Weekly Scripture

First Sunday of Advent: Woken at Advent

Advent means arrival. The three and a half to four weeks of Advent, coming in mid-winter when much of nature is hibernating, is a prolonged call to ‘wake up’; to the reality of God. God is ‘unreal’ for many today. This time of awakening culminates at Christmas when Christians wake up to the arrival of God in human form on earth. A story from the East goes like this. ‘Abbot, what has God’s wisdom taught you? Did you become divine?’ ‘Not at all.’ ‘Did you become a saint?’ ‘No, as you can clearly see.’ ‘What then O Abbot?’ ‘I became awake!’ The Abbot might have been reading this gospel where Jesus calls half a dozen times in one chapter to wake up and be watchful and alert. ‘Most people are half asleep or living in a world of lies and illusions’ says Dominican theologian Albert Nolan.  ‘There’s a strong movement today throughout Christianity of returning to the contemplative tradition to which a growing number of people are drawn. Contemplation is described today as a form of awareness or consciousness. It’s the experience of waking up to reality, and having a deeper consciousness of the presence of God in everything’ (1). Bernard McGinn the renowned scholar of Christian spirituality defines it as ‘the transformation of consciousness through an encounter with God’ (2). The Advent scriptures are designed to lead us to immersion in the great mystery of who Jesus is - the mystery of God, the mystery of life, the mysteries of our faith. The Advent figure of the great prophet Isaiah awakens us to hope and trust and confidence in God. Waking up to the message dissolves the stresses and strains of life. We discover that the thoughts, plans, fears, resentments, conflicts and desires that often stalk our heads and hearts tone down; storms give way to the calm waters of that inner peace so much desired by people today. Waking up to the mystery of Jesus Christ is the fruit of much reflection and quiet centering prayer, and allowing ourselves to be imbued with the sacred scriptures.  ‘Advent reminds us that God’s ways are not our own. It asks us to take a realistic look at who we are, people in need of God’s grace - people who need to be sure of God’s approval. In this season, we start all over again to be reminded of the good news that our hope is in Jesus Christ’ (3). Fr. QQ - 25/11/2020 (1)  Albert Nolan, HOPE IN AN AGE OF DESPAIR, p. 26 (2) Bernard McGinn, THE MYSTICAL THOUGHT OF MEISTER ECKHART: THE MAN FROM WHOM GOD HID NOTHING (3) Kathleen Norris, THIS DAY (Dec 2017), p. 43 Image: liturgytools.net
© 2020 Carmelite Monastery of St Joseph, Kilmacud, Co. Dublin, A94 YY 33, Ireland Registered Charity in Ireland    CHY 6210 Hosted by Blacknight Made with Xara
St. Joseph’s Carmel
© 2020 Carmelite Monastery of St Joseph, Kilmacud, Co. Dublin, A94 YY 33, Ireland Registered Charity in Ireland    CHY 6210 Hosted by Blacknight Made with Xara

First Sunday of Advent: Woken at

Advent

Advent means arrival. The three and a half to four weeks of Advent, coming in mid-winter when much of nature is hibernating, is a prolonged call to ‘wake up’; to the reality of God. God is ‘unreal’ for many today. This time of awakening culminates at Christmas when Christians wake up to the arrival of God in human form on earth. A story from the East goes like this. ‘Abbot, what has God’s wisdom taught you? Did you become divine?’ ‘Not at all.’ ‘Did you become a saint?’ ‘No, as you can clearly see.’ ‘What then O Abbot?’ ‘I became awake!’ The Abbot might have been reading this gospel where Jesus calls half a dozen times in one chapter to wake up and be watchful and alert. ‘Most people are half asleep or living in a world of lies and illusions’ says Dominican theologian Albert Nolan.  ‘There’s a strong movement today throughout Christianity of returning to the contemplative tradition to which a growing number of people are drawn. Contemplation is described today as a form of awareness or consciousness. It’s the experience of waking up to reality, and having a deeper consciousness of the presence of God in everything’ (1). Bernard McGinn the renowned scholar of Christian spirituality defines it as ‘the transformation of consciousness through an encounter with God’ (2). The Advent scriptures are designed to lead us to immersion in the great mystery of who Jesus is - the mystery of God, the mystery of life, the mysteries of our faith. The Advent figure of the great prophet Isaiah awakens us to hope and trust and confidence in God. Waking up to the message dissolves the stresses and strains of life. We discover that the thoughts, plans, fears, resentments, conflicts and desires that often stalk our heads and hearts tone down; storms give way to the calm waters of that inner peace so much desired by people today. Waking up to the mystery of Jesus Christ is the fruit of much reflection and quiet centering prayer, and allowing ourselves to be imbued with the sacred scriptures.  ‘Advent reminds us that God’s ways are not our own. It asks us to take a realistic look at who we are, people in need of God’s grace - people who need to be sure of God’s approval. In this season, we start all over again to be reminded of the good news that our hope is in Jesus Christ’ (3). Fr. QQ - 25/11/2020 (1)  Albert Nolan, HOPE IN AN AGE OF DESPAIR, p. 26 (2) Bernard McGinn, THE MYSTICAL THOUGHT OF MEISTER ECKHART: THE MAN FROM WHOM GOD HID NOTHING (3) Kathleen Norris, THIS DAY (Dec 2017), p. 43 Image: liturgytools.net
Weekly Scripture
St. Joseph’s Carmel