Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Advent Series - New Encounter - Christmas Week

Flight into a Far Country - William Kurelek
Christmas Week


When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son. Mt 2:13-18


We come to the end of this special Advent/Christmas series with this image by William Kurelek. It is a special one for me. I was pastor of St. Anthony's parish in Kincardine, Ontario, for six years. On Sundays, after the Masses, I would drive down through Mennonite country to visit my family in Cambridge. I would often see this very image, in reality, as they made their way home from their Sunday Church gathering.

In this dream, William sees the Holy Family leaving his community and disappearing into the blowing Snow. He tries to run after Them to beg them to stay, but his legs sink deeper into the snow and he cannot move. He calls to Them in panic: "Please don't go!" This time he is heard. Their compassionate words float back to him through the blizzard: "We will return one day - when you are ready to receive Us with undivided love".

How appropriate a reflection this is for our generation. A blizzard of secular humanism is obscuring us from recognizing who it is that we have lost sight of. St. Ignatius tells us that God will choose to withdraw his consolation: (the graces to know his comforting presence)  so that our hearts, that have grown indifferent, will again hunger for Him. With hearts now purified, and more mature in understanding, the grace of consolations is returned to us.

When this generation finally comes to understand what it has lost, a new age of renewed faith will come upon us.


O Merciful and loving Father, it is because of your great love for us that you now discipline us for our wayward, divided hearts. It is so, that we will come to see how empty and un-consoling are the gods with which we now surround ourselves. When at last, we come to our senses and cry out: "Come O Lord and save us", New Life will once again flood into our hearts.


"We will return one day - when you are ready 
to receive Us with undivided love".


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