Sunday, 29 November 2015
At the hinterland of this fast disappearing year
There is an advancing wasteland of growing fear
Am I prepared to stand alone before my maker
To give an account of how I serve my creator
At disconcerting speed, life's sands slip away
Am I any nearer to be ready for a heavenly day?
The shrill cry of Advent pierces this cold crisp air
Make the heart ready, straighten the way, prepare!
What is past, is gone, slipped through ageing fingers
Yet unpleasant regret, an unwelcome guest, lingers
Cast it off do not hesitate, for the Christ is coming
Be at peace, fervent in prayer, awaiting his returning
Lilac is the expectant mood of an advent anticipation
The Baptist brings a dire warning for our meditation
Now is the time to repent, to turn away from our sin
To change our living, allow the good Lord to enter in
I pray each day for a vigilant heart, for a listening ear
Now is the urgent time to banish worries useless fear
Behold the face of Mary, the mother, a faithful servant
Serenely she brings us to adoration of the divine infant
Advent leads us to genuflect at the Christmas stable
To worship at the crib resting on each Christian's table
Seeking humility, embracing simplicity, spiritual poverty
So as to guide us to eternity, the fruition of life's journey
Fr Patrick Brennan © 2015 all rights reserved
Four weeks of Advent. Four verses in the poem. Two figures from Advent feature in the words, Mary, and John the Baptist. The mood is urgent, the call one of vigilance. Advent points towards Christ, which is the central mission of Mary and John the Baptist. Prayer is at the heart of the task to make Advent a spiritual time, a time of grace.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
Being vigilant is an essential quality of a Christian because there are many issues that affect us in our society today. If we are not vigilant then we will find our faith being eroded, even as we come to worship and deepen our faith.
Faith frightens people who want to be free to do what they want. Faith shackles those who wish to dictate the terms of human existence and who dismiss God as superstition or myth. Faith is an obstacle for many; it always has been and always will be. There are those who wish to outlaw our faith, who call it old fashioned, who label it as unenlightened, having no place in our modern day culture. Faith talks about God and his revelation, which those who do not believe ridicule and mock. Yet faith is the hope we hold precious, the goal of our conduct, the challenge to our living.
Faith is underpinned by the person of Jesus Christ, who has been revealed as the Son of God, who became incarnate in our world. Through him we are restored to God’s friendship, by his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, opening for us a way to eternal life. The gospel tells us our liberation or redemption is near at hand.
Faith is at odds with modern day culture. We are not relevant to a society that does not treat life as sacred from the moment of conception to the point of death. Our faith is at odds with a culture that champions celebrity and offers role models who aspire to be rich or famous for its own sake. The faith we have will always be at odds with the world! Jesus told Pilate last week on the feast of Christ the King that his Kingdom is not of this world, how true that is!
During Advent we are to be vigilant both on a personal and spiritual level too. The world tells us that Christmas is about partying, getting drunk, spending money we don’t have, having a good time no matter what. It can be quite a shallow celebration for a world that is at odds with faith.
As people of faith we prepare ourselves for Christmas during advent by anticipating the Lord’s coming! We welcome him as a tiny child born in the stable and as a mighty king, coming again at an hour we do not expect. May we be vigilant in our preparing for the Lord’s coming, that he may find us busy with the task and demands of our faith.
Thursday, 26 November 2015
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Saturday, 21 November 2015
The image of kings and queens dripping in privilege,
being waited on hand and foot, people bowing and scraping before them, does
little to promote the wonderful nature of this feast of Christ the Universal
King. The image we have from the gospel today is very different, it is stark:
His kingdom is one that has service at the very heart of it. The care and concern for humanity is paramount in the kingdom he has allowed us to glimpse. We are to be motivated by love, by surrender to God’s holy will, so that we strive to establish a community on earth that anticipates heaven.
The church will move into a new year next week, as we begin the season of Advent. It is a time to look forward to celebrating Christmas. There are four weeks of preparation. Advent is an urgent time, a time to make sure we are ready in a spiritual way to realise the full significance of what we are truly celebrating at Christmas. The Pope this week said that:
'Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes... it's all a charade. God weeps, while people choose war and hatred.”
This past year is gone now a new church year begins. The past is not ours to change anymore there is only the present and the future. We dust ourselves down, casting regret to the dustbin of time and move forward, renewing our desire to be more faith filled this year. We resolve today as we worship Christ the King to be guided by his example and led by his abiding presence in the Church. We promise to walk more closely the footsteps of Christ and trace his life in our lives. We are his hands, his eyes, his ears, his voice in our world! And as servants of Christ the King, we are to be prepared to put our whole selves and our full hearts in the service of our faith. May we go into the new church year with fresh vigour and zeal for the task of being servants of Christ, our Universal King! May it challenge us to explore the true meaning of Christmas too, so that we can bring its true message of hope to the world that badly needs to hear it.