Posts tagged ‘reflection’
I love today’s Advent reading from The Song of Songs – Song of Songs 2:18-14. And certainly the sight of a young stag peering through the window would evoke delight and surprise.
May your Christmas days – all twelve of them – be filled with delightful surprise.
Hark! My lover – here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks: he says to me
“Arise, my beloved, my dove,
my beautiful one, and come!
For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise by beloved, by beautiful one,
O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.
Let Us Catch the Changing Seasons
It is a spectacular thing when cacti blossom! The flowers have a way of overshadowing the cactus, and in the stark landscape of the desert, we can be overcome by their beauty. It is wonderful to catch the changing of the seasons by seeing the bloom of the cactus.
And really when we can catch the change of any season, it is amazing! To catch the color of the leaves in autumn – to catch the ice crystals hanging from a tree – to catch the butterfly emerging from its cocoon – to catch the warm sun on long summer nights. When we truly catch these moments and allow them into our souls, we just might “rejoice with joyful song.”
Today’s Advent reading comes from the Prophet Isaiah.
The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.
While the stores are all decked out in their Christmas attire, our churches are holding out and putting out blue or purple and an Advent wreath. And just what is Advent? I like how Richard Rohr, OFM, puts it in his book, Preparing for Christmas.
“[I try] to invite people beyond a merely understanding of Christmas as “waiting for the baby Jesus” to an adult and social appreciation of the message of the Incarnation of God in Christ. We Franciscans have always believed that the Incarnation was already the Redemption, because in Jesus’ birth God was already saying that it was good to be human, and God was on our side.”
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 139. And on Friday it is one of our readings – the Responsorial Psalm.
Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.
Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
On those days when we are face to face with our own failures – when we feel weak and defeated – we can take heart and reflect on these words from Friday’s reading is from 1 Corinthians 15:
“By the grace of God I am what I am; God’s grace to me has not been ineffective.”
These are the words of a man, the apostle Paul, who saw his failing and who had to reconcile with his intolerant and murderous past. These are the words of a man who saw God working through his weaknesses. So we, like him, need to be patient; it is not always clear to us what God is about.
May each of us also be able to look beyond our failures and near-misses, and see God at work.
When we were in our chapel at morning prayer, I noted how the reading in our breviary (Thursday, Week III) complemented the Gospel reading for the day in which we are admonished to give, forgive, and to not judge.
Let us look at our own shortcomings and leave other people’s alone; for those who live carefully ordered lives are apt to be shocked at everything and we might well learn very important lessons from the persons who shock us. Our outward comportment and behaviour may be better than theirs, but this, though good, is not the most important thing: there is no reason why we should expect everyone else to travel by our own road, and we should not attempt to point them to the spiritual path when perhaps we do not know what it is. . . It is better to attempt to . . . live in silence and in hope, and [God] will take care of [God's] own.
-St. Teresa of Avila (from People’s Companion to the Breviary)
In Wednesday’s Gospel from Luke 4 we read,
At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
We would all do well to find
- some quiet time
- some morning time before the day crowds around us
- in some deserted place.
It would benefit our hearts, our minds, our spirits, our bodies, and our relationships.