Sunday, December 17, 2017

CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS


           
Margarita Dulac (USA)


                   INCARNATION

In a thistle-thick field,
The sun-baked clay with its break-spade soil
Had a summer-seared yield,
And the drought-sky-flouted dry ground foiled
All of Israel's trouble and toil.

But the Caretaker saw
And tilled that wilderness field with priests
And their ground-breaking law,
As the prophets' cry thinned high sin-weeds,
And the kings did their battle with beasts.

Then the Husbandman sowed
Pure virgin earth, and the germ took root.
When the gracious rain flowed
On the love-lit plot, it shot out shoots,
And it budded forth, bearing its fruit.

Now the fruit of our womb
Is blest grain bread and a vine grape wine
From the Passover room;
O incarnate Lord, O Christ divine,
Make the fruits of your flesh and blood mine! 

                         Stephen Wentworth Arndt


                  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

SECRET SEASON

Madonna del Parto- 15th C. Italian




ADVENT  is the season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of Divine Love growing in silence. It is the season of humility, silence, and growth. For nine months Christ grew in His Mother’s body. By His own will she formed Him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life. She had nothing to give Him but herself. He asked for nothing else. She gave Him herself.

                                                              Caryll  Houselander


Advent is the time of waiting, of quiet listening, of expectation, of silence. A pregnant woman is so happy, so content. She lives as if wrapped in a garment of silence,  as though she is listening to hear the stir of life within her. But the intentness with which one awaits such stirring is like nothing so much as a blanket of silence.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

BREATHING OF JESUS IN OUR WORLD

One of my favorite women says it better than I ever could!

Ilian Rachov- Bulgaria
It is only necessary to give ourselves to that life, all that we are, to pray without ceasing, not by a continual effort to concentrate our minds but by a growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are.

We must trust Him for this, because it is not a time to see His face, we must possess Him secretly and in darkness, as the earth possesses the seed…

We must be swift to obey the winged impulses of His Love, carrying Him to wherever He longs to be; and those who recognize His presence will be stirred, like Elizabeth, with new life.

They will know His presence, not by any special beauty or power shown by us, but in the way that the bud knows the presence of the light, by an unfolding in themselves, a putting forth of their own beauty.

In Mary the Word of God chose to be silent for the season measured by God.
She, too, was silent; in her the light of the world shone in darkness.
Today, in many souls, Christ asks that He may grow secretly, that He may be the light shining in the darkness.

In the seasons of our Advent- waking, working, eating, sleeping, being - each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world.             Caryll Houselander in A Rocking-Horse Catholic


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PERPETUAL WAITING


The Expectant Madonna with St. Joseph- Natl. Gallery

Thomas Merton remarked that life is a perpetual ADVENT. He sensed that in that waiting, trust began to grow. Trust in God, trust in the Holy One who is beyond all that is created and is the source of all things, seen and unseen. Trusting and waiting allow the loving-kindness that is the essence of God’s own Life to grow in us, and to bear fruit that we never expected.

I love this painting of a very serene Mother, waiting for her Child, who is to be our Savior.  And of St. Joseph
who has been told by the angel to wait in patience and to trust...that all will be well!  A message we all need to take to heart this year when there seems to be so much turmoil around us.


Our Advent silence, if done with an attitude of prayer, will open our hearts with joy, to  His coming- which is expected! .


Maurice Zundel, in Our Lady of Wisdom:


 'Be still and know that I am God.' God comes in the silence; on the gentle breeze; on the quiet altar of adoration; and, in the flesh, even as a vulnerable little baby in a manger. That is truly a 'response of love' worth waiting for, especially in silence

Monday, December 11, 2017

A POPE AND ADVENT SILENCE




Pope Emeritus  Benedict XVI was ever conscious of the necessity of silence in our lives, especially in Advent. “Silence is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God. In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives.” (2005 )

 And again in 2009 Advent: " this powerful liturgical season, invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us, signs of the attention he has for each one of us."

Waiting in silence, opening our hearts, we are full of expectation and hope,  trusting in new life not yet fully known.



Madonna- Liebieghaus, Germany

Saturday, December 9, 2017

OUR ARCHBISHOP in ADVENT


 I consider our Seattle Archbishop, J. Peter Sartain, to be a very holy man, who treasures the Eucharist and knows the importance of prayer in our daily lives.  He has written a small book entitled An Advent Pilgrimage: Preparing Our Hearts for Jesus  (available at Amazon on Kindle or paperback), which I look forward to each Advent.


"Advent is a time for encounter between the old and the new, between promise and fulfillment, between our insufficiency and God's fullness. It's the season for recalling the perfect fit made possible as God poured forth His love in Jesus Christ.  It's the opportunity for joyfully rediscovering our need for salvation."

Only in silence, and I don’t mean just the absence of noise, can our hearts be open to the Word. The Lord makes it very clear to us, in the Gospels, through many messages  to the saints throughout history, that He is with us and will always be with us, if we are open to Him. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

MORE ADVENT SILENCE

Just before Advent, a fiery Pope Francis chastised those who spend Mass talking to others, looking at their phone or even taking pictures during papal liturgies, saying these are distractions that take focus away from the “heart of the Church,” which is the Eucharist. (I would add not only for the user, but those sitting next to them.)
“The Mass is not a show: it is to go to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord. The Lord is here with us, present. Many times we go there, we look at things and chat among ourselves while the priest celebrates the Eucharist... But it is the Lord!”
In particular, Pope Francis condemned the use of cell phones to take photos at papal Masses. At one point during the Mass the priest says, “we lift up our hearts,” he said. “He does not say, ‘We lift up our phones to take photographs!’”
“It’s a bad thing! And I tell you that it gives me so much sadness when I celebrate here in the Piazza or Basilica and I see so many raised cellphones, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops.”
Pope Francis said the Eucharist would be the new focus of his weekly catechesis for the year, because “it is fundamental for us Christians to understand well the value and meaning of the Holy Mass to live more and more fully our relationship with God.”
In the Eucharist we rediscover, through our senses, what is essential, he said. Just as the Apostle Thomas asked to see and touch the wounds of Jesus after His resurrection, we need the same thing: “to see Him and touch Him to be able to recognize Him.”


In this way, the Sacraments meet this very "human need" of ours, he said. And in the Eucharist, in particular, we find a privileged way to meet God and his love.
He prays everyone will rediscover the beauty "hidden in the Eucharistic celebration, and which, when revealed, gives a full meaning to the life of everyone.