Today is the day in the year set aside to commemorate St. John of the Cross. I have been exploring some of his life story and his writings today. One of his writings is the Spiritual Canticle which is a poetic allegory.
I was caught by one particular stanza. Perhaps it will captivate you as well. Peace,
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You can read the entire Spiritual Canticle at: St. John of the Cross: Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ - Christian Classics Ethereal Library (ccel.org) I was particularly captured by stanza 15:
The tranquil night
At the approaches of the dawn
The silent music,
The murmuring solitude,
The supper which revives, and enkindles love.
Advent is a time of darkness and still. A tranquil night if you will. We wait during the long nights of winter. Nights when the snow sucks up the sound and maybe all we hear is the crunching snow underfoot. We wait for warmth. We wait for light. We long to hear music, song, speech, noises of any sort.
We know the dawn is coming. It comes every day. It comes every year with the spring. It comes at the end of all time with the full consummation with the promises of God coming to fruition. We long for the awaited spring to come. We long for the warming sun to rise. We long for the Son to come as promised.
We know the rhythm and cadence of silence. We know solitude. We know sanctuaries and worship services shuttered out of an abundance of caution during a pandemic. We long for music to break the silence. We long for the song a robin in springtime. We long for singing choirs of angels. We long to gather as faith communities to sing of God's promises and our hopes and dreams at the coming reign of God.
We may find ourselves in solitude but we can't stay there. We hear the murmuring within our own soul. We long to murmur with others. We long for the icy winter to thaw and for babbling brooks to give voice to the hope of spring. We stand graveside longing for life to spring forth. We know the dead of winter but know, too, the new life of spring.
We know of the power of communal meals. Holiday feasts sustain our souls. Shared laughter and drink with friend feeds us to our core. Gathering around the promises and the incarnation of communion draws us to pools of grace and heals our hurts. This supper revives. This supper enkindles love.
Dear God, we thank you for the lyrical verses and images of St. John of the Cross. Help us await the bridegroom. Help us rest, look, pray and linger our way through Advent. Revive us and enkindle love. Amen.