O Advent!

And this from Elizabeth Scalia:

Holy Advent; Holy Hope in Light

Welcome! Welcome! I shed tears of gratitude and joy that you have come round again, O Advent, to shake us from our torpor as early night comes, and the match is struck, and the message is brought home once more; that we are forever in the absence of light; it is beyond us and exterior until we make it welcome and bring it, like a lover, within. Welcome into our deepest void, welcome into the parts of us touched by human frost and stunted. Welcome, O Light, beaming glorious, into remotest apertures of our souls, rays aglow, warmth permeating where we have left old fires unattended and embers to wane, and our abysses to grow chill, and uninhabitable. Welcome light; dispelling illusion, and chasing old ghosts to rest.

Today the promise; the story begins again. The beginning; quiescence, empty and void. Then movement; an annunciation; a Word -one boundless, vibrant “yes” that shakes creation; “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my savior!” Soon their will be dreams, and silent wondering, and a gathering, and a starry night rent with song. The Word Present penetrates lonely, lost humanity, and enters into the pain and fear, the tumult and whirlwind; He and sets His tent with us not merely dwelling among, but literally with us; with hunger, with the capacity for injury and doubt -with enough vulnerability to be broken- and within this espousal, everything is illuminated!

You can find the rest here.

Fighting “the black dog”

Sharing this from Tod Worner:

The Vital Necessity of Advent

“Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

- G.K. Chesterton. 

Dear Jesus, do I need Advent. I just do. Living in the upper Midwest during the melancholic waning days of fall, begrudging the early arrival of snow flurries and enduring the bone-chill that summer had (mockingly) made me forget, I need Advent. You see, I am predisposed to what Winston Churchill once called “the black dog”. The black dog is an ill-defined woefulness that can gnaw at you at unpredictable times for indescribable reasons. Not classically a depression, it is rather a longing for something that is unfulfilled by anything here on earth. If not tilting into a fuller depression, perhaps this is a good thing. C.S. Lewis, after all, once wondered,

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

And that is why I need Advent. Advent, originating from the Latin “Adventus”, means “a coming, an approach, or an arrival”. It is a season of anticipation, of expectation and of reform in preparation for the arrival. But what is it we are anticipating, expecting, and preparing for? Nothing more than the entry of God into History, the Word Made Flesh, the Messiah, the Savior of Mankind. We are awaiting, expectantly and eagerly, the Central Event of Human History. The Incarnation. Nothing less than that. And that is why I need Advent.

You can finish reading over here.

The little everyday frustrations

Advice from St. Francis de Sales that is always timely–and contains one of his best jewels:

“Persevere in overcoming yourself in the little everyday frustrations that bother you; let your best efforts be directed there.  God wishes nothing else of you at present, so don’t waste time doing anything else.  Don’t sow your desires in someone else’s garden; just cultivate your own as best you can; don’t long to be other than what you are, but desire to be thoroughly what you are.  Direct your thoughts to being very good at that and to bearing the crosses, little or great, that you will find there.  Believe me, this is the most important and the least understood point in the spiritual life.  We all love what is according to our taste; few people like what is according to their duty or to God’s liking.  (Letters of Spiritual Direction)

Call out to Mary

“O you, whoever you are, who feel that in the tidal wave of this world you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales than treading on dry land, if you do not want to founder in the tempest, do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star.  When the wind of temptation blows up within you, when you strike upon the rock of temptation, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.  Whether you are being tossed about by the waves of pride or ambition or slander or jealousy, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.  When rage or greed or fleshly desires are battering the skiff of your soul, gaze up at Mary.  When the immensity of your sins weighs you down and you are bewildered by the loathsomeness of your conscience, when the terrifying thought of judgment appalls you and you begin to founder in the gulf of sadness and despair, think of Mary.  In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt, think of Mary, call out to Mary.  Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart. Follow the example of her life and you will obtain the favor of her prayer.  Following her, you will never go astray.  Asking her help, you will never despair.  Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away.  With your hand in hers, you will never stumble.  With her protecting you, you will not be afraid.  With her leading you, you will never tire.  Her kindness will see you through.” (Bernard of Clairvaux}