Advent Message from the Desk of the Pastor

Posted on Dec 5, 2016

In Advent over the last few years I have found myself going back again and again to a little work by Johannes Tauler; Sermon 1 to be exact. It is a homily on the Triple Birth of Christ we celebrate at Christmas.

The three births are:
the birth of the Word in Eternity before time and all worlds,
the birth of the Son to the Blessed Virgin Mary
the birth of Christ in the ground of every heart that is open and
illuminated by God’s loving Spirit.

There is this little section where Tauler is giving some helpful pointers in how to open the heart and let the light of Christ burn away the haze of ignorance, distraction and selfishness. His biggest pointer is thus,
There is no better service to the Word, than by interior silence and listening.

Silence and listening, or watching and waiting in the language of the Bible, is the very theme of Advent. For many of us we will need to be intentional about our observance of Advent, especially in the face of the overwhelming pressure of secular Christmas, and the great commercializing of the holiday.

Silence and listening sometimes comes naturally; though for most of us, it requires practice. Tauler encourages a depth of silence and listening that seems quite impossible to an unpracticed person… but it becomes easy to a practiced person, a habit that creates skill.

So let us nourish this deep listening to God by spending some time each day in silent prayer, praying the scriptures, chanting the offices, or walking with the ear of our heart open to the Divine source of all that is. Let us enter into the practice of watching and listening in all we do, so that we might come to know the great birth of Christ in the ground of the heart, as we celebrate his birth in history and before time.
Fr. Justin+