Monday, November 30, 2009

RevGals Advent Retreat Part II

Today I'm following the RevGals Advent Retreat, so this is my third post of the day! The second reflection is up; it's a long one, so I'm going to post just the final question, and urge you to go to the original retreat site and to its comments for further reading and contemplation.

""John speaks of wheat and chaff being sorted, and we tend to think of this as an outer process, a division of faithful people from the rest of the world. But perhaps we can apply this to the inner life. As we begin this Advent, can you identify the wheat and the chaff in your life? Are you ready to leave the chaff behind?"

(Posted by Songbird.)

Back later, perhaps with some thoughts on this one.

RevGals Advent Retreat

This initial post is so beautiful that I'm going to copy it in its entirety here, and try to return to it to write later, perhaps many times through Advent. Go to the initial link for comments and links to what I am sure will be other and very moving posts.

A meditation on the readings for Advent 2C offered by Mompriest:

Entering the Advent journey is an invitation to travel, intentionally, into the wilderness – the dark night of the soul. One hopes that the Church guides this journey offering opportunities to pray, ponder, stirred up, conflicted. John, the desert prophet, proclaims the burning chaff, the background to our Christmas shopping. Advent sings of incongruous images - new birth and end of life, the Alpha and the Omega, of oppression and freedom, of despair and ultimately of hope. The path is uneven and twisted, spiraling in to the depths of our being, certain we are lost. And then, quietly, the Spirit of God calls to us, “Awake, arise, my love, my dear one.” The early morning desert sun illuminates the way - through the valley to Jordan’s bank - our God is near. Awake and hearken, let each heart prepare a place for the Word to break in, a child to come anew, whispering peace into you and me. Come, our long expected One, come.

Within in our darkest night
A starless chill
Calling, “Emmanuel
Oh where, are you?”

Within our deepest soul
Astounding one
Cries in the wilderness
the way of the Lord!”

Within our darkest night
A still small spark
Hark! The glad sound calls out
Awake!” Jerusalem

Rise up and give walk in light
from darkest night -
Our Daystar comes, the night

Dispelled, every valley filled,
mountain low, the rough made
A light, a light bathes bright

Discard the garment, sorrow
Arise! Put on the robe
with love and mercy

Questions to ponder:

John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, describes our spiritual journey as a process of moving from desire for God, to conflict with God, to contemplation and peace with God. (Go here for more on this idea.) Many consider this process to be a spiral not linear. Based on these three "states" where are you in your faith journey?

Does the mystery of Advent invite you into deeper reflection on your relationship with God?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Advent Reading

"The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Jeremiah 33:14-16

The prophet Jeremiah did not have an easy time of it, and I have felt some affinity with him over the past fifteen months. According to Wikipedia*, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that Jeremiah's book is written as if he not only heard as words, but personally felt in his body and emotions, the experience of what he prophesied; that the verse, "Are not all my words as fire, sayeth the LORD, and a hammer that shatters rock" was a clue as to how difficult the overwhelming, personality-shattering experience of being a vehicle for Divine revelation was; and how difficult it was to be able to see, in advance, one's own failure.

And yet here he is, that crusty, anguished, irritable prophet who never seems to cease arguing with God, speaking words of hope and promise.

*Which contains no citation but ~ I like what it says and this is just a blog so ~ I'll go with it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Almost Advent

"Being shaken awake is entirely appropriate to thoughts and experiences of Advent. . . . It is precisely in the severity of this awakening , in the helplessness of coming to consciousness, in the wretchedness of experiencing our limitations that the golden threads running between heaven and earth during this season reach us; the threads that give the world a hint of the abundance to which it is called, the abundance of which it is capable."

Alfred Delp, S.J.
Written in Tegel Prison, Berlin
December 1944

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Advent ~ Not Quite Yet

Welcome Back!

This blog is about to get itself back into gear.

I was sort of vaguely wondering what to do about it, pondering a new one called something like Praying Advent through Dark Gray. I was thinking that the world does not seem quite so dark and hopeless this year.

And then I happened to come across another blog (I have no idea whose or where) in which the writer talks about how no matter how bad things are, no matter how despondent we feel, Advent always brightens things up.



Just the reading of that and I could feel the darkness right there, lurking oppressively just beyond the fire circle that I've been tending all year. And I realized that the upcoming season, with its anticipation and its energy and its busy-ness is going to feel ~ awful. Still.

So. Praying through darkness it will be again.
Perhaps more beautiful this year, though.

Back in a couple of weeks.

(Image here.)