Advent is the season for acts of faith. It starts with the awareness of the presence of Christ within us. It is quite incredible to think that God is really present in me. “My God, I believe that you are within me.” This act of faith brings peace; it silences the noise of distraction; the loud business of fear. It is the stilling of the waters. It gathers our thoughts into a circle like a crown of flowers; it crowns us with peace.—Caryll Houselander, woodcarver and mystic
“I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well being and create woe; I, the LORD, do all these things. Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this.”—Isaiah 45:6b-8
“The Almighty has not created the universe that we may have opportunities to satisfy our greed, envy and ambition,” wrote Rabbi Abraham Heschel. “We have not survived that we may waste our years in vulgar vanities… When Israel approached Sinai, God lifted up the mountain and held it over their heads, saying: ‘Either you accept the Torah or be crushed beneath the mountain.’”
Here’s how it stands in America today. Over the past three years, the political and corporate classes in the United States have secured for themselves more than $2 trillion in tax cuts. More than half of them are going to the wealthiest one percent. The Congressional Budget Office predicts deficits totaling more than $2.75 trillion over the next 10 years. America has more children growing up in poverty than any other industrial nation. One in 37 adults living in the United States are in prison or have served time there, the highest incarceration level in the world.
“The mountain of history is over our heads again,” proclaims Rabbi Heschel. “Shall we now renew the covenant with God?”
How are charity and justice made real in your life?
Breathe in. Breathe out. Ad…..vent.
With gratitude to Pax Christi USA where some of these reflections first appeared in print.