photo credit: Federica Cecchi
Happy Holidays is what to say during Advent
Advent fasting started in 1166 before the Feast of the Nativity
Consumerism does violence to our inner world
The Return of light
Countdown to Christmas calendars
Three POEMS -
R S Thomas
The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
Persisting in hope and waiting through the darkness/obscurity/mystery
"Let This Darkness be a Bell Tower"
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows
(from "Sonnets to Orpheus" II, 29)
Jorge Luis Borges .
A man who, as Voltaire wished, cultivates his garden.
He who is grateful that music exists on earth.
He who discovers an etymology with pleasure.
A pair in a Southern café, enjoying a silent game of chess.
The potter meditating on colour and form.
The typographer who set this, though perhaps not pleased.
A man and a woman reading the last triplets of a certain canto.
He who is stroking a sleeping creature.
He who justifies, or seeks to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for Stevenson’s existence.
He who prefers the others to be right.
These people, without knowing, are saving the world.
Give a Christmas gift here
Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed the episode.
Of the themes of Advent that you heard in the episode-or elsewhere-what feels most resonant with you, right now?
(some of the themes: hope, peace, love, faithfulness, Christ, waiting, expectancy, persistence, darkness, mystery, patience, doubt, wonder, faith, perseverance, contemplation, reverence, obscurity, journey, fasting, awaiting, joy, light)
How might you explore this theme a bit more deeply in this time before Christmas (or if Christmas season is finished - during the next few weeks)
Which of the poems or (portion of a poem) caught your attention most, and why?
Would you consider doing some form of fasting during the month of December as a spiritual practice beneficial for your life? If so, why?
What sort of fasting or Advent Season spiritual practice would be the most meaningful to you? (refraining from an indulgence or luxury, an activity, a meal, an act of sacrifice, an act of service, etc.)