This fourth Sunday of Advent is also International Migration Day
In today’s liturgy, we meet Joseph, accepting Mary into his home, never imagining a future consequence will be their flight into Egypt. Paul had probably not pictured himself being shipwrecked several times when he began proclaiming the gospel in Rome and elsewhere among the Gentiles. In a similar way, Cornelia, on her marriage to Pierce in December 1831, did not foresee spending half her life on a different continent, without the husband and children she loved.
The UN, through the International Organization for Migration, is suggesting a Candlelight Vigil as “a renewed opportunity to increase awareness on drivers of migration, and most importantly, to shift the narrative of migration towards a positive recognition of the many ways migrants contribute to host societies.
The candlelight should become the symbol of our solidarity with migrants and their families and remind us that for many, migration is often the only sliver of light left for millions of people around the world.”
Gaudate (rejoicing) Sunday – Third Sunday of Advent
In the preface to a book of meditations, Cornelia reflected on the paradox that there can be “abundant jubilee of heart not bargained for in this life of accepted suffering…”
In similar vein, the fourteenth century Persian Sufi poet, Hafiz, likening our path to a chess game with God, wrote about how a saint
… is now continually
tripping over Joy
and bursting out in Laughter
and saying ‘I Surrender’.
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
you have a thousand serious moves.
In more prosaic tone, the author, Anne Lamott, reminds us that “joy is the best makeup!”
Second Sunday of Advent
Cornelia advised the young teachers in the Society to work with the students “step by step and line by line”. The response for today’s psalm, “let justice flourish”, reminds us that such growth is largely incremental, action by action.
In her poem Making Peace, Denise Levertov speaks of the work of poets to:
imagination of peace…
But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid…
A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light — facets
of the forming crystal.
First Sunday of Advent
So ought all to begin again… wrote Cornelia Connelly — and to set out, start afresh, launch, initiate, introduce, find a new rhythm, awaken, try something new is what the Church invites us to do in this season.
May we let ourselves move into what writer and broadcaster, Brian Draper, described as the holy disruption of what might emerge.
Advent Video Meditation
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A three and a half minute reflection about the Liturgical Season of Advent to prepare our hearts for Christmas.