The longest night

Longest Night © Jan L. Richardson

Blessing for the Longest Night

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
arriving
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

– Jan Richardson

Jan Richardson is an artist, writer, and ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. She serves as director of The Wellspring Studio, LLC, and travels widely as a retreat leader and conference speaker. Known for her distinctive intertwining of word and image, Jan’s work has attracted an international audience drawn to the welcoming and imaginative spaces that she creates in her books, online blogs, and public events. During Advent, Jan is leading Illuminated: An Online Journey into the Heart of Christmas.

Advent Sunday

Advent Sunday

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go ye out
With lighted lamps and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

It may be at the midnight, black as pitch,
Earth shall cast up her poor, cast up  her rich.

It may be at the crowing of the cock
Earth shall upheave her depth, uproot her rock.

For lo, the Bridegroom fetcheth home the Bride:
His Hands are Hands she knows, she knows His side.

Like pure Rebekah at the appointed place,
Veiled, she unveils her face to meet His Face.

Like great Queen Esther in her triumphing,
She triumphs in the Presence of her King.

His Eyes are as a Dove’s, and she’s Dove-eyed;
He knows His lovely mirror, sister, Bride.

He speaks with Dove-voice of exceeding love,
And she with love-voice of an answering Dove.

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go we out
With lamps ablaze and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.

~Christina Rossetti

Listen for the footsteps

As always, Fr. Peter John Cameron gives us a gem:

Father Alfred Delp, the heroic German Jesuit who was executed in 1945 for his resistance to the Nazi regime, wrote this:

Oh, if people know nothing about the promises anymore, if they only experience the four walls and the prison windows of their gray days, and no longer perceive the quiet footsteps of the announcing angels, if the angel’s murmured word does not simultaneously shake us to the depths and lift up our souls–then it is over for us.  Then we are living wasted time, and we are dead, long before they do anything to us.

This Advent is the perfect occasion to take account of all the walls, and prison windows, and gray days that we let define our lives.  There are quiet footsteps and murmured words of announcing angles coming our way, too, to remind us of God’s awesome promises.

Can one fall in love with a season?

Advent
Can one fall in love with a season?
My affection for Advent runs high
as we light the candles on the wreath,
track the trail of the Baptist,
listen to the growing darkness
for the silent music of grace.
The reason for my love for the season
is its three-fold invitation:
speak tenderly—for we are all in exile;
wait patiently—for Dawn is near;
live simply—a locust or two will do.
–Bishop Robert Morneau

By surprise

Another treat of a poem from Jan Richardson:

For Joy

Image: For Joy © Jan L. Richardson

You can prepare
but still
it will come to you
by surprise

crossing through your doorway
calling your name in greeting
turning like a child
who quickens suddenly
within you

it will astonish you
how wide your heart
will open
in welcome

for the joy
that finds you
so ready
and still so
unprepared.

– Jan Richardson

“Let it penetrate your heart”

Sr. Dorcee:

Always good to remember . . .

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

On this great gift of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I can’t help but post Mary’s beautiful words to Juan Diego, words that she speaks to each one of us:

“Listen, and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little son; do not be troubled or weighted down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”

 
“Let it penetrate your heart.”

View original

Awaiting His Arrival: From Shadow to Light

Originally posted on Barnstorming:

photo by Josh Scholten

photo by Josh Scholten

…the rising sun will come to us from heaven
 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.
~Luke 1:78-79

…yea thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.
~John Donne

sunrise81144

View original