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Holding To The Light (Advent 2023, Week Two) : 'Light and Understanding'

'Collect all one's powers in order to employ them in the one work of Love'

(St Elizabeth of the Trinity)

Ideally, through a sustained period of 'recollection' and re-connection we come to see presence, prayer and light as authentic sources of strength and companionship.

Cardinal Anders Arborelius (OCD) in his book 'Carmelite Spirituality' writes of the importance of such growing spiritual 'awareness' in the chapter entitled 'Remain in the Holy Spirit':

'There is always prayer in us! Gradually, this awareness of God's presence can become more acute and transform our days and our nights. We can only go to sleep and pray - when we abandon ourselves and our problems into God's hands'.

Right now, there is perhaps much confusion, anguish and anxiety that we hold within our hearts and minds as we look out upon the world, our nation and local community during this period of Advent. There is war and conflict, famine, poverty, neglect and the threat of climate change overshadowing our collective future.

Elizabeth of the Trinity, who herself underwent many personal and collective struggles, directs us towards an single eternal 'calling' - one that we can fully embrace in the light of the present day, every day, during Advent. This is the 'call to Love': to pitch our hearts and our minds, our bodies and our souls, nowhere else except Love !

In seeking to do just this, we ask for God's strength to support us in any task and we hold to the Light to see afresh the extraordinary 'gifts of Love' , the beauty and wonder of the natural world, our family, our friends, our neighbours, our shared hopes and shared resolve amidst our shared humanity. Goodness itself is illuminated.

It is Cardinal Arborelius again who stresses this deeper level of understanding:

'.. our hearts can be awake for God in the midst of our daily lives'

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