'BE BORN IN US TODAY'
The Word with us.
Not only conceived in the womb of Mary
by the overshadowing power of the Spirit,
but born in our hearts today.
The word that brought joy and peace
to those who had eyes to see,
and minds to perceive that here was more
than a new-born child,
nothing less than the hopes and fears of all the years.
This same Word is born in us as we celebrate
his birth each day.
May we be creative in responding to this
May we allow our spirit of adoration
to flow through our everyday lives.
May we resist hankering after a different, easier life,
but use all the powers of our natural senses,
all the resources we have already received,
to proclaim the meaning of his coming within
the ordinary and extraordinary encounters of
our daily life.
For as soon as we think we have exhausted
the meaning of his coming – we have failed
to grasp what it is really about.
The mystery of the Incarnation always has more
to be revealed.
Our grasp of God’s truth is always partial.
Our embrace of God’s spirit of peace – that surpassed
all our understanding – has hardly begun.
Christmastide and Epiphany
INCARNATION (not just for Christmas)
When God revealed himself
through the incarnation of his Son,
he filled the world with immense joy.
There are announcements,
promises, and miracles;
a remarkable process of events
in which the main participants
are astonished by the touch of God.
They all received infinitely more
than they had either expected
or believed possible:
sterile Elizabeth bears a child;
incredulous Zechariah prophesies;
the virgin becomes a mother;
shepherds speak with
the Magi bring the best they can offer,
and return with much more
than they had brought;
Joseph is affirmed
in his blind faith in God;
and Simeon is ready to embrace death
now that he has seen
the light to enlighten all nations.
Rejoice! that you are able to celebrate
Christmas once a year.
Rejoice! that you are able to celebrate
the Incarnation daily,
by turning away from sin and
being faithful to the Gospel,
by being taken from birth
to death and resurrection,
by being sent out to share the Good News
in the power of the Pentecostal Spirit.
This reflection is based on the Glastonbury Pilgrimage sermon of Brother Angelo SSF
A Meditation for Epiphany
From Helena by Evelyn Waugh (1903 - 1966). It follows the quest of Helena (a Christian and the mother of the Roman emperor Constantine I) to find the relics of the cross on which Christ was crucified.
In this passage, as Helena sees three monks approaching, representing the three maji, she says: "This is my day and these are my kind."
"Like me, you were late in coming. The shepherds were here long before. Even the cattle. They had joined the chorus of angels before you were on your way. For you, the primordial discipline of the heavens was relaxed, and a new defiant light blazed amid the disconcerted stars. How laboriously you came, taking sights and calculating where the shepherds had run barefoot! How odd you looked on the road attended by what outlandish liveries laden with such preposterous gifts. You came at length to the final stage of your pilgrimage and the great star stood still above you, and what did you do? You stopped to call on King Herod with a deadly exchange of compliments which there began that unending war of mobs and magistrates against the innocent. Yet, you came and were not turned away. You, too, found room before the manger.
Your gifts were not exactly needed, but they were accepted and put carefully by, for they were brought with love. In that new order of charity that had just come to life, there was room for you, too. You were not lower in the eyes of the holy family than the ox or the ass. You are my special patrons and the patrons of all latecomers, of all who have a tedious journey to make to the truth, of all who are confused with knowledge and speculation, of all who, through politeness, make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talent. For his sake, who did not reject your curious gifts, pray always for all the learned, the oblique, the delicate. Let them not quite be forgotten at the throne of God when the simple come into their kingdom.”
A favourite Feast.
Spices perfume the air,
incense ascends and disappears,
the glint of real gold,
the bitter release of ground myrrh,
the rustle of eastern robes,
the unforgettable smell of camels;
and all covered with layers
of fine dust from the night fire.
And all coming to rest,
not in a lush palatial oasis-
a place with servants
running for jugs of scented water,
and for fruit and spicy meats,
and dancers to entertain.
But a place full of hay and rotting wood,
smelling of sweaty animals
and left-over food begged from a nearby inn.
No haloes glowing,
no cherubs floating,
not a flap of distant angel-wings,
and no retinue of constant visitors.
Just a few gawping shepherds
plodding back to work.
Nothing said, no great speeches,
but bowing low
and silently offering gifts
that seem so out of place.
And what was understood?
What inner message shone through
the outward sign?
What was shown forth?
Only God knows.
So rather than place more words into the scene,
come and enter the silence,
Bow low with the whole of your life
and let the mystery speak and shape you
and invite you in
to a mystery as new as it is old.