Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Reading

If you're looking for spiritual reading this Advent, pick up Joseph Ratzinger's "The Blessing of Christmas." The book is beautifully written and so insightful.

My husband and I read it throughout Advent last year and are doing the same this year. We read a bit in the morning before he leaves for work and in the evening before bed. It's also just a beautiful book with the attractive cover and beautiful art inside. As a sneak peek, here's a bit of what we read today:

"In my daily living, I have little time for Him and little time for myself. I am completely involved from morning to evening in all the things I have to do, and I even succeed in eluding my own grasp, because I do not know how to be alone with myself. My job possesses me; the society in which I live possesses me; entertainment of various kinds possesses me; but I do not possess myself. And this means that I gradually go to seed like an overgrown garden, first in my external activities and, then, in my inner life, too. I am propelled along by my activities, for I am merely a cog in their great machinery.

But now God has drawn me out of all this. I am obliged to be still. I am obliged to wait. I am obliged to reflect on myself; I am obliged to bear being alone. I am obliged to bear pain, and I am obliged to accept the burden of my own self. All this is hard.

But may it not be the case that God is waiting for me in this stillness? May it not be the case that He is doing here what Jesus says in the parable of the vine: "Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit?"

If I learn to accept myself in these days of stillness, if I accept the pain, because the Lord is using it to purify me--does this not make me richer than if I had earned a lot of money? Has not something happened to me that is more durable than all those things that can be counted and calculated?...

The Lord is here. This Christian certainty is meant to help us look at the world with new eyes and to understand the 'visitation' as a visit, as one way in which He can come to us and be close to us."

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