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.

 

 

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

 

 

We Are Chosen


May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain.
Psalm 72:17

arms-of-faith-original-24-x-36

Art by Yongsung Kim

 

I do believe deeply that, in order to live a spiritual life, we have to claim for ourselves that we are “taken” or “chosen.” Let me try to expand a bit on these words. When I know that I am chosen, I know that I have been seen as a special person. Someone has noticed me in my uniqueness and has expressed a desire to know me, to come closer to me, to love me. When I write to you that, as the Beloved, we are God’s chosen ones. I mean that we have been seen by God from all eternity…long before you were born and became a part of history, you existed in God’s heart. Long before your parents admired you or your friends acknowledged your gifts or your teachers, colleagues, and employers encouraged you, you were already “chosen.” The eyes of love had seen you as precious, as of infinite beauty, as of eternal value. When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded.

Prayer

Beloved Lord, as one who has been chosen, may I accept the grace and wisdom to do your will.

~ A Advent Meditation by Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Fruits of Our Lives

To help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ…  Philippians 1:10-11

angel of love

 

What counts in your life and mine is not successes but fruits. The fruits of our life are born often in our pain and in our vulnerability and in our  losses. The fruits of our life come only after the plow had carved through our land. God wants us to be fruitful.

The question is not, “How much can I still do in the years that are left to me? The question is, “How can I prepare myself for total surrender so my life can be fruitful?”

Our little lives are small, human lives. But in the eyes of the One who calls us the beloved, we are great—greater than the years we have. We will bear fruit, fruit that you and I will not see on this earth but whose reality we can trust.

Solitude, community, ministry—these disciplines help us live a fruitful life. Remain in Jesus; he remains in you. You will bear many fruits, you will have great joy, and your joy will be complete.

Prayer:

Remain in me, dear Jesus.

~ An Advent Meditation by Henri J.M. Nouwen