One of the few books I brought over with me from the U.S. to Australia was the Congregation of St. Joseph’s 2008 collection of Advent reflections, Winter’s Wisdom.
True, it’s a rather incongruent title given that it’s summer here in Australia! But, be that as it may, it’s a great little booklet full of numerous and profound insights into God’s presence in our daily life.
I particularly resonated with yesterday’s reflection by Diane Dean, CSJ Associate. It’s a reflection that focuses on “the gift God gives us with God’s presence in humanity” and the need to cultivate an “Olive Grove,” i.e., time and space to reconnect with this sacred gift within and around us.
Following is an excerpt from Dean’s reflection, accompanied by images of the Australian landscape surrounding “Swallow’s Ledge,” my parents’ condo - a landscape that’s currently serving as my “Olive Grove.”
God experiences “up close and personal” our human distress, adversity, and afflictions, and spends His ministry hearing the sound of our cries, being gracious to us, healing us, and binding our wounds.
In her most recent book, The Road to Cana, Anne Rice pictures Jesus as a young man becoming aware of His Divinity and of His coming ministry. He is deeply affected by the cruelty and pain He sees in Nazareth and the surrounding villages. To renew Himself he frequently visits an olive grove where He reunites Himself with His Universal Being. While her story is fiction, the book is a lovely reminder of how deeply Jesus was both human and divine, and how He was as affected as we are by the distress in our communities.
We too are called to be gracious to one another and hear the cries of and heal one another’s wounds. We cannot be effective in this “call” without an “Olive Grove” as a sanctuary to renew our connection to this gracious God.
- Diane Dean, CSJ Associate
Winter’s Wisdom: Advent 2008
Congregation of St. Joseph
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
My Advent Prayer for the Church
The Centered Life as an Advent Life
Thomas Merton on the Advent Mystery
For more images of the beautiful terrain of and around Port Macquarie, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Solitary Ramble
A Summer Afternoon