The readings in the beginning of the new Church year depict the end of time. They paint disturbing images of imminent disaster or final doom, of great natural catastrophes and cosmic calamities associated with the apocalypse and the last judgment. Honestly, they stir up various fears within me, as well as incredulity and vulnerability.
The word “apocalypse” means a stripping away, an uncovering, a revelation. It is less a prediction of the future as much as an invitation to look at a deeper reality. Like a stripping to essentials, an uncovering of a deeper truth, a revelation of something that is already there.
My cousin in her early thirties and another young woman I know are facing life threatening diseases. They are experiencing great trials and tribulations. They are fighting against great odds and struggle to embrace occasional breakdowns. What moves me is the strength of their spirit that is being uncovered. Their sufferings reveal expressions of faith that can endure all things. Their hope and their gratitude to God inspire me.
Apocalyptic processes involve something greater or deeper being revealed as something lesser is being stripped away. Light beneath the darkness and the shadows. A new order peeking through the disorders in our lives. The Advent Season invites us to wait through the struggles for a fuller coming of life and grace. Rumi’s playful wisdom hints at this apocalypse: “Love's secret is always lifting its head out from under the covers – ‘Here I am!’”
Is there a stripping away or uncovering process occurring in your life? What is your attitude towards it?
A suggestion for daily prayer/reflection during Advent:
1. Relax. Take 5 deep breaths. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Ask for the grace to listen.
3. Read the reflection slowly and pay attention to what stirs within you.
4. Speak and listen to God about what is happening within.
5. Rest in God who rests in you. Express gratitude when you finish.