The Silent Years

 


When the Magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” ~ Matthew 2:13-15


 

Holy Family Flight into Egypt by ladislav zaborsky

The Flight Into Egypt, art by Ladislav Záborský

 

The silence of those years away from the familiarity of the Promised Land, of the love of family and the community.
Those “unknown years” to humans but not to God. Those years were reserved especially for you and Joseph, Holy Mother!

Those days, weeks and months were filled with the scorching sun of the day in the desert, very cold nights and the uncertainty of each day. Yet, you continued your journey faithfully in union with your Beloved Child.

Donkey, donkey! would you whisper in my ear the secrets of those precious and sacred moments you witnessed of the Holy Family those unknown years?

How many moments of awe and wonder were lived—while others were lived ordinarily like every family but with a deep and serene trust in the Almighty. A family following the will of God.

As I meditate on these mysteries, I realize I have much to learn from them. There are no revelations in Holy Scripture about those silent years. God wanted it that way. Truth has a way of revealing itself. We need to be aware of those moments of grace while we meditate in the mysteries of God, praying constantly for guidance and for His holy will to be done in us.

Beloved Lord Jesus, teach me to live in a contemplative way, always walking by Your side along the journey of my life so I can learn to discern my way.

Mary, Joseph, teach me to ponder all the things of God in my heart. The journey through Egypt is the journey of our life. We are destined to walk every day with our God, with our Beloved Brother Jesus Christ. He guides our way with His light—through Truth and Life. Saying less and listening more to the gentle voice of the Spirit, is my prayer in my life journey. Not being concerned about what tomorrow brings, but living every day with absolute trust in my Beloved.

What does it mean to trust and to live a faithful life with God? It means to do His will every day but first I need to be open to listen to the voice of Love. Embracing the precious gift of every present moment. Giving praise and thanksgiving to the Master of creation and of my heart—my heart beating to His, is the greatest miracle!

 
~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

The Beloved Disciple

saint john the evangelist

Saint John the Theologian, art by Vladimir Borovikovsky

 

St. John the Theologian, Apostle and Evangelist

It is right and just that someone who was loved by Christ more than any other should be the object of a very special love by Christ’s friends, all the more so since John has shown such love for us that… he has shared with us the riches of eternal life that he himself received. Indeed, God gave him the keys to wisdom and knowledge (cf Lk 11:52)…

John’s God-illumined mind conceived the incomparable height of divine wisdom when he reclined on the Redeemer’s breast during the holy Last Supper meal (Jn 13:25). And because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3) are within the heart of Jesus, it is from there that he drew and from there that he greatly enriched our wretchedness as people who are poor and generously distributed these goods taken from their source for the salvation of the whole world. And because this blessed John speaks about God in a marvelous way that cannot be compared to that of anyone else, it is only right that the Greeks as well as the Latins have given him the name of “Theologian”. Mary is “Theotokos” because she has truly given birth to God; John is “Theologos” because he saw in an indescribable way that the Word of God was with the Father before the beginning of time and was God (Jn 1:1) and because, too, he spoke about this with extraordinary depth.

~ By Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072) hermit then Bishop, Doctor of the Church

 


St. John is also known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? St. John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself.

St. John is the patron of authors, theologians, publishers, editors, booksellers, art dealers, painters, and writers.


Saint John the Beloved Disciple, pray for us!

 

The Hidden Christ

Navidad

The Nativity at my Parish (photo taken by me)

 

I went into the Christmas cave;
there was no Child upon the straw.
The ox and ass were all I saw.

I sought His stable where He gave
His goodness in the guise of bread.
Emptiness came to me instead.

Filled with my Father’s words, I cried
“Where have You hid Yourself?” and all
the living answered to my call.

I found Him (and the world is wide)
dear in His warm ubiquity.
Where heart beat, there was Christ for me.

I went back to the Christmas cave,
glad with the gain of everywhere.
And lo! the blessed Child was there.

Then at His feasting board He gave
embrace. He multiplied His good
and fed in me the multitude.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

Christmas art by vladimir fokanov

Baby Jesus, art by Vladimir Fokanov

 

 

The Most Incredible

Baby Jesus EL SUEÑO DEL NIÑO Barroco Cusqueño Siglo XVIII Óleo sobre lienzo

EL SUEÑO DEL NIÑO: Barroco Cusqueño Siglo XVIII, pintura virreinal peruana

 

The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is the birth given most attention at Christmas. But if you don’t see this birth in connection with the eternal birth of the Word from the Father, then you miss what is essential. Then all that is left is a little romantic mood-making: a sweet child who for a few moments may touch your heart, but who is really not allowed to seize your heart.

God’s Incarnation is the greatest mystery in Christianity, the most incomprehensible and unfathomable. How can this vulnerable, crying baby be “my Lord and my God”?

It is precisely this mystery that is the great stumbling block for non-Christians. But if you believe this, you have the solution to all the riddles and difficulties in the world. Then you can no longer doubt that God loves his creation. That the Almighty God has become a little child, for our sake, is a definitive proof of the definitive victory of his love. To doubt that you are loved by God is only possible if you forget the manger.

~ A Reflection by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

Christmas in My Heart

Dear Father, I receive your gift so kindly
given—the gift of Your Son, born of a virgin,
crucified, dead, buried, and risen from the
grave—for me. In return I give You my love
and devotion, and I will carry Christmas
in my heart all year long. Amen!

~ A Christmas prayer by HSR

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas filled with many blessings all year long!

 

Come Is the Love Song

 

Bethlehem

Bethlehem, art by Dorothea Schmidt

 

Come is the love song of our race and Come
our basic word of individual wooing.
It lifts audacious arms of lowliness
to majesty’s most amiable undoing,
to Godhood fleshed and cradled and made least.
It whispers through closed doors a hurry, hurry
to Tierce and fiery feast.

The liturgy of Advent plucks its bud
from the green shrub of love’s compendium:
O Wisdom, Adonai, Root of Jesse
and sign by which the mouths of kings are dumb,
O Key, O Orient, King and Cornerstone,
O our Emmanuel, come.

And Paschaltide prepares an upper room
where burns the fuller bloom.
Come is the small sweet-smelling crib we carve
from fir and bear across December frost.
It is the shaft of the flame-hungry Church
in  Paschal spring, or the heart’s javelin tossed
privately at the clouds to pierce them through
and drown one in the flood of some amazing
personal Pentecost.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Christmas Eve! 

The Visitation Journey

 

Mary and Elizabeth by brother sylvain of taize

Mary and Elizabeth, art by Brother Sylvain of Taizé 

 

The second bead: scene of the lovely journey
of Lady Mary, on whom artists confer
a blue silk gown, a day pouring out Springtime,
and birds singing and flowers bowing to her.

Rather, I see a girl upon a donkey
and her too held by what was said to mind
how the sky was or if the grass was growing.
I doubt the flowers; I doubt the road was kind.

“Love hurried forth to serve.” I read, approving.
But also see, with thoughts blown past her youth,
a girl riding upon a jolting donkey
and riding further and further into the truth.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

 

O Jesus living in Mary,
come to live in Your servants,
with Your spirit of holiness,
in the fullness of Your power,
in the perfection of Your ways,
in the truth of Your virtues,
and in the communion of Your Divine Mysteries.

In Your Spirit
and for the glory of the Father,
overcome every hostile power!

~ A prayer by Father John J. Olier (d. 1657)

 

The Kingdom of God

Holy Night by linda lee 2

Art by Linda Lee 

 

Not towards the stars, O beautiful naked runner,
not on the hills of the moon after a wild white deer,
seek not to discover afar the unspeakable wisdom,—
the quarry is here.

Beauty holds court within,—
a slim young virgin in a dim shadowy place.
Music is only the echo of her voice,
and earth is only a mirror for her face.

Not in the quiet arms, O sorrowful lover;
O fugitive, not in the dark on a pillow of breast;
hunt not under the lighted leaves for God,—
here is the sacred Guest.

There is a Tenant here.
Come home, roamer of earth, to this room and find
a timeless Heart under your own heart beating,
a Bird of beauty singing under your mind.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

 

The Pool of God

Maria by jan styka

Virgen Maria, art by Jan Styka (1890)

 

There was nothing in the Virgin’s soul
that belonged to the Virgin—
no word, no thought, no image, no intent.
She was  a pure, transparent pool reflecting
God, only God.
She held His burnished day; she held His night
of planet-glow or shade inscrutable.
God was her sky and she who mirrored Him
became His firmament.

When I so much as turn my thoughts toward her
my spirit is enisled in her repose.
And when I gaze into her selfless depths
an anguish in me grows
to hold such blueness and to hold such fire.
I pray to hollow out my earth and be
filled with these waters of transparency.
I think that one could die of this desire,
seeing oneself dry earth or stubborn sod.
Oh, to become a pure pool like the Virgin,
water that lost the semblances of water
and was a sky like God.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

Advent

Virgin Mary pregnant

Blessed Virgin Mary (Unknown Artist)

 

I live my Advent in the womb of Mary.
And on one night when a great star swings free
from its high mooring and walks down the sky
to be the dot above the Christus i ,
I shall be born of her by blessed grace.
I wait in Mary-darkness, faith’s walled place,
with hope’s expectance of nativity.

I knew for long she carried me and fed me,
guarded and loved me, though I could not see.
But only now, with inward jubilee,
I come upon earth’s most amazing knowledge:
someone is hidden in this dark with me.

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

Giving Life to the World

Jesus Icon3

St. John The Baptist (unknown artist)

 

John the Baptizer exhorts us to conversion. No one better than Mary can tell us what this conversion entails.

Conversion means turning away from yourself and turning to God instead. So, conversion is beginning to live as Mary did. She is so overwhelmed by the life growing in her body that she is not at all concerned about her own. Her center is not in herself, but in the life she is to give birth for the salvation of the world.

If you live along with Mary, turned away from yourself and turned toward God, then even you will give life to the world. You get to give birth to Christ. He has himself said: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Mt 12:50).

If Christmas were only a celebration of an unusual child born two thousand years ago, then we wouldn’t need a long season of Advent to prepare for it. But Jesus is born within you, and preparation for this birth must be made.

John of the Cross writes in a small poem:

The Virgin with God’s Word
Carried in her womb
Comes toward you
If only you had room. 

If you prepare a room for God, God will become real in you as he was in Mary.

~ An Advent Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Virgin Mary by ladislav Z

Virgin Mary, art by Ladislav Záborský