Begin Again

“Let us begin again, sisters and brothers, for up until now we have done little or nothing,” St. Francis of Assisi was fond of saying often. He even supposedly said it on his deathbed, as his “Sister Death” drew near. As Christmas draws near, and the New Year soon after, it might be helpful to…

Everything Afire

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,And every common bush afire with God,But only he who sees takes off his shoes;The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.” ― Elizabeth Barrett Browning Don’t pluck too many blackberries this Advent, or this one precious life. At some point, awaken to the fiery presence of God in everything around you, hidden…

The Stable of the Human Heart

St. Bernard of Clairvaux speaks of Three Advents. The First one we are familiar with, it prepares us for the birth of Christ at Christmas. The Second is Christ’s return at the end of history, or the Second Coming. But the Third Advent is less known, and points to the arrival of Christ to dwell…

The Holy Ache of Advent

“The lovely old carols played and replayed till their effect is like a dentist’s drill or a jackhammer, the bathetic banalities of the pulpit and the chilling commercialism of almost everything else, people spending money they can’t afford on presents you neither need nor want, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the plastic tree, the cornball creche,…