The Journey of the soul
We are going to travel with Mary to Bethlehem. She waits for the coming of her baby whilst attending to ‘business’ – the need to register with her husband for tax purposes. Always amidst life. “ Life is not the gap between appointments, but the appointments themselves.” In fact, we can travel with each character in the story - Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, Herod, Zechariah and Elizabeth. The signs are gathering. They point to a God who is on the move. In coming to earth in such a physical and personal way we are reminded of the place of the everyday into which Jesus steps. The practice of contemplation is about seeing God in all things, the everyday routine and the extraordinary and the Christmas narrative is a perfect example of this marriage. We still ourselves, we wait and we watch. Let's use this time allow a space to be hollowed out in us for the stirring of Christ, the arrival of the Christ. Silence or stilling ensures that we do not live on the circumference of our lives but descend to its centre, drawing in our fragmented selves with God. We practice stillness and silence to notice and re-collect. We become aware of the signs in and around us – environment, emotions, thoughts, behaviours of self and others. This is the crucible of the Spirit. How am I? Where is God? These are the two questions that sit beneath this silence. This journey is a journey of the soul, inward, outward and together. Do you feel closer to any one character and their journey than another? The tirdness of Mary, the public discomfort of Joseph, the bewilderment of the shepherds, the surprise of Elizabeth?
Below is a series of meditations for each day in Advent, viewable on screen or printed out as a pdf file. You can do this by yourself or with friends or family. Start with lighting an Adventcandle, read (together?) the Opening Prayer. Then read a section of the narrative . Each day we sit in silence. Perhaps you could each day add 1 minute to your silence as a way of simulate journeying closer and closer to Bethlehem. Choose your units of time according to the appetite and stamina of you and your family! Imagine yourself in the story. Who are you? Cycle through your senses. What do you see, touch, taste, hear and smell? Finally share what you have received and end with reading a blessing to the 16th and the O Antiphons from the 17th.
Click below for each day's READING:
1st December - Geneologies: Hands and feet 2nd December - Storytelling 3rd December - A journey with a twist 4th December - Prospects 5th December - The softening of a heart 6th December - Speechless 7th December - A messenger 8th December - Receiving the gaze of love9th December - There's nothing to fear 10th December - How? 11th December - Did you know?12th December - Let it be with me as you say 13th December - What's stirring? 14th December - Exuberance 15th December - Waves of mercy 16th December - The champion 17th December - A deep, reverential fear 18th December - Without a care in the world 19th December - One foot at a time 20th December - Sensual and earthy 21st December - The mystery of time 22nd December - For everybody, worldwide 23rd December - The helpless God 24th December - Heaven and earth joined together
Advent 2010 reflections....
The Christ, God himself, is within reach. Heaven and earth are joined, as is right
A Saviour has just been born in David's town, a Saviour who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." (Luke 2:11-12)
O come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind; Bid our sad divisions cease, And be our King of Peace.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2
I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open. Isaiah 22:22
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's Sunrise will break in upon us, Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.
Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he came and set his people free.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding. Isaiah 11:2-3
He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold.
She (Elizabeth) was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly, You're so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And Mary said, I see it all now: I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me as you say. Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38)
"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God." (Luke 1:36-37)
Upon entering, Gabriel greeted Mary: Good morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, inside and out! God be with you. (Luke 1:28)
Faithful living, patient diligence. A journey with a twist for ageing Elizabeth and Zechariah.
The genealogies are another way of telling a story, for in the names and progression are carried the swell of salvation history.