Another December day so glorious that it surpasses all the very fine ones that have come so far. I am in the cabin in nothing more than my hoodie. Sam came out with me and got a really disgusted look on her face when I entered the cabin, as if asking what the heck I’m doing when we could be taking a second walk! It’s so warm and she’s so healed that I’ve begun to have to remind her to stay in the yard. She’s ready to resume her travels to visit the neighbors, the way suddenly free of snow and full of scents once again.
It was not nearly so nice before sunrise when we did take our walk. Who knew then that the sun would come out and the sky go as prettily blue as a summer sky. There’s only been one winter-white day so far – only one day when the sky and ground and the very air were opaque.
Despite Sam’s look, I feel like I’m part of the day when I’m here…as close to outside as I can get and still have the benefits of electricity and a laptop. Here, I can write simply because I love to.
I’ve been wanting this whole December to write about the coming of A Course of Love in the season of Advent. It’s been on my mind like something needing expression but the feeling of quietude I need to write has been largely missing, replaced by a new energy that is amazing for being peaceful. I’m doing more-or-less what I feel like doing and have spent two Sunday mornings now in a floor-length blue robe that I never wear. It was the last gift I received from my friend Sally before she died, so I couldn’t get rid of it, but it’s hung in my closet, shoved to the back so its bulk wouldn’t get in the way, since 2003.
And now I’ve worn the blue robe twice, last week until 10:30!
That’s got to sound like a restful activity, but all I can say is that the energy of this month has been different, and maybe that’s why I’ve kept thinking of the December, thirteen years ago, when A Course of Love first came to me.
Being raised a Catholic, I grew up going to Mass but never understanding the Mass. I felt a sense of the sacred there, in the mystery, the ritual, the music, the architecture, the art, in the sights, sounds and smells in the combined experience…which I tell you only to explain that this was enough for me and that I never understood the Mass or its symbolism other than for in the very most minimal of ways.
So it was that when I was getting close to the coming of ACOL yet not knowing that it was coming, and attending daily Mass in hope of clues, I felt as if I got them in all kinds of ways. One I don’t think I’ve ever talked about before was that in the week preceding ACOL’s reception, the priests kept talking about the week being the end of “ordinary time.”
You’ll see now why I had to explain my experience of Mass, because most Sunday’s of the year, if you’re looking, you’ll see something like “third Sunday in Ordinary Time” printed somewhere…but I’d never noticed it!
I have since looked up this bit of church lore and found that Ordinary Time is a season of the liturgical calendar. Ordinary Time comprises the two periods – one following Epiphany, the other following Pentecost – which do not fall into the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter.
I didn’t look it up at the time either. I was just bowled over by the change that took place, in sync with the reception of ACOL, from Ordinary Time to Advent…the time of the Coming of Christ.
Advent is meant to commemorate the First Coming while preparing for the second. In church language the second coming is often associated with the end of days and the final judgment, but I wasn’t cognizant of any of that either. As ACOL began to come and right off announced the second coming of Christ…in us…I simply felt it all to be held within the perfect timing of the sacred.
What a difference in feeling tone to imagine the second coming as an end of time associated with judgment and the return of Jesus, and a beginning of a time associated with the birth, in us, of the Christ Self. Having lived with this Course of Love all these years, the old idea of the second coming feels almost archaic. I feel like…of course it will be us who will be newly birthed.
At the Institute for Sacred Activism I was able to witness Andrew Harvey’s tears as he told of Fr. Bede Griffith’s death bed vision and words: “Grow the living Christ, Grow the living Christ, Grow the living Christ. ” Fr. Bede shared a similar vision to Jesus’ message of the second coming.
The second coming will not be he. It will be we.