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Entries in Advent (11)


Weekly Pause &  Ponder

1 Corinthians calls us to wait expectantly for the revelation of the Christ.  The revelation of the Christ comes in time, through evolution, but it’s not automatic.  We’re also called to think.  Advent calls us to re-pent; the actual meaning of which, in Greek, is re-think.  Our conscious expansion of awareness of the divine presence – how God lives and acts among us in our time – helps incarnate the Mystery we call Christ. 

Ilia Delio.  “Advent in the New Universe Story 2014,” 


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




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


Georgia's Poppies

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. (Georgia O’Keeffe) Georgia O’Keeffe, a pioneer of modern art, is famous for her close range paintings of flowers in the 1920’s. Her intention was to get busy New Yorkers to see what she saw. Her paintings of flowers, especially the poppies (1928)* are compelling, as they are bold, rich in color, and take us to the very center. Her work radiated light, energy and awe, as she expressed more than the flower, but the essence of the flower. O’Keeffe, like so many other outstanding artists in history, was pointing us to something greater and beyond the obvious. In a similar way, St John the Baptist and Jesus pointed to “another,” greater than themselves, for us to seek and follow.

At Christmas we highlight significant people in our lives by searching out a nice gift for them. Through them we receive and manifest Christ’s light, love, wisdom, healing and hope. Meister Eckhart once said, “What good is it that Christ was born 2.000 years ago if he is not now born in your heart”. So the tradition of gift giving is an opportunity to celebrate not only Christ born 2000 years ago, but the divine presence experienced in loved ones with whom we are committed in life’s journey.

While we keep certain traditions alive, we cannot ignore the growing, deep conviction that something new is being born. At this time in history we are entering into a new frontier and more vast relationships with space surrounding our world. Research tells us the cosmos is bigger and grander than we ever imagined. Mystery and sense of the sacred abounds. Our circle of relationships takes on new responsibility. The evolving Mystery and meaning of the Divine, challenges our knowing, as it did when O’Keeffe painted her flowers. We are now awakened and building on the rise of a new consciousness.

Identify two qualities of the Divine that you witness in one significant person in your life that you will remember in a special way this Christmas

John Rutter and Cambridge College Singers – Look At the World -
   https://youtu.be/Rb0g-  npfVcI?list=PLIgiJuhPPH7e9w9UMhiKCS6a-QdZ6TV91  


Spiritual Ministries Network of the Sisters of St. Joseph and Associates of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada – London Site

Text: Sister Patricia St. Louis, CSJ

*Oriental Poppies 1928 is now a part of a collection at the University of Minnesota Art Museum, Minneapolis. Found at: http://www.georgiaokeeffe.net/oriental-poppies.jsp




Living into Sabbath

The season of Winter calls us to quiet waiting on life hidden in the dark earth. The liturgical season of Advent similarly invites stillness as we await the re- birth of Christ in our hearts and world; Christ ever-present and yet to come.

The Biblical Tradition echoes the patterns of Earth. Wendell Berry says the Tradition “elevates just stopping above physiological necessity, makes it a requirement, an observance of the greatest dignity and mystery”. It is called, Sabbath. Sabbath is an essential part of the evolutionary and spiritual process. It is a time set aside to honour creation according to the very patterns of creation. We humans must make a choice. Berry asks, “Will we choose to participate by working in accordance with the world’s originating principles, in recognition of its inherent goodness and its maker’s approval of it, in gratitude for our membership in it, or will we participate by destroying it in accordance with our always tottering, never-resting self-justifications and selfish desires?”

These are strong words and yet what a beautiful reflection for living winter and for entering fully into the season of Advent this year.  Earth and Tradition call us into a time of rest and reflection – a time of joy. In his beautiful book, “Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight”, Norman Wirzba says, “Just as God’s Shabbat completes the creation of the Universe – by demonstrating that the proper response to the gifts of life is celebration and delight – so too should our Sabbaths be the culmination of habits and days that express gratitude for a joy in the manifold blessings of God.”  

Without a sense and practice of Sabbath how easy it is to forget the gifts of God and to enter into restless, joyless and destructive patterns of being. The personal, social and ecological costs of forgetting Sabbath, Norman Wizba maintains are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. They include stressful living to the point of breaking, a loss of meaningful relationship, a lack of peace, the destruction of Earth and its accompanying rise in human poverty and suffering.

So we are invited to reclaim a sense and practice of Sabbath. Winter and Advent, our waiting times, provide the best opportunities by calling us to rest in the rhythms of life. We are gently challenged to remember who we are and who we are called to be. Like plants that will yield fruit in the Spring only if they lie dormant in Winter we are invited to a fallow season. Wayne Muller writes of this most beautifully; “We must have a period in which we lie fallow and restore our souls. In Sabbath time we remember to celebrate what is beautiful and sacred; we light candles, sing songs, tell stories, eat, nap, love. It is a time to let our work, our lands, our animals lie fallow, to be nourished and refreshed. Within this sanctuary, we become available to the insights and blessings of deep mindfulness that arise only in stillness and time. When we act from a place of deep rest, we are more capable of cultivating what the Buddhists call right understanding, right action and right effort.” May this Winter, this Advent be for us such a contemplative time; a time for God, a time for Earth, a time for one another, a time for gratitude that when Christmas comes we can once again birth Christ in the World in peace and joy. Earth teach us the way! Word of God, guide us!

Mary Rowell, CSJ



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