Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Advent Thoughts

Winter’s Wisdom is the title of the booklet I’m using this year as my Advent “guide.”

the guide I used during Lent, this Advent one is also published by the Congregation of St. Joseph, and was given to me as part of my journey with the consociate program of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province. (I began the process of becoming a CSJ consociate last May, and will complete it in May of 2008.)

Writes Barbara Szulc, CSJ Associate, in the introduction to Winter’s Wisdom:

During Advent, we gather in darkness and tell stories of light. We rest uncomfortably in stillness and the uncertainty of darkness challenges us. We may prefer to fast-forward into the beautiful sights and sounds awaiting us, but know faithful listening brings wisdom, insight, and knowledge. Instead, we pause long enough to discover and become our truest selves, allowing transformation through God revealed to the world in Jesus of Nazareth. We gaze into our midnight sky with hope and begin the journey toward Light, which lures and calls us into oneness through community. . . . The gift of contemplation is peace. Reflect, renew, listen, discover, and become. Shine brightly and walk peacefully to the manager, where Love welcomes all.

Comprised of daily Scripture readings and insightful reflections by Sisters and Associates/Consociates of the Order, the hope of Winter’s Wisdom is that “both writers and readers [will] be strengthened and blessed by deepening relationships as we travel through this Advent Season together.”

I particularly resonate with the December 10 reflection by Judy Cannato, CSJ Associate, who, in reflecting on Isaiah 35:1 (“The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom”) and Luke 5: 17-26 (Jesus’ curing of the paralyzed man) writes:

Today we are invited to imagine the impossible. We are invited to abandon our normal way of perceiving and look through grace-filled eyes. We are asked to imagine parched land moist, feeble hands strong, blind eyes filled with vision, and arid desert in bloom. We are asked to imagine fear withered away

But God’s vision for creation will not emerge without our participation. Ramakrishna once said: “The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.” This is what the friends of the paralyzed man do in today’s gospel. They raise the sail and are swept along in a movement of grace that changes everything about who they are in God and who God is in them. Surprisingly, they learn that every moment of grace is a movement of reconciliation. To forgive and be forgiven is to be reconciled, to return to the unity that is God’s vision and our hope.

Cannato concludes her reflection with the following prayer:

Holy One, every prayer for healing is a prayer for reconciliation and unity, a prayer for forgiveness for failing to see the truth: that we are co-creators with you. Help us to see that we are asked to give birth to you in the world by engaging the grace that is everywhere present. Amen.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Lenten Journey
Palm Sunday Around the World
He is Risen!
The Triumph of Love - An Easter Reflection
The Ascension
Corpus Christi
The Sacred Heart: “Mystical Symbol of Love”
What We Can Learn from the Story of the Magi
A Christmas Reflection by James Carroll

Image: Michael Bayly.

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