Roger and I now prepare for our annual retreat for the twelve days of Christmas, where we sign off from work at this site and spend Christmastide in prayer and reflection.
This, as long term readers know, has always been our pattern here – to go offline as much as humanly possible till after Epiphany. This year, however, through the miracle of automation, Roger will, during the next few days, post some automated extracts from his new book Cor Jesu Sacratissimum (which, obviously, are already pre-written).
Now, it has been a very special Advent for me, where I have been able to enter more deeply into the meaning of this important time of preparation for the great mystery of our Faith, the Holy Incarnation.
So, as we prepare to close down for these days, I will leave you here with a small reflection.
At the beginning of Advent, I read these words by Dom Marmion (1858 – 1923), the Dublin born Benedictine Abbot of Maredsous:
Immediately after Adam’s fall, God promises a Saviour, but thousands of years pass before He comes; thousands of years during which humanity lifts supplicating hands from the depths of a nameless abyss whence it is powerless to raise itself; thousands of years during which it adds sacrifice upon sacrifice, holocaust upon holocaust, to free itself from servitude.
As I read these words, my heart was opened and deepened to the profound cry from the depths of the human heart to God the Father, in supplication and prayer.
Begging, pleading for the bonds of captivity to be broken.
Longing and searching for a way in which we, humanity, can return to the promised land, the Paradise of pleasure, from whence we came before the fall of Adam and Eve.
And with such thoughts in mind, I began my four weeks of Advent preparation, which paled into insignificance in comparison with the thousands of years mankind awaited the promised Messiah.
I also imagined what it was like for the Israelites, NOT to know Jesus Christ.
I imagined the horror of not experiencing His loving embrace, as He comes to us day in, day out in Holy Communion.
And now, in these last days of Advent, as I gaze upon the empty crib, I eagerly await Him.
Recently, a priest spoke to me about the idea of preparing a crib in one’s heart, into which our Infant Saviour may come. I find this a lovely image and am holding my heart open to welcome Him.
So, with longing hearts, awaiting the Divine Child, Roger and I prepare for our customary annual retreat for the twelve days of Christmas – from Christmas night, the twenty-forth of December to Epiphany, the fifth of January – we will offer all our prayers and petitions to our Tiny Saviour and His hosts of Angels.
We find this such a special time to pray, when graces are available in a particular and beautiful way.
We hope and pray that you all have a rich and joyful Christmas, deeply blessed by the Infant King, who embraces each and every one of us with outstretched arms, from the humble manger. May we all receive blessings from the Holy Family at Bethlehem.