Hope means hoping when things are hopeless

Witnesses to Hope

Advent and the little girl, Hope

Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all.”

– G.K. Chesterton

It looked unquestionably bleak.

In a matter of two weeks, the Nazis had roared through Luxembourg, crushed the Netherlands, marauded through Belgium and blitzed deeply into France. The French Army and British Expeditionary Force found themselves pressed onto the beaches of Dunkirk with their backs to the unforgiving waters of the English Channel. The Americans across the Atlantic made it very clear that they wouldn’t send their boys to any foreign wars. And Great Britain looked increasingly alone.

But as the grim events inexorably unfolded, the bulldogish Prime Minister Winston Churchill made it clear to his Cabinet: There would be no surrender. In the darkness of those days – days which anticipated the Blitz of screaming bomber attacks on…

View original post 627 more words

For those who are grieving or suffering loss during Advent

Witnesses to Hope

Today’s post is a reflection on today’s first reading from the book of Judges.  It is the story of Manoah and his wife who was barren.  By the message of an angel and the grace of God, they became the parents of Samson.  This story is obviously a foreshadowing of the Gospel story that follows of Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Listen to what Kathleen Norris has to say:

Today our readings ask us to reflect on a mystery:when our lives are most barren, when possibilities are cruelly limited, and despair takes hold, when we feel most keenly the emptiness of life–it is then that God comes close to us.  This is a day for those who are grieving or suffering loss during Advent, lamenting that just as we are suffering, and need to weep, the world force-feeds us merriment and cheer.  But we are not without hope, for it is…

View original post 159 more words

“Mary-darkness, faith’s walled place”

Witnesses to Hope

This Sunday’s poem is one by Jessica Powers, written in 1948:

Advent

I live my Advent in the womb of Mary.
And on one night when a great star swings free
from its high mooring and walks down the sky
to be the dot above the Christus i,
I shall be born of her by blessed grace.
I wait in Mary-darkness, faith’s walled place,
with hope’s expectance of nativity.

I knew for long she carried me and fed me,
guarded and loved me, though I could not see.
But only now, with inward jubilee,
I come upon earth’s most amazing knowledge:
someone is hidden in this dark with me.

               ~Jessica Powers, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, p. 81.

View original post

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)

View original post

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…

View original post 146 more words

If you see a man with one eye

Good advice.

Christians . . . should strive in all things and ought not to pass judgment of any kind on anyone, neither on the prostitute nor on sinners nor on disorderly persons.  But they should look upon all persons with a single mind and a pure eye, so that it may be for such a person almost a natural and fixed attitude never to despise or judge or abhor anyone or to divide people according to categories.  If you see a man with one eye, do not make any judgment in your heart, but regard him as though he were whole.  If someone has a maimed hand, see him not as maimed.  See the crippled as straight, the paralytic as healthy.  For this is purity of heart, that, when you see the sinners and the weak, you have compassion and show mercy toward them.  (Pseudo Macarius)

And I would add: “If you see yourself with one eye, do not make any judgment in your heart . . . and so on.”