The Rector's Blog
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December 14, 2017, 2:42 PM

Compare and Contrast

I’ve subscribed to three different Advent Meditations series, and I get quite a mix – reading and praying them set over and against one another is a lot like reading the Scriptures set forth for our weekly worship together, although there, we have four voices (including the Psalm). 

I’d like to invite you to consider the three following readings, and reflect on how they seem to speak to each other in your mind and heart…

The first reading comes from Virginia Theological Seminary (an Episcopal seminary in Alexandria, near where I used to live!) as part of a photo-sharing activity on the internet called “AdventWord.”  People post photos that respond to each day’s theme.  Click on the link to see what people are posting!   

WILDERNESS

14 December 2017 – Israel finds her Way in the wilderness.  God is the only gardener in the wilderness.  Israel’s God is our only Way through the wilderness, from the hill country of Bethlehem, past the signpost of the Cross to the rivers that are grooved into the earth.  Go into the wilderness.  It is where we live.  God is there.

Our second entry today is from one of the brothers at the Society of St John the Evangelist, an order of Episcopal monks who run a retreat center in Newbury MA.  They e-mail a daily meditation, with a link to “read more on their website. The link here will take you to a fuller discussion on Praying Slowly.

PRAY SLOWLY

It takes some time truly to comprehend the sacred mysteries of Jesus’ birth, of his passion and death, and of his resurrection. It takes prayer, and faith, and trust in the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.

-Br. David Allen,
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

The final entry comes from an Advent series offered by Plough Publishing, called “The Daily Dig.”  It features a quotation from Jerome, who is best known for the earliest complete translation of the Bible (both Jewish and Christian texts) into Latin, but he was a prolific writer of theology and meditations as well.  He was an advocate for asceticism in personal life.

From ST. JEROME

As often as I look at the place where the Lord is born, my heart enters into a wondrous conversation with the Child Jesus. And I say, “Dear Lord Jesus, how you are shivering; how hard you lie for my sake, for the sake of my redemption. How can I repay you?”

Then I seem to hear the Child’s answer, “Dear Jerome, I desire nothing but that you shall sing ‘Glory to God in the highest’ and be content. I shall be even poorer in the Garden of Olives and on the Holy Cross.”

I speak again, “Dear Jesus, I have to give you something. I will give you all my money.”

The Child answers, “Heaven and earth already belong to me.  I do not need your money; give it to the poor, and I will accept it as if it were given to me.”

Source: Cries from the Heart

So, what do you think?  Do you see connections or contrasts among these various works?  Do you find a message for your heart?

Blessings to you all!  ~ Evelyn+


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