own.
May the soul of Christ,
One with yours
By His Holy Spirit espoused,
Be seed, substance and fruition in me.

Christ, living in your soul,
Extend His victory in me
As your protectorate,
That the Conqueror
Now conquer me.

May the angels wonder at my change,
As your light and inspirations
Become my constant delight.
O, you who are all grace
By the Word of God,
Supply the grace for good to me,

As your hands received their holy orders
From Him who held all sway over your being.
Be in me, the gracious gift of God,
As is all grace.

All is grace
And gratitude
To His glory
And your merit.

I am abandonment.
You are adorned.
I am conformed.
Christ is adored.

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.

Miracle of Days

New day, the world awakens.
Blue Earth still hung
Among the stars,
Spinning and orbiting.
We rise once more,
Unfazed by planetary whirl.

Sunshine at my window,
Here we go, again.
Out of the bed,
Onto a floor,
Solid ‘neath my feet,
Oh, what a grand illusion.

Without qualm,
In phase with the heavens
The world of men
Slept in surrender
To the slumber
Of the night.

Peace, born of Faith,
Anticipating the morn,
Believing dawn would again.
As done before.
Life, a celebration
Risking response.

All creation rising,
What will you
In your doings?
Your mark, your glory!
Waste not a quark!
O, Miracle of Days!

Mother of Our Re-creation – the New Eve

Mother of our re-creation, Chosen One,
Queen Mother of Our Savior and Salvation,
Through You The Father has restored
Life, and beauty to Creation.

The poison of Adam’s Fall
Has now an antidote and more.
Your humility lifts Eve to her feet,
And sets her wailing heart at peace,
For her children have a Remedy.

The punishment of Death decreed,
Which we suffer in this life,
And at its end,
Because of Father Adam’s Sin,
That Death is now a Door.

God made us like Himself,
So we, too, have a choice.
We may enter the waters of Baptism
As Christ entered the waters of Mary’s womb,
Clothing Himself in human form,
And the waters of the Jordan,
Preparing a way for our resurrection.

Jesus despised not our wretchedness,
But invested Himself in our plight,
By taking flesh as a mantle,
Worn into battle for the fight.

At the beginning of His earthly life,
Jesus entered the water of humanity
In the womb of Mary.
At the beginning of His earthly ministry,
Christ’s purifying presence
Entered the Sea of Man and Sin
In the waters of the Jordan.

Jesus, Son of Mary, the New Eve,
Blessed the Jordan waters.
By entering our pollution,
The Sinless Savior made it a symbol
Of the endless stream,
That washes sin away
And joins us to Himself.

Christ has offered us
His Life and Resurrection
In bidding us, ‘Come to the Water.’
This Water is for all the Children of Eve
Both womb, and tomb.

All Creation rejoices at our Restoration.
In Baptism’s holy bath,
We are saved and re-created,
The First Fruit of the glory
Of the Virgin’s First Born Son,

Our new Mother receives us from our dying
As she did the Body of her Son at the Cross.
Mother Mary is rewarded for her sorrow
And crowned for her hope.

“Move the Hands of God by Prayer”

In the silence
God invites without words.
My prayers are often noisy affairs
Filled with faces, memories, love
And feelings of sorrow.

I am often overwhelmed
And moved to tears
By the poignancy of a fleeting thought.
My heart tells me
That what seems insignificant
Holds a treasure.

God’s gifts often come in disguise
Like the beggar at the door
Who is Christ.
The Spirit says minister
Here in this place at this time;
Reach back through the years
To move the hand of God
By prayer.

In prayer, I am with God,
The Lord of All, including Time.
I may have missed or miss used
Moments to do good,
But God reigns in Eternity,
As present in the Past
As He is in my heartbeat.

God’s hands are not tied
By the flow of Time.
He is there and here
And Eternal Now.

My lowly prayer,
Clothed in The Name,
Breaks down the wall
That stands between
My need or regret, and blessing.

Like the little donkey
That carried the King of Kings,
My humble prayer sets in motion
The flow of grace to love,
To heal, to mend, to restore
And bless anew.

My All in All

Lord, be the Alpha and Omega
Of my moments this day.
Be the beginning and end
Of my every thought,
Inclination and desire,
The motus primo primi
Of my every action.

I offer you each breath I draw,
Every heart beat.
I expose to Your Merciful Heart my every sin,
Failure and fault.

I lay my complaints at your feet
And nail my concupiscence
To Your Cross.
You, Lord, are my Heart,
And my Healing,
You are purest Mercy.
Be my All in All.

On Charles de Foucauld

“My God, if you exist, make your existence known to me,”

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.

Reflection on St. Augustine

“I seemed to hear your voice from on high: ‘I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me.’ ” (St. Augustine)

On Eucharist

O Christ, I receive Thee
That I might become Thee.
I desire to be as You would have me,
To be, Christ, living Your Life,
In the time and place and space
That is me,
Soul and matter one,
And wed to my All Holy Three.

Come, O come to me, My Christ.
My blind eyes see but bread.
Hope lights my darkness.
Faith assures me
Of what I can not now behold.

You are the food,
That transforms my being
To Your Being,
Though the steps and stages
Be but measured.
You respect my frailty,
Adding strength upon strength,
That the common might be wed
To the Magnificent
Without my dissolution.

Only in union can I live
“Thy Will be done,”
As You, the Son.
Grow me! Grace me,
That I might become mature.
Sanctify this soul
So unlike Your own,
That free of Sin.
I be as the moon to You, O Sun.

I want to become,
To be of You,
And by You completely transformed.
I pray that Your Holy Spirit
Conform me to the Will of the Father,
That I may answer
As Mother Mary, “Fiat.”.

In Fire’s purifying ardor
Removes my dross.
Make me malleable.
Impress Yourself on me.
Ready me, as melted wax,
That I may receive the image
That You conceived for me.
That with all my being,
I may spend myself totally
On the Father’s All Holy Will,
Answering with the voice of Christ
One great “Amen.”

As a desert penitent
May I shed my tears for Your cause in me,
And in the world of souls,
For whom You shed Your blood.
May I complete my time on this earth
Running the race with You as my Way.

Although I am all effort,
And that pleases You,
A thousand efforts
Do not make the slightest grace.
So grace me, Beloved,
That the Father will delight
To see His Only Son in me.

More than a Conqueror,
You become my very being.
May I live my life in Your Life.
Come, O Eucharist,
O, Sanctifier of my soul.

On St. Ambrose’s “On Virginity“

Dearest Love, shine in my humanity,
Making my soul radiant.
I come to know You in my waiting.
As the world passes,
I witness the parade of fools and follies.

From my window, I surmise
The ways of friend and foe,
And resolve that my lover
Must be a friend
And lover of my soul,
Cherishing it as his own.

My Lover bids me call,
And call I do,
Throughout the bitter night
And in the brightness
Of each new day.

When I call He always comes,
I do not doubt His promise or His Presence.
“Knock and it shall be opened.”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him…’

I embrace Him, Whom I love,
Even when He comes and hides,
For He takes pleasure of watching me
In my search of faith.

I know He is here.
He is near,
Attuned to my longing,
Knowing that the treasure
Of my possessing Him
Increases as my desire
To see Him grows.

My seeking is both invitation and encounter.
My eyes may be blind,
But my soul is awake to His nearness
And reaches to catch Him
As He plays with me.
My soul ensnares Him
And begs Him do not run away.

Let me breathe Your essence.
Your Presence is my delight.
Though Your Spirit be like the wind,
Then tousle my hair as You rush by.
Let me find evidence of Your visit,
In the changes in my being.

I pledge my ardor
And banish the lukewarm.
I promise my heart
And scorn all negligence.
Vain imaginings
Shall not steal my soul.
Your promise is all I need.
If it seems You are gone,
I shall search You out,
Until I find our hiding place
And lie beside You.

I will ravish You by sighs of love
And hold you fast
By reins of love’s longing,
For You have conquered the world
And won my heart.
You have conquered my depths
By knowing Your beloved.

Your chamber remains within my soul,
Our secret place of meeting.
All is in readiness for You,
Though You come late in the night.

My room is swept clean and I am eager.
Your coming is all sun,
And You waken me by Your Light.
I draw You by spiritual reins,
By my plaintive call.

All the world is witness
To the power of virginal love.
Is it not the Virgin Mother,
Who now instructs my soul?

Onesimus

Lord make this useless beggar useful.
Like the returning Prodigal
Nothing recommends me,
And everyone but You
Condemns me,
For my rags declare my misery.

You see me
But You do not turn away.
You rush to my side,
And embrace the little one
Who wanders from Your side.

I am to You
The lost and longed for
Child of Your Heart.
My provident possibility
Is all but destiny
Awaiting my “Amen”.

You draw the bath Yourself.
You allow Your angels the joy
Of tending to my wounds.
They touch me in consolation
As they once ministered strength
To You in the garden,
For they beheld me then in Your Holy Agony.

I am the child of Your sorrow
And Your glory.
Wash me and lovingly dress me
In Your robes of holiness and light.
You are creating me even now
While You gaze on me
For I am all “Yes”.

Your kindness and Your gentleness
Convince me beyond doubt.
I yield to You my sinfulness.
Every moment in Your Presence is grace-filled.
I have but to stretch out my hand
That You might place Your ring on my finger,
Put forth my feet to see them shod for
The journey to Your house.

I walk now in Your Kingdom,
For Your Presence makes light my steps
And sure the Way.
In Your embrace I find that I can dance merrily,
For the mysterious steps
Seem to come quite naturally
As long as I follow Your gentle persuasions.

Dance on my Father,
My Friend, my King, my All.
In Your arms I have found myself.
I have become Onesimus.

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.

Prayer and the Indwelling Christ

Your gaze have made it very easy,
Praying, that is.
Yet, for such as me,
It’s still very hard,
Not seeing You across the table.

Your eyes follow me.
I know You hear me.
“It’s not You, it’s me”,
As faulting lovers say.

Your gaze never leaves me,
I can feel it
In the depths of my being.
I am never alone.

You wait,
As I turn to trifles,
Or beat down troublesome giants.
You dwell upon my last words,
Feeling my joy or pain
Through every season of my soul.

Though my words can stop mid-sentence
Or conversation cease,
Still You know the whole.
With the patience of eternity, my God waits.

Eventually, I turn back to You.
Your eyes sear my soul,
O, that my heart
Could return that gaze.

On the best of days,
Unless You bind me to You, I flit.
A thousand trumpets vie for my ear
And I am torn.

New love has a magic,
Erasing the world, and becoming all.
Re-ignite that flame in me
To shut out causes, fears and strife.

Your Presence felt is strength and consolation,
Your tug is joy,
And Your conversation sweetness.
If pain be the messenger
That draws me back to You,
So be it.
Better to feel the torment
Of an earthly purgatory,
Than the foretaste of hell.

If it seems I sit at our table alone,
The note of sadness betrays the truth.
I miss you and the missing is from You.
You beckon anew.

Sup with me.
Dwell with me.
Gaze on me.
I am not alone.
My Christ is with me.

Prayer At Adoration

You, My Lord,
Light up my darkness.
I join my voice
To the bright “Hosannas”
Of adoring angels.

With the elect of Heaven
Here at my side,
I call upon these
Holy saints and angels
To remember
Before the throne of God
All who labor in Your vineyard.

Make me Your monstrance
That I may carry You in my heart
And be Your light
To all I meet today.
Amen.

Prayer in Hope and Celebration

All love,
All attention,
All in harmony and one,
Resting on Your strong arm,
Held fast by my desire to know You,
And Your almighty power
To draw the sinner to You
In complete freedom.

My desire: to console You
In the garden of Your sorrow and anguish,
Where You saw all my sins,
And longed to suffer my death.

I love because You love
And awaken hope in me,
Hope that flies in the face of earthly reason
To realms of holiness and joy.

Your grace, showered upon our Race,
By Your Birth,
and by Your Death on the Cross,
Make me welcome.

You bid the Lost come.
Loose all Sin
In clouds of forgiveness
And gracious forgetfulness,
For You remember our sins no more.

Alleluia!

Prayers Forever Answered

Saints have prayed prayers,
Prayers hanging over Time,
Still being answered:

“God protect Your Church.”
“God spare Your People.”
“God forgive Sin.”
“God make holy.”
“God preserve and enlighten.”

Prayers that never end
Prayers forever answered.

Repenting and Forgiven

How true it is
That we are wretched sinners,
Dying since our birth,
Condemned by Man’s First Sin.

Yet, we wait, in hope believing,
For what we have begun to be,
Since Our Christ died upon a Tree
Shedding His blood at Calvary.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
One of the Holy Three,
All Man, All God, All Given
That upon repenting
We become the forgiven.

Rose Bud

Rose before dawn,
Nestled life in bud.
Sun of mother-love withdrawn.
Rose before dawn
Life, so sweet, soon gone.
Red flower, the color of blood.
Rose before dawn
Nestled life in bud.

Set the World Aright

The world, in turmoil, convulses.
Peoples flee.
Those who know You,
Run to You.
Those, who are rushing
To the pit in despair,
Flee from You,
As from Leviathan.

Show forth Your Truth and Beauty.
Stop sinners in their flight.
Smile, as the Sun from heaven,
That all men may truly see,
And all men know You, O Truth.

You are a scourge
To the proud,
But to the man,
Who clearly sees himself,
For what he is, and faints.
Then, coming to his senses,
Lies prostrate in repentance.
To that man, You are Hope
And help, and healing.

Your Mercy covers a multitude of sin.
Your blood, sprinkled on us,
Cries out “Sanctuary!”
O Altar, O Victim, O Priest.

Christ Jesus,
You know my heart,
And yet embrace it.
Your priestly garment
Covers my nakedness.
Your Kingly Mantle identifies me,
As Child of the Great King.
My name is written on Your Thigh.
Like a mother,
You brought me forth at Your Knees,
To claim me eternally.

The waters well up,
I am washed,
And carried in the current,
To ride the waves of Your Mercy
And come to rest on Your shore
For all eternity.

Celebrate the Mass
Of our Redemption,
Once for all,
And for all time.
The thunder is silent.
The quaking ceases.
The clouds of darkness part.
The Sun of Justice rises,
And the course of the world
Obeys the Will of Your Father.

O Christ, O Holy One,
Guide the course
Of this wayward planet.
Set the earth aright,
And welcome its people
Into Your Heart.

Sweetly Count Our Hours

Lord, I’ m offering You a new day.
Already, You know,
‘This isn’t going to be pretty.’

I count on You to do
What You have always done.
Take the morsels
Which Your hand has touched.

As for the rest,
With one mighty
Exhalation of Holy Breath
Spirit the chaff away.

At days’ end,
As with all my yesterdays,
I will lay my head
Upon Your Breast,
And sweetly count
Our hours.
Tears’ Requite

Awash on shores of errant heart,
Crystalline soldiers wend their depart.

The battle o’er, the mend begun,
Hovering Spirit break forth thy sun.

You tugged as moon on ebbing tide,
To etch and burrow as to chide,

But than as swells of billowed lace,
You left a smile of radiant grace.

To purge my soul of sorrow’s trough,
You gently rain to Spirit off

The crust and brine of life’s past sin,
And let your troves of laughter in.

Providence of wind and wave
Serve but to resurrect and save.

The Breech

How great is the distance between us?

Some would say
The span from East to West,
Or measure in miles the chasm
Stretching from Heaven to Hell.
Others count the centuries
Since Your earthly Presence
In hallowed flesh.

There is no numbering
Eternity or Divinity.
You are closer than my breath.
Your Heart beats within my breast.
Day by day,
Nay, moment by moment,
I pick up Your rhythm.

Traversing the breech,
You make me Your own.
Small, but beloved,
I repose in willful abandonment.
Grace-filled faith,
A movement,
Not a measure,
Soars to the heavens,
In flights of trust in You.

The Call

There is a Call on your life.
Have you heard it?
A harmony of happiness and joy.
Yet, pain in good measure.

Joy for the worldly,
The giddiness
Of pleasure,
Like a purse with holes,
Emptiness, without treasure.

Deep and abiding joy,
Mark the Call of God.
Like a song played
In the Darkness
To herald the Light.

The fearful man,
Unwilling to love,
Afraid of loss,
Gobbles life.
Heedless, peace-less,
Fearing to miss out,
His way becomes a ploy,
Losing the Eternal in the bout.

A call embraced,
Won’t shield you from mistakes.
Rather impels us onward,
Love covering a multitude of aches.

Perfection left to our Lord,
Prudent, not perfect,
Polished only in your dyings.
Dying and rising, the rhythm of a Call.

Rising to the challenge of Christ,
“Be perfect as I am perfect,”
His Call, pruning and repenting,
Perfected only in your Christ.

The Church Upon the Cross

Upon the cross,
Your blood flowed
From Crown to Foot,
In streams upon Your Body,
So that there was not one space,
That was not touched by Your Blood.

Your Body, the Church,
Covered in Your Blood,
Saved throughout Time
And for all Time
Unto Eternity,
Covered by Your Blood.

The Cross – A Mystery

The Cross is a Mystery.
It is also a Reality.
It is always heavy,
To one bereft of help.

Help, but a prayer away,
If you would only ask!
A simple, whispered prayer to Jesus,
Brings ministering spirits to your side.

Angels with the strength of mountains,
Saints of steady calm,
Come lifting earthly burdens
And stilling threatening storm.

The Cross, indeed, a Mystery,
Where Man and Matter meet
And bow before the Will of God
To vanquish and defeat.

Bring forth the Good from Evil,
Resurrection from the Dead.
The Cross works upon a man
To grow his soul and pay his debt.

The Fall

Chains ethereal bind my soul
Confusion clouds the pathways of my reason
Who could have guessed the menace?
It was over in a moment with hasty but firm decision.
Subtle flirtation turned a dance of dalliance.
Trojan welcomed without caution.
Grace dismissed with contemporary flair.

Reality now comes in many colors,
Shades of gray,
A balancing act to fit the season.
Nothing’s black or white,
Anymore.

Who could have known the cost?
Who would have called it betrayal?
Yet, I had chosen.
I ignored the Voice,
All appetite,
And caressing desire.

Somehow I knew
There would be a price to pay,
But how it would feel,
And what it would be,
Floated in some mist,
Too easily brushed aside
With the feeling of shackles,
Weary old taboos,
So, Adam devoured the apple.

Handle it, I could and would,
Just later…
Now, was for me.
Later, for regret.
A logical scheme.
It worked for me!

The deed
And the darkness descended,
One following the other.
Night fell like a mantle on my shoulders.
Where the joy?
Where promised pleasure?
Where my once bright countenance.

I lifted myself to myself,
Sad at the pillage
Visited upon my soul,
I am alone,
Alone, but for my thoughts,
Thoughts, that, too, accuse you.

The world feels different today,
A bit more cloaked,
As with a secret,
But, I assure myself,
All’s well, the same.

Waking in another Kingdom
I pull the curtain back:
Without, a sky stripped of its stars,
Within, only black,
No sun of clarity
No heart of love.

I can no longer trust
That dawn and morning light
Will follow in sure order.
Yet, somehow, I fear they might.
It must be me who changed?

I lingered in this abyss,
Fearing the permanence of my loss.
No stigmatizing letter branded,
For the absence of shame,
But my wax had melted,
And molecules rearranged,
Hardening, misshapen.

Drinking in the Truth,
I could not swallow
The gall of repentance.
Pride, like a master craftsman,
Fashioned my demise,
Tightening his chain about my heart.

My life, my life,
It’s my life!
I raged at unseen angels.
‘Til falling back upon myself,
I licked my wounds.
I donned a mask of merriment.

Then, one foot after the other,
I dressed for the world.
No one, I assured,
No one would notice
My fall from grace.

The Hollow of Your Hand

Hollow in the palm of Your hand,
See me here,
A child hiding in this darkness
Which is All Light and All Truth.

The brightness of Your Sun
Has blinded me.
I grasp Your hand
And cling to You,
My Three, my One.

Bright Angel,
Announce your Truth
In my soul.
Let me not fear the shadows,
But find all things
Awakening anew
My confidence in You,
Truth and Trusted One.

Reign, God of my heart,
I have sought You,
Moment by moment,
Day after day.
Holy Solace, wrap me as in petals.

Heart of healing,
Open in the warmth
Of a new and holy day,
The Lord has made,
New day,
Day of the Lord.

No fear here,
All comfort, all strength, all joy.
I have become a child
In the palm of Your hand,
Ever resting, ever secure,
O Holy Love.
To You abandoned,
To You promised,
To You wed.

The Lights of Advent Keep Vigil

Advent candles lit within my being,
Prayer like a torch,
Calling on the Spirit,
To light the lamp of vigil
And illuminate my soul.

Thanksgiving, a spot light,
Setting blessings all aglow,
While praise as a million votives
Ring Your manger in the night.

Though my soul be steeped in sorrow,
For the sin that went before,
My tears You turn to shining crystal
As the sea before Your throne.

O, Sun of Justice,
In Heaven you replace the shining stars.
Banish all darkness here below,
As once Your Star lit Earth’s long night

Alight all holiness,
As a rainbow green with Life,
Arches ’bout the celestial throne,
While incandescent angels
Sing with halo-headed saints.

Because You come,
This earthy life’s Tomorrows
Are bedecked in Hope
As You knock at ready virgins’ door,

The Promise ever before me,
You stand, an open door.
I, bold abandonment,
Before the throne of grace,

Sainted souls
Gleaming like electrum
Flashing love’s arrows as lightning.
Advent becomes
Christmas in my soul.

The Miracle of Days

New day, the world awakens.
Blue Earth still hung
Among the stars,
Spinning and orbiting.
We rise once more,
Unfazed by planetary whirl.

Sunshine at my window,
Here we go, again.
Out of the bed,
Onto a floor,
Solid ‘neath my feet,
Tho’ simply a grand illusion.

Without qualm,
In phase with the heavens
The world of men
Slept in surrender
To the slumber
Of the night.

Peace, born of Faith,
Anticipating the morn,
Believing dawn would again.
As done before.
Life, a celebration
Risking response.

All creation rising,
What will you
In your doings?
Your mark, your glory!
Waste not a quark!
O, Miracle of Days!

The Saints Crowned in Glory

The Saints are longing for us,
Longing that we share their glory.
No harm in such
Ambition,
Says Bernard.

This glory is to be spread abroad
By God’s sovereignty
And generosity.
This glory is none other
Than the glory in which the Father
Robed His dying Son.

It is now reflected in His Saints,
Who in life picked up their cross
And followed Him upon their knees.

The battle they fought on Earth now is ours.
They continue with us,
The Church Triumphant,
Pleading for the Church Militant.

Blessed are those who were poor in spirit,
Who were merciful, loving their enemies,
Who mourned and who were persecuted,
Who were pure of heart,
And sought peace
Through the wood of the Cross.

Blessed are all those gathered
To the Father’s bosom.
Blessed are they and generous,
Interceding for the saints,
As they look for us to follow in their steps.

Brothers and Sisters,
Radiant in glory,
Beam forth Christ.

All happiness to His Saints
Rewarded now and forever.
All glory to the Father,
The Son and the Holy Spirit.

Amen!

This Day For God

Father, I thank you for this day,
This holy day.
As I rise from sleep,
May my soul arise,
Leaving sin
To seek Your face.

As I wash in preparation
For new and holy day,
I recall my Baptism
And the cleansing River of Life
That flowed from the side
Of my Redeemer.

As I clothe my body,
I remember
The dignity of Christ
And the Name
By which He calls me.

I am clothed in the robes of a priest
To sacrifice with Jesus in my day.
The words of a prophet
Live on my lips
Ready to give an account
Of my hope and joy.

The Kings of Kings
Proclaims me a king,
And by the power of His throne in heaven,
He rules in my life,
And the lives my life touches
Through all generations.

Through my prayer of faith,
Covered in humility,
As the Blood of Christ,
Angels minister to the people of God,
Bringing peace, protection,
Strength and provision,
As I proclaim My “Amen”
To His Will, and His prayer,
“Father, forgive them.”

Go before me, Lord.
Walk with me, Lord.
Be my rearguard,
Precious Savior, Warrior King!
You, Who live in me,
Suffer in my flesh,
That which is to be
In this hour on Your Cross.

You are “more than a conqueror”
As You bring about
Your kingdom in this day.
O, Love sublime,
My life is Thine.

This Is For Me

They choose nails to fix You to the Tree of Life, the witness of Your Death.
It was Love that drew You to that Hour, that thrice holy Hour,
Love, not nails, that held You fast, upon the beam.
Your Father’s Will was the cord that bound and secured You,
Heart and Soul, Your Undivided All.

You choose this consummation, devoid of earthly pleasure,
Your Passion, the counter and all consuming Fire, that ravages Sin,
The Sin of our earthly passions,
That spends our lives in unholy rebellion.

When all others fled for want of Godly self-possession,
You mounted Your Cross in peace and resignation.
This throne of suffering and sovereignty held dominion
Over the underworld and all it’s gods.

Your edict, a request: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
It is Love that draws You to this Hour, this thrice-holy Hour,
Love, not nails, that weds me, in freedom and abandonment, to Your All Holy Heart.

Tough As Nails – This Age to God

We are willing to discard the person for the part.
“We’ve made great strides”,  “…a long way, Baby.”
You and Your creation shall serve us.
Yes, that is our “Way”.

It makes perfect sense to us.
After all, You are invisible,
As invisible as a child within the womb,
That is, until the flesh is torn away.
We have the technology.

See, no cringing here. “Just do it!”
We’re tough as nails.
You are familiar with nails?
Yes, tough as nails.
In this world you have to be!

Hello.  Knock, knock.  Are You there?
…. See, He doesn’t care.
You hold Your anger, so we say,
“Where is this God of yours?”.

Our world crumbles,
Chaos all around.
Evidence of Your absence or Your ire?
It doesn’t matter.
You are the Past. We are Now!

If I pull Your beard, will You awaken.
Are You like us?
Will You take a poll
Or turn Your blind eyes?

In Your retirement or death,
We’ve found our voice. We’ve found our fist!
Not to worry. We’ve come a long way.
Crowned ourselves God!

Upon the Cross

Upon the cross,
Your blood flowed
From Crown to Foot,
In streams upon Your Body,
So that there was not one space
That was not touched by Your Blood.

Your Body, the Church,
Covered in Your Blood,
Saved throughout Time
And for all Time
Unto Eternity,
Covered by Your Blood.

When the Twain Shall Meet

There is a delicacy of old
With which men speak to one another.
Though, approaching from the farthest ends,
Never meeting in the middle,
Yet, do they honor one another,
In their humanity.

They offer the gift of presence,
Gifting to the other
An open ear
That wills to hear.

To do the Good
For the sake of Good,
To forge the best of thought
For presentation at the gate
Is the beginning of our holy end.

Though all men be wrong
In varying degrees,
There is something right
In putting down one’s arms
To meet as warring friends,
In hope and trust
That they serve a higher call,
When men do speak of peace.

Who is honored by this respect,
If not the Maker of all Men,
Who alone can change
Hearts of stone to flesh,
Becoming like unto His own.

With Mary Waiting

With Mary waiting,
As the pregnant moments pass,
I share her secret with the world.
The Hour comes at last.

A Child is to be born.
A virginal womb has received
Unending Life for all.

Her “Fiat” brought Him
To this consecrated chamber,
This pure and holy abode.
God’s Love called Him forth
To save a sinful world in woe.

In Mary, peace abides.
Outside the world complains,
‘They register, number, own us.’
‘We’ll be taxed yet again.’

Joseph, a Son of David,
Knows he must obey,
So with Mary astride and by his side,
They travel and they pray.

Now, I walk beside them
To Bethlehem’s gate,
Where doors are barred
And a full Inn fate.

A cave receives the weary, hallowed guests.
Lowly beasts share their place of rest,
And warm the air against a night
Grown cold as human hearts.

The Holy Couple, in humble, gracious joy,
Embrace the Father’ s Will.
O, Time of Waiting, the Virgin is with Child!
I wait on tiptoe with Creation
To see the Babe so mild.

O, Infant, cradled in a womb so pure,
Soon, You will know her arms of love,
And, too soon, know
The chilling thoughts of men.

God speaks but One Word,
And celestial sphere ‘s
Take up the song
To sing throughout the Night.

Angelic voices summon shepherds
And “Men of Good Will” as well.
The poor of heart receive a Savior
Who’ll ravage the gates of Hell.

Hidden Mystery of Ages,
One day an ass will bear
You, Son of David,
As Jerusalem proclaims Your fame.

For now a donkey
Carries the Salvation
Prophets long proclaimed,
Emmanuel,
HaShem,
The Name.

With St. Ambrose By My Side

St. Ambrose
Walk with me
This entire year,
As a friend and mentor.

In your lifetime,
You had marvelous friends,
All of whom, you led
Closer to God.
May they also pray for me,
So to honor you.
Monica, Augustine, Marcella, Satyrus,
Were made holier
By your counsel.

You walked with Wisdom
By your side,
And made great strides.
Counsel me,
For the glory of the God
That loves me.

I will thank you most properly in heaven.
Yet, my poor heart embraces you,
As my particular friend in Christ, even now.
To God be the glory!

Amen

With You in Mind

Still unfolding in Time,
God built the Universe
With you in mind.
Matter abounds in precise measure,
Yet only mind cares
To count the treasure.

The Nature of Reality
Weighs only upon Man.
Mind, immaterial,
Counts on Science to understand.
But mensuration once obtained
Must be thought to think things through,
But since a thought can’t be weighed or measured.
How scientifically construed?

Mind, in this life,
On matter dependent,
Ideas, ethereal,
Yet vaulted resplendent.
Archiving the conceptual
Memories bound to a brain,
Quantifying the great
And trifles mundane.

Man alone of all Creation
Takes the world apart
To see why the tickings
And the tocks.
Challenges, stirred
By matter-less imagination,
End when no greater thought
Can be thought in our machinations.

Only then do we arrive
At the God we accuse,
Of being a non-being All-being
And betray and abuse.
Still He points to the stars
And Man more numerous,
Assuring His intention
Was never injurious.

Life from the stars?
Far-flung seeds of Creation?
Enduring, maturing, while from the beginning,
The God in the dock willing our Salvation.

Yad Vashem – Remember

Stolen name replaced by number,
Savaged soul and broken heart.
Hell, a people to encumber.

Blind eyes outside in darkness.
Dead souls dismissed the unthinkable.
Stolen name replaced by number.

Raising from the ashes,
Pledging nevermore.
Hell, a people to encumber.

Yad VaShem, the vault of memory,
Yad VaShem, the ground of tears.
Stolen name replaced by number.

Shoah: families, children.
Here named, remembered, mourned.
Hell, a people to encumber.

Faces pictured in the silence.
Tears cried forevermore.
Stolen name replaced by number.
Hell, a people to encumber.

These poems, prayers and prose are the fruit of my prayer.  It is my hope that those who listen for the Voice of the Holy Spirit, may find Him whispering, as I do, in the stillness.

Copyright © Joann Nelander 2011   All rights reserved.

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