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ADVENT REFLECTION: Wait And Prepare by Enuma Okoro

From Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent Part Two: Preparation and Laboring With God’s Promises The psalmist pleads with God, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day [...]

Advent prayers

  • Third Sunday Of Advent by Mitch Finley
    From Season of Promises God says, “Do not blame yourself too much, thinking that your trouble and distress is all your fault. For it is not my will that you should be unduly sad and despondent.” (Julia of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love) You got trouble and distress, I got trouble and distress, all God’s children got trouble and distress.  So don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.  Thing is, it is not God’s will that we should feel bummed out all the time.  Someone said, “A sad [...]

Advent poetry

Advent reflections

  • Advent Day 14 Personal Reflection by Enuma Okoro
    From Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent Waiting is difficult business.  Sometimes the hardest work is staying still and trusting that God works even in silence.  We want the confirmation of burning bushes, pillars of fire, and visiting angels.  That is not the stuff of ordinary life, but it does not mean that miracles are outdated or that we cannot expect God to speak new and even unbelievable possibility into our individual and collective lives.  There is something to be [...]

Advent meditations

  • All Come Together Before God by Phillips Brooks
    And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. (Revelation 20:12) “The dead, small and great,” Saint John says that he saw standing before God.  In that great judgment day, another truth is that the difference of sizes among human lives, of which we make so much, passes away, and all human beings, in simple virtue of their human quality, are called to face the everlasting righteousness.  The child and the greybeard, the scholar and the boor, however their lives [...]

Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see?” This is the one about whom scripture says: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare the way before you.” (Luke 7:24-30)

 

Yesterday I went to see the Christmas program at my old school out in Richardson. I wasn’t going to go. The weather was horrible; the traffic would be bumper-to-bumper, and I would feel like I was stalking my old stomping grounds. I hesitated throughout the entire time I was in my car. But I had promised the kids and like so many times in my life, I was so happy that I did. The kids were wonderful, hilarious, silly, and goofy! The elementary school children were decked out with their reindeer suits and little antlers. Others were dressed like penguins. Some not too larger than the actual ones! In the end, they sang their hearts out to their moms and dads and to the baby Jesus. Oh, the beauty of a Roman Catholic education and school!

 

During the program, some middle-school students quietly approached me to invite me to say, hello, to the others. Of course I went along with them. Once I arrived near the front of the sanctuary, the music director announced over the microphone, to my embarrassment, that I had arrived and that I was standing off to the side. I cannot begin to express to you how happy I was at the reception I received. It was a wonderful reminder of why I chose to follow the Lord: I was looking for something in the desert.

 

Often we think of the desert of consisting solely of sand domes and reeds swaying in the stifling heat. But the desert could also consist of seeing day-in and day-out the same things over and over again.

 

I fear that far too many of us live in the desert. We work ten hours a day, we work with the same people, sit in the same chair, and work in front of the same computer day-in and day-out. Our business is to be consistent. How awful the assembly lines of old must have been. How mindless Ford must have been when he came up with the very efficient but very inhuman assembly line. We have been trained since kindergarten to think that life consists of working, eating, sleeping, and playing.

 

What did you go out to the desert to see? What message did you expect to receive? I believe the message for all of us is this: there is more to living than working, eating, sleeping, and playing. There is the delight of surprise. There is the attraction of mystery. There is God’s kingdom in the midst of the desert. There is God’s job for you in the midst of your job in the desert.

 

A simple superintendent at a small public school has gotten himself into a lot of trouble by putting up a nativity scene. As soon as he received threats from the ACLU the crèche went down; but as soon as he received free legal/financial support to defend it, the crèche went back up. Most schools buckle to the ACLU for one reason alone: financial. But when someone steps up with financial guarantees, then the ACLU will not take the case – it’s not worth it. This superintendent has discovered something in his job: a higher calling, the bigger picture, a greater vision.

 

We can all receive the higher calling. We can all work for the bigger boss. We can all prepare the way of the Lord from our simple office, our everyday computer terminal, our mundane ten-hour-a-day job. All we have to do is be the prophet, priest, and king he baptized us to be in the middle of the desert.

 

(Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse)

Thomas Merton’s voice

The Gardener of Gethsemani

 

There was an old Father at Gethsemani. He was absolutely obsessed with gardening, but he had an abbot for a long time who insisted he should do anything but gardening, on principle. Finally, when the old abbot died and the new abbot came in, it was tacitly understood that Father Stephen was never going to do anything except gardening, and so he just gardened from morning to night. He never came to Office, never came to anything, he just dug in his garden. He put his whole life into this and everybody sort of laughed at it.

 

He didn’t have to be unusual that way: that was the way it panned out. This was a development that was frustrated, diverted into a funny little channel, but the real meaning of our life is to develop people who really love God and who radiate love, not in a sense that they feel a great deal of love, but that they simply are people full of love who keep the fires of love burning in the world. For that they have to be fully themselves – real people.

 

(Thomas Merton in Alaska)