First Saturday of Advent, 5 December 2020
In today’s reflection, Waiting in Joyful Hope author Michelle Francl-Donnay reflects on Isaiah 30:21, Enrico Fermi’s tricky question, and Wendell Berry’s advice on how to be a poet.
In the comments section below, share your own response to today’s scripture, Francl-Donnay’s reflection, or the accompanying meditation prompt.
Oh my goodness. The air I breathe has a molecule of oxygen that passed through Jesus?! My mind is blown. But wait, that means I am breathing the same molecules as Mary, Peter, Joseph, etc! Grace is not just before, behind, below, above or beside, but also in me. And no mask will filter out molecules of oxygen!
Our responses to the pandemic are all experimental, really. This little parish retreat is no exception. In a way, it’s funny that we call it a “retreat,” since, after all, we’re communicating about our souls—as Sherry has described it—“out loud, in front of God and everybody.” This is not our mind’s inner chamber, to which we can shut a door. This is the internet. We’re googlable.
In the Wendell Berry poem referenced in our reflection booklet, he advises the would-be poet to “shun electric wire” and “stay away from screens.” Which many of us would agree is also sound advice for the would-be pray-er, most of the time. And yet, as Jesus is present in every breath we take, he is also present here, in every byte and pixel.
I know for certain he is in the words of Sherry, and Marge, and Kathy, and Theresa. I have heard him there before this. I am grateful for your company, you good women. You make the internet a less darksome abyss. And I am equally grateful to the people who silently read and consider what you’ve had to say. Berry’s poem continues, “Accept what comes from silence. / Make the best you can of it.”
We are searchable- gadzooks! But the more I post, the more I realize we are evangelizing. We don’t know who will read something and be touched. Scary, yet so necessary. I’d say the experiment is worth the effort!
I was reading an article in The Atlantic earlier, about the two little Voyager spacecraft that NASA launched in 1977(!!) and that are now billions of miles from Earth. They’ve become mechanical heroes of mine. And yet, while they are out beyond Neptune and Uranus – even outside of the heliosphere for those scientists in our midst, they can still send messages home. That is how I liken my conversation with Christ. He has billions of voices being sent His way, and yet He hears my tiny little beep, and sends His grace – frequently when it is most needed. I’m not alone…and neither are my space heroes!
Theresa, I have never stopped being amazed that Abba hears my voice, amidst all the voices. He responds with something meant just for me. Our God is infinite, yet so close!
I hear God’s voice in whispers quietly guiding me when I listen to act in a way that is more loving than my sometimes selfish self wants to do. I hear God’s voice in the beauty that surrounds me.
I hear God’s voice in the St. Patrick’s community. Thank you. I am forever grateful.