Sunday, November 27, 2011

No Night of Ease

 Today marks the beginning of Advent and the Gospel reading presents Jesus talking about the need for watchfulness ("May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"-- MK 13:36-37). Tagore captures this sentiment for me. If we are to watch we are awakening in God's love and that can only mean unrest. The qualities of Advent that are most appealing to me are the darkness and the desire to spend these weeks in hibernation. Doesn't that sound like the appeal of winter. The darkness comes over us early, like 4:00 p.m. here in Wisconsin, and the cold air is beginning to be experienced more often, tonight it is 32 degrees outside and the desire to rest is strong. All we need is some logs and a rolling fire to set us up for a Norman Rockwell experience (that is if you have a fire place). These are the days when I want to curl up and just sleep. And then we hear Jesus say that it is time to watch.

Reality check: Sometimes following Jesus can be a real drag. Of course, I am thinking this is the time when we begin to wait for his birth and he is telling us what to do. How does that work? Bossy child is one thing...but the unborn being so demanding, really? I have spent the last weeks daydreaming about what book I want to read after the fall semester ends (something that has nothing to do with my life preferably) and today I am sitting in Liturgy and hear these words about being watchful. Let me tell you this brings about sudden irritation. What I really want to do is hibernate and not be connected with anything productive and being watchful demands that I am ready to be involved if needed.

After the readings and homily there was this adorable little baby that was baptized, wow, what a contrast. We welcomed new life into the Church today which means that for this little guy and his family there is no more waiting. It is so hard to be heated with Jesus when you are celebrating him in the Sacraments. I felt a sudden responsibility for this newborn child whose Mom and Dad do not have the luxury of hibernating for the winter and in reality, neither do I. In this day there were a couple of lessons. First, life continues, even in the darkness. Second, if I am to honor life I have to be watchful. Finally, to wake in God's love is to offer my life throughout all seasons of the year, even Advent. I leave you with a prayer from Rabindranath Tagore.

No Night of Ease

When I awake in Your love, my night of ease
will be ended.

Your sunrise will touch my heart with its
touchstone of fire, and my voyage will begin its
orbit of triumphant suffering.

I shall dare to take up death's challenge and
carry Your voice into the heart of mockery and

I shall bare my breast against the wrongs
hurled at Your children and take the risk of
standing by Your side, where none but You

1 comment:

  1. On Tuesday, we celebrate and remember an outstanding woman named Dorothy Day who bared her breast against many wrongs. I have been thinking about her today because she truly was not about making life easier on herself, but helping those who needed an easier life. We are in the season that is one of my favorites because it truly is about waiting, but that waiting is not about sitting passively and waiting for others to move. Yes, waiting, reflecting, and watching is something I must do in order to live compassionately and walk humbly with God.