Sunday, December 17, 2017


Margarita Dulac (USA)


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


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


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


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


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


 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


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.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Jesus Christ- Blessed Silence (Mother Anastas

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard once wrote: ‘The present state of the world and the whole of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and I were asked for my advice, I should reply: “Create silence!  Bring people to silence!”

How those words apply even more to our modern world! ADVENT, in the midst of winter, is a good time to ponder the mystery of silence and the effect it has on our souls. Think of the trees now dormant, the various animals who have sought refuge in a burrow to gather strength for the new year.  In the winter darkness we become more aware of the silence and stillness that are a part of creation.  All seems to go into its own period of waiting.  If nature has its "time off" to prepare for new life, so must we. 

The Word of God cannot be heard in the stress-filled, noisy world of today. As contemplatives we know there can be no real meeting with Christ Jesus, without silence. Silence prepares for that meeting and silence follows it. For us God has the first word, and our silence opens our hearts to hear Him. Only in this listening will we find a way to speak to a world .

A new book I would recommend to anyone seeking to find moments of silence in their life is The Power of Silence by the African Cardinal Robert Sarah. It is a wonderful ADVENT preparation for the coming of the Lord.

Silence is the indispensable doorway to the divine. Within the hushed and hallowed walls of the famous Carthusian monastery, the La Grande Chartreux, in the French Alps, Cardinal Sarah asks: Can those who do not know silence ever attain truth, beauty, or love?  Do not wisdom, artistic vision, and devotion spring from silence, where the voice of God is heard in the depths of the human heart?

In a time when technology penetrates our lives in so many ways and materialism exerts such a powerful influence over us, Cardinal  Sarah presents a bold book about the strength of silence. The modern world generates so much noise, he says, that seeking moments of silence has become both harder and more necessary than ever before. I know from experience that even one day off our quiet island onto the mainland disturbs the silence I daily seek.

"Silence is more important than any other human work," he says, "for it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and others so as to place ourselves humbly and generously at their service."

This book is both a call to seek God and a guide for finding Him. It is a call to seek quiet and to be quiet, for only then can silence and God be found. Deeply spiritual, it is for those who are serious about their spiritual growth.  There is no better  way to prepare for His coming, than in silence!