Monday, November 24, 2014

Advent Approaches

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

--Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4

Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise.  In my end is my

--T.S. Eliot

Behold, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation:  the great season of Advent.  This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced to see.  This is the season that the church has always celebrated with special solemnity.  We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering peace and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery.

--Charles Borromeo

Advent is the time for rousing.  We are shaken to the very depths, so that we may walk up to the truth of ourselves.  The primary condition for a fruitful and rewarding Advent is renunciation, surrender.  We must let go of all our mistaken dreams, our conceited poses and arrogant gestures, all the pretenses with which we hope to deceive ourselves and others.  If we fail to do this, stark reality may take hold of us and rouse us so forcibly in a way that will entail both anxiety and suffering.

--Alfred Delp

The reign of God, the eschatological liberation of the world, is already in process. is already being established.  It takes place in concrete modifications of actual life.

--Leonardo Boff

The day after Thanksgiving the New York Times told of a 33-year-old local cab driver whose shoulder-length hair was tied in a ponytail.  (Don't get distracted by the ponytail!)  About five years ago, this cabby "prayed to God for guidance on how to help the forgotten people of the streets who exist in life's shadows."  As he recalls it, God replied:  "Make eight pounds of spaghetti, throw it in a pot, give it out on 103rd Street and Broadway with no conditions, and people will come."  He did, they came, and now he goes from door to door giving people food to eat.

I am not asking you to stuff the Big Apple with spaghetti.  But a New York cabby can bring light into your Advent night.  He prayed to a God who was there; he listened; he gave the simple gift God asked of him; he gave "with no conditions"; and people responded.  Here is your Advent:  Make the Christ who has come a reality, a living light, in your life and in some other life.  Give of one dark soul...with no conditions.

--Walter J. Burghardt

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