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I am thankful to Fr Donal Neary, S.J., Editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger.
Some months ago he kindly published a booklet of reflections I had written on the "Stations of The Cross".
That was published before Lent and, as far as I can gather, went well. It was heartening to get feedback from people who had read the pages. The editorial team used beautiful images of the the Stations of The Cross (by Harry Clarke) that are in the College Chapel of Belevedere College.
Some time later, Fr Donal asked me if I would consider writing some reflections for Advent - along the lines of a thought for each day. I said I'd have a go and found it, at once, a challenge and an opportunity to reflect a little around the Season of Advent.
When he asked me about a title for the booklet, I was reminded of a scene I liked from the WEST WING series, when Leo McGarry was encouraging President Bartlett to run for election. He drew out of Bartlett what was true to him and then told the staff they had a strategy to go ahead. They asked what it was and he wrote on a small note pad "Let Bartlett be Bartlett" - in other words, he just needs to be allowed be himself.
The same thought struck me around Advent. Advent needs allowance to be itself in the run up to Christmas. So often, it is crowded out by music, commercialism and the rush to celebrate that it is not allowed be itself so that its potential can truly be seen.
My hope this is that the pages of this booklet might help us to recognise Advent for what it is - ADVENT - a time of waiting, a time of hoping and a call to patiently await what lies ahead.
The booklet is now published and is available. I'd like to think it might find its way into your hands since, in many ways, you - the visitors to and readers of this blog - are the ones who encourage me to write.
Thanks for that too!
"LET ADVENT BE ADVENT"
Published by Messenger Publications
This is from one of my favourite pieces in the reflections.
It's around the Inn-Keeper's wife asking him to tidy the shed at the back of their home. She'd been asking him for ages to do it and one day he decided he would. Having cleaned out the shed, he reflects on it and remembers a time his father allowed people stay there. He realises that it is a good shed - a good and decent space and that it could very easily become a room ......
"If I didn't have the few animals, I often thought it would make a nice room." Then he looked at the two as they chewed away and said; "don't worry, as long as you're here this shed is for you - you alone".
Later, when his wife asked "How did you get on cleaning the shed?" he replied: "You should see it, amazing. It's fit for a king!"
They laughed ......