Advent - A Season for Change

I make my way down to the river on this rainy morning, and offer my Advent Prayers, on its shores, under an overcast sky...

I read this quote by Cardinal John Henry Newman, who began his life as an Anglican, and ended it as a Catholic saint, not that it matters to me. Even as a child, I felt we were all one, and I could not imagine or abide a kind of God that would exclude some of his children from the gift of eternal life, or from sharing at His table...

"To live is to change,
and to be perfect,
is to have changed often."

As I I work through some deep issues, it is obvious that they are once more an invitation to change and to grow. Newman also is quoted as saying that "growth, is the only evidence of life..."

Yet change is messy, and painful at times. We can deny what it asks of us - but only to a great cost to our health and well-being. What we bury deep inside has a way of gushing forth out of us once again, demanding our attention - it will not be ignored!

I pray and ask that I accomplish, and learn, and do, what is required of me in this life - whatever sacrifice it may ask - and I know this is not easy...Though I am momentarily filled with self-doubts, I also somehow know that everything that is, is as it should be, and it is meant for my greater good...

Advent asks us to change and grow. If we are to embody joy, then we must let go of all that does not serve, and all that occludes that joy that is our birth right and fruit of our essence and communion with the Divine...

I pray to receive the courage to change, as extolled by the great Protestant theologian, Reinhold Neibuhr, in his classic "Serenity Prayer:"

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

The river is quiet, and clear - and I can see all the way to the bottom, which I take as a good omen...

Later in the morning, I read these words in a poem by Mary Oliver:

"Maybe death isn't darkness after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us,
as soft as feathers,
that we are instantly weary of looking and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow
that there is nothing but light - scalding, aortal light,
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones."

The Buddhists teach that the only constant is change. If we surrender to it - and the lessons it constantly yields, with detachment, even though we resist it, and even though it may ask everything of us, including letting go of the things we most love, and despite that it may be incredibly difficult and require what we never imagined we could give - we will be eternally rewarded with the knowledge and deep abiding experience of true joy.

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