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Weekly Pause &  Ponder

I am the one for whom God waits!

I am awaiting the One who is awaiting me!

Embrace the season of winter with hope.  It is a good teacher.  It will lead you to your inmost depths where God is contemplating you.

 - Macrina Wiederkehr

taken from The Circle of Life  by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr




Gospel Reflection for the Second Sunday of  Advent

The familiar cry of John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord strikes a new chord in me as I listen to current issues and policies that tend to divide and tear apart our society.  How can the paths be made straight in our world that is threatened by conflict, pollution, the rise of dangerous populism and a host of other crises?  To what does this Gospel passage call me in this Advent season of waiting in hope for the coming of the kingdom.  As I become more aware of the power and privilege I hold just because I am a middle -class white person, I am challenged to look more deeply into my relationship with the poor and marginalized in our society.  Traditionally the focus has been on sharing our material abundance with those who do not have at this time, in order to bring joy and peace in the Christmas season.  And this practice continues with astounding generosity and ample good will.  But is there more to the way of the Lord at this time?

In my reflection on the symbols of this Gospel reading, the mountains and hills are where I find myself as part of our white middle-class culture that is favoured by the structures and policies of our society.  The valley holds the poor and disenfranchised, those we traditionally reach out to.  The crooked ways contain those who are without direction, and the rough ways are for those who face difficult challenges in life.  To make the paths straight, it is necessary for the mountains to be brought low, for the safe and secure to leave a place of comfort  and contentment, not just to share goods but to share life with the poor, the lost and the struggling.  The valleys of pain and despair will be filled, the crooked ways made straight and the rough paths smooth when we walk in friendship, not just at Christmas, but in a lasting relationship with someone we see now as different because they don’t live by our norms.  In the meantime, we can be more attentive to the language we use, and the attitudes we express about our brothers and sisters we don’t usually mingle with.  We can become more informed about poverty issues, refugee struggles or gay rights so that we can challenge poor-bashing or distrust of those who are different.  The way of Jesus is a path of unity, and begins with entering into a relationship with one who stands apart from you for a host of reasons.  We wait in hope for the kingdom. Perhaps we are called today to take a step toward creating that kingdom as we prepare the way of the Lord. 

- Sister Joan Driscoll, csj


Weekly Pause &  Ponder

Advent is not about a sentimental waiting for the Baby Jesus….   Advent is about a time to focus our expectations and anticipation on “the Adult Christ, the Cosmic Christ,” who challenges us to empty ourselves, to lose ourselves, to surrender.

- Preparing for Christmas, Daily Meditations for Advent by Richard Rohr


Let Darkness Bury the  Dead

Maureen Jennings’ mystery, Let Darkness Bury the Dead, (2017) is a Murdock Mystery. I did not choose this novel because of the story, but rather because I like Maureen Jennings’ writing and the Murdock character she has created.  It turned out that the novel is a story of the First World War, 100 years ago. I finished reading the novel just before Remembrance Day.

This story presents a very good description of the hardships and horrors of the Great War as well as a vivid portrayal of Victorian life in Toronto Ontario.

Murdock’s young son, 21 years old, has returned from France having personally experienced the scars of battle along with his friend who also is suffering from the horror of war. Meanwhile, Murdock, a senior detective, is called upon to solve a series of murders of men who were exempted from conscription. The author has woven the details of the events of the war into the story in a way that captivates the reader.   

Poetry and historical excerpts also play an important part in the telling of this story. It is a very interesting read.

- Sr. Valerie Van Cauwenberghe, csj




Ribbons of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love

are woven into the Advent wreath.


I pray that the God of our waiting will weave these ribbons into

my own anxious heart.


The present moment and how fully I receive it

will become my practice this day.


God help me to remember to breathe and tell myself

that I do have enough time, energy, patience and resources.


Help me to remember the ribbon of giving and receiving,

the everlasting ribbon

combining action and contemplation

and remind me

to give equal time to contemplation, quiet and silence.


Help me to learn how fertile is this winter darkness

when I surrender to its embrace.


O Ribbons of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love,

weave yourselves into my heart, mind and soul

this Advent season,


So that I may be willing to embrace the hope, peace, joy and love

You offer me each moment.

-        Marg Maheu, Associate, Sarnia Medaille group

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Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.