Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Longings

The Advent Wreath at Saint Benedict's Monastery
Two days ago was the First Sunday of Advent and we are reminded that inevitably we are moving toward the shortest day of the year - there is no stopping the clock!  I discovered a long time ago that short days and darkness are not always my friends at this time of the year.Yet each year lighted candles on the Advent wreath and lights on the Christmas tree reawaken in me a longing to be still, to look deeply into the dark of my soul just as I imagine the darkness of the womb might be for the new life being created there.  Is it the same for my soul?  Is there always new life being created in the deepest recesses of my being?

There is a little book that came out a year ago titled The Long Winter's Night and written by a priest of the diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska.  The author tells us that when he was assigned to Alaska, like so many before him, he imagined himself sitting by the fire wrapped in a quilt in the long dark days and nights of winter with a stack of books by his side. That did not happen, of course, but I believe that he is telling us that those long dark days can be pregnant with life if only we would choose to befriend the exterior darkness and sit in the cave of our heart. One thing is certain: we must not anticipate spring too soon, at least not until the life we are carrying is ready to be brought forth to the light. A poet puts it so well,
"Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck
betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star
agleam to guide us"
During this season of Advent may you nourish the longings of your heart by being blessed with times of quiet and deep listening.
Hélène Mercier, OSB

No comments:

Post a Comment