Meditation Readings: 18 and 19/12/2014

READINGS -  18 and 19/12/2014

Reflections by Laurence Freeman: Third Sunday of Advent
As time passes it is easy for us to allow the natural virtue of hope to slide into fantasy. We then settle for false consolation rather than for the conviction, born of nothing but naked insight, that what seems to be the worst can evolve into the best. There is always risk in hope. And the courage to endure, embrace and in the end to simply be. 
In hope – which is continually revving up during the weeks of Advent we risk being swept up in the conviction – the believing that is born of seeing – that our whole lives are held in God. It is hard to grasp this and it requires deep imagination even to articulate it to ourselves. Fantasy, wish-fulfillment is far easier but it is always a false hope.
The irony is that hope is born in the manger of despair when our false images and desires have exhausted themselves and we can believe in them no longer. To be without desire is a terrible transition into reality. That is why so few people ever discover what hope really means.
In the gospels the disciples of John the Baptist are the prototypes of evangelical hope. When Jesus appears and the Baptist points him out, they make the leap and follow the one who saves into the unknown about which the best thing they can say is that they know will be real.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up hearts that are broken.
In a true community of faith we learn that however far we have been marginalised – however impoverished and amnesiac life may have left us – and however broken our dream-scattered hearts have become, hope is ever-present. Indeed inevitable. So, Advent is not waiting on tiptoe for Santa Claus to appear. It is gradually allowing ourselves to remember what unfathomable hope there emerges in God’s identifying with the human realm so fully that it embraces and reverse even the loss of hope.
Heavenly Father, open our hearts to the silent presence of the Spirit of your Son. Lead us into that mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.
After Meditation, A selection from John Main OSB, “Purity of Heart,” WORD MADE FLESH (Norwich: Canterbury, 2009), pp. 59-60. 
There is nothing less shining in our hearts than the glory of Christ. That glory is not triumphalist but it does triumph over hearts hardened by the wounds of life. Poverty, purity, simplicity are strange weapons to minds strained on images and values of violence. But our survival, spiritually and even physically, depends on our recovering an awareness of the redeeming power of these qualities of humanity. This is the way of the  mantra.
By Laurence Freeman OSB
May this Community be a true spiritual home for the seeker, a friend for the lonely, a guide for the confused. 
May those who pray here be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to serve all who come and to receive them as Christ himself. In the silence of this retreat may all the suffering, violence and confusion of the world encounter the Power that will console, renew and uplift the human spirit. 
May this silence be a power to open the hearts of men and women to the vision of God, and so to each other, in love and peace, justice and human dignity. 
May the beauty of the Divine Life fill this Community and the hearts of all who pray here with joyful hope. 
May all who come here, weighed down by the problems of humanity, leave, giving thanks for the wonder of human life. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.