Last night I retired at 10:20, woke at 4: 10, prayed part of a Rosary and went back to sleep again till ten of 7! (That is LATE for me). I woke to a pulsing realization of the unbelievable sadness, the it-can’t-be-ness of abortion. Oh! A tiny being that God in his infinite love has seen fit to create out of nothing, or almost nothing—and just now, I’m thinking—the miracle of the loaves and the fishes!
We offer up an egg and a spermatozoa (which He gave us in the first place) and He gives us a human being. A rare, rare uniquely precious…a being! A human being…
This is the kind of thing we feel, if we’re lucky, when we get really quiet.
I wake early and sit in the dark with my breviary, incense and Lux Perpetua candle and listen to the fountain in the courtyard, and the birds. I’ve taken my daily walk almost always toward dusk or even in full-on dark and the lights of the city have been especially vivid in the cool, sharp black night. I have slept with my Christmas lights on each night, and had a huge vase of pepper tree branches with their red berries in my room since December 1st, and have missed Mass only once (St. John of the Cross, December 14, which pained me, especially because I allowed the fact that I couldn’t get online with my new laptop to suck my day dry…).
I’m surrounded by paintings, icons, old calendars and cards of the Virgin and Child, and of course the Gospel readings this week are all about the coming of Jesus.
I can hardly remember a more beautiful Advent, though they are all beautiful, and though this one, as always, has had its share of snafus, challenges, and conflicts.
How fragile we are.
How easily we rely on things that can’t much help us.
How alone we often feel.
With the Christmases of my native New Hampshire in my heart, Christmas in L.A. has always felt like a particular kind of poverty and exile. This year, with my mother gone (the three-month anniversary of her death is Christmas Day), I feel the exile especially keenly. But all that means is I get to look extra hard for a stab of beauty, for a moment of connection, for the light that shines in the darkness.
How grateful I am for all of you. My work requires a constant process of discernment: to want to give and to know my limitations;, to be accessible and to make appropriate boundaries; to have the courage to speak and to know silence is often the better part of obedience and humility. Maybe the most difficult thing of all is to receive.
As St. John of the Cross said, “Where there is no love, put love–and you will find love.”
Love to you all this Christmas, and beyond–