Advent and seeds

Witnesses to Hope

A reflection from Caryll Houselander:

A seed contains all the life and loveliness of the flower, but it contains it in a little hard black pip of  a thing which even the glorious sun will  not enliven unless it is buried under the earth.  There must be a period of gestation before anything can flower.

If only those who suffer would be patient with their earthly humiliations and realize that Advent is not only the time of growth but also of darkness and hiding and waiting, they would trust, and trust rightly, that Christ is growing in their sorrow, and in due season all the fret and strain and tension of it will give place to a splendor of peace.   (Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God, p. 36)

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Advent’s Sacred Silences

In the quiet of a room they sigh.
In candle’s glow they live under
An icon’s shadow and an unheard cry
And the Truth-bearing words that thunder–
Those Sacred Silences who
tenderly await the soul.

They speak of His coming, not delayed, but near
for etched in unknown depths, they say,
the same Image of the One whose patient tear
slays the heart and gives all away–
In those Sacred Silences who
tenderly await the soul.

Let saving truth’s grammar unbound
Those lips thirsting for syllables of love
To drink deep the wisdom in whose font resound
Those words below of the Word above:
As enveloped in great silences
The soul awaits His coming.

— Anthony Lilles

The Advent Door

Witnesses to Hope

Stumbled upon this beautiful Advent poem:

Blessing the Door

First let us say

“Crossing the Threshold” Copyright Jan Richardson “Crossing the Threshold”
Copyright Jan Richardson

a blessing
upon all who have
entered here before
us.

You can see the sign
of their passage
by the worn place
on the doorframe
as they walked through,
the smooth sill
of the threshold
where they crossed.

Press your ear
to the door
for a moment before
you enter

and you will hear
their voices murmuring
words you cannot
quite make out
but know
are full of welcome.

On the other side
these ones who wait –
for you,
if you do not
know by now –
understand what
a blessing can do

how it appears like
nothing you expected

how it arrives as
visitor,
outrageous invitation,
child;

how it takes the form
of angel
or dream;

how it comes
in words like
How can this be?
and
lifted up…

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Advent Sunday

Christian Rossetti

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.

After Suicide

Many of you know that I lost a brother to suicide in 2006.  Last night I attended a talk by Fr. Chris Alar and Jason Lewis based on a recent book they co-authored, After Suicide, There’s Hope for Them and for You. The talk was very good, and I would recommend their book to anyone dealing with any difficult losses.

Also, if you’ve never listened to my own story about losing Tim, here it is: “What Sorrow is Like My Sorrow?” 

As for Love

I lost my second mother this past week.  She lived an amazingly fruitful life and was finally able to go Home.  Nonetheless, her loss is hitting me hard.  And, as with all loss, it brings up all the other losses in my life.

One of my go to books during times like this is Edges of His Ways by Amy Carmichael.  (I consider her a mother to me also.)  Here’s the selection for today:

Ps 18:30: As for God, His way is perfect.

God is love, so we may change the word and say, As for Love, His way is perfect.  This has been helping me.

One of the ways of Love is to prepare us beforehand for any hard that that He knows is near.  Perhaps this word will be His loving preparation to some heart for a disappointment, or for some trial of faith, something know to others, or some secret sorrow between the Father and His Child.  As for Love, His way is perfect.

How to face the storms in life

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in his arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

St. Francis de Sales