"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves … But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand." – Lk 21:25-28
We usually think of “apocalypse” as involving sudden catastrophes and calamities causing much fear, loss, or destruction. Yet, the word “apocalypse” in Greek means a stripping away, an uncovering, a revelation of something hidden. It is less a prediction of the future as much as a preparation to encounter a deeper, greater reality.
Recently, I have come to a painful realization. I prided myself as an open-minded and hospitable person. Yet, my thoughts and actions in the past few months have revealed a major prejudice that I hold towards a colleague. The painful recognition strips away my encrusted heart and reveals an invitation to receive and to offer mercy.
Something remarkable is happening to my sister, KimThy. She has been mourning the sudden death of her kind, compassionate, deeply loving husband of 19 years. His loss has been heartbreaking for her and for our family. Yet, KimThy shared something remarkable with me last week. She said that his passing has surprisingly allowed her to grow closer to him and to learn from him more in the past two months than in the past few years. His death uncovered and revealed a deeper connection and greater love between them.
Apocalyptic processes involve something greater being revealed as something lesser is being stripped away. Light shining beneath the darkness and through the shadows. A new order peeking through our disordered lives. This Advent of Mercy invites us to wait in hope as we wade through the present struggles and birth pains of life. 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 an uncovering process occurring in your life? Is there an invitation to make greater space in your life for love or mercy to unfold? What is your attitude towards it?