Monday First Week Advent 2011 Reflection

First Monday Week One of Advent. Scripture readings for today's Mass are here

First Reading from Isaiah. 2: 1-5

 This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come,

The mountain of the LORD's house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.

All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
"Come, let us climb the LORD's mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths."

For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.

O house of Jacob, come,

let us walk in the light of the LORD!


A human being is a part of the whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest....

This delusion is a kind or prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all its beauty."
— Albert Einstein

Healing of self and the healing of the planet are inextricably linked and we all need to be able to widen our circle of compassion.

In this first week of Advent my prayers and longings are for peace; and yes,this peace  has to begin with me !!

This is beautiful prayer from Fr Austin Fleming at A Concord Pastor Comments who is on retreat this week but thankfully he posted this before he set off...
 "If you have an Advent Wreath at home, pray for peace this week as you light the first candle each day. If you don't have an Advent Wreath - light any candle and pray for peace. If you have no candle, simply pray for peace...

Pray for an end to war and its violence and bloodshed...
Pray for the safe return of those in the armed services
who are far away from family and friends...
Pray for those who have died in the war
and for those they left behind...
Pray for the poor who suffer war's hardships...
Pray for peace...
Pray for the peace the world cannot give or make for itself...
Pray for our enemies...

Pray, too, for an end to the little wars (and the bigger ones)
waged in our own lives, in our families, our neighborhoods,
at work and in the Church...
Pray for those who have been harmed by our belligerence...
Pray for those we make our personal enemies...
Pray for an end to the wars we fight within and with ourselves...
Pray for peace...
Pray for the peace we cannot give or make for ourselves...
Pray for the peace that only the Lord can give...
Pray for the peace the Lord came to make for us..."

I'll finish today with two pieces of music and video reflections:
The first is "The Christ in You" using the brilliant stained glass works of Irish artist Harry Clarke, put to the music of Mike Scott's band The Waterboys.

The second is by Max Richter and Dinah Washington "On The Nature of Daylight /This Bitter Earth", with footage and stills from the film Baraka.

 Both pieces fit the theme of today's first reading on the futility, anguish and bitterness that war and conflict causes and also in the gospel where the centurion's desperation for the healing of his suffering servant and his words of outstanding faith ring out

"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed."
Because he was willing to go that extra mile for his servant Jesus answered him and his servant was cured...

Life goes so quickly and this Advent also makes me aware of how brief the life of Jesus was on this earth and how awesome his accomplishments in such a short time- all possible because of the love he was willing to show.

I hope and pray that I can use this Advent to see Christ in those I meet and show love   that will bear fruit.

 Lyrics to song below video

This bitter earth
well, what a fruit it bears
This bitter earth

And if my life is like the dust
That hides the glow of a rose
What good am I ?
Heaven only knows

This bitter Earth
Yes, can be so cold
Today you're young
Too soon you're old

But while a voice
Within me cries
I'm sure someone 
may answer my call
And this bitter earth
May not be so bitter after all

This bitter earth
This bitter earth
What good is love
that no one shares?

 And if my life is like the dust
That hides the glow of a rose
What good am I ?
Heaven only knows.

More information on the stunning film Baraka here.

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