Sunday, November 29, 2009


Thoughts for the first week of Advent
Little Christopher went with his mother on a visit to the Cathedral of All Saints. He was accustomed to the small, simply furnished parish church he had attended during most of his five-year-old life, and the glories of the Cathedral amazed him.
"Mummy, who is that man?" he asked, pointing to a figure in a stained-glass window.
"That's St. Peter, darling", Mother replied.
"And that man?"
"That's St. Paul. Kit, would you like to know them all?"
"Yes please, Mummy."
"Well, here's St. Joseph, and this is Our Lady. Oh Kit, look here – here's your own saint, St. Christopher. Aren't the pictures beautiful?"
"Yes they are."
Next morning Christopher was in school. During Catechism class the teacher said, "Children, next Monday is the first of November, a holiday for the feast of All Saints. Who can tell me the meaning of 'saint'?"
Up shot Christopher's hand, catching Teacher's eye. "You are very eager this morning, Christopher. Tell us."
"Please ma'am, a saint is a beautiful window for the light to come in."
In its earliest use by the followers of Christ, the word 'saints' appears to have denoted the faithful, as in some epistles of St. Paul:
"to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons" (Philippians 1:1)
"Paul, . . . unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia" (2 Corinthians 1:1)
"But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints" (Romans 15:25)
It would seem, then, that we are all 'saints'. Not canonised Saints, to be sure, for it takes heroic virtue and election by Divine Providence to be special channels of God's miraculous grace in order to be raised to the honours of the altar – and it requires that the saint be first translated out of this life into the next!
No, indeed, although some of us might yet achieve such blessedness, it is not to that state that we need aspire. But to be windows letting in the light – God's light – is not so impossible a dream. Difficult, yes, as difficult as it is to become a successful athlete, or sportsman, or performing artist, or engineer, or doctor. . . . Yet many achieve this and even more aspire to it.
Advent is a good time to review our lives – a bit like cleaning up the home for Christmas – and to clear away those things which prevent us from being windows for the Light to come into this world.
[The outline of the story comes from a sermon preached by Father Sebastian Fernandes SJ]



by Stéphane Mallarmé
À la fenêtre recelant
Le santal vieux qui se dédore
De sa viole étincelant
Jadis avec flûte ou mandore,

Est la Sainte pâle, étalant
Le livre vieux qui se déplie
Du Magnificat ruisselant
Jadis selon vêpre et complie :

À ce vitrage d’ostensoir
Que frôle une harpe par l’Ange
Formée avec son vol du soir
Pour la délicate phalange

Du doigt que, sans le vieux santal
Ni le vieux livre, elle balance
Sur le plumage instrumental,
Musicienne du silence.
(A difficult poem to translate into English. Attempted paraphrase for the next time!)
Ruth Heredia is the originator and holds the copyright to all material on this blog unless credited to some source. Please do not use it or pass it off as your own work. That is theft. If you wish to link it, quote it, or reprint in whole or in part, please be courteous enough to seek my permission.

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