Adventia, day 23

Currently, I am reading through a favourite book of prayers, poetry, and contemplative practice entitled “Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits” (Loyola Press, Chicago / ed. by Michael Harter, SJ 1993/2004). It is a useful and rich resource as an accompaniment and guide to the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. It is also a perfect place to start for anyone interested in exploring the highly imaginative, participatory manner Ignatian spirituality teaches meditation by drawing one to inhabit biblical narratives.

For Adventia, day 23, I am sharing this gorgeous and inventive retelling of the Luke 2 story by Michael Moynahan, SJ simply titled, “In the Out House.”

It’s been a long,

dusty ride.

A steep and winding road

weaves serpentine

up the side of mountains.

They race the sun

with prospects of a new head to tax,

albeit a small one,

an impending certainty.

Sky and mother

are visual proof.

They reach the city


but full of hope.

The husband,

mistaken on occasion

for her father,

fails to act his age

and dashes toward

a door about to close.

“Excuse me,

Could you give us a room for the night?

Some place to lay our heads?”

“Can’t you read, buster?

We’re all filled up.”

“I understand.

It’s my wife,

She’s about to have her first child.”

“That’s not my problem.”

“He’s not a problem.

He’s a fact

of life.”

“Open your ears, buddy,

because I’m only

gonna say this once.

We ain’t got no room.

So scram!”

“I understand”

is drowned

by the sound of a

slammed door.

Three times he will try

to find them lodging.

And with each failure

fell less capable

of caring for his wife

and that life within her

wanting out.

“It doesn’t look good.

All their rooms are taken.”

“Don’t worry.

God will provide.”

And all the time thinking:

“That’s what I’m afraid of.

They’re sorry

but they’re full.

It’s looking bleak.”

“God will give us

what we need.”

He shakes his head.

She believes this

and it comforts him little.

The third stop

looking like a

distant bleak relation

of the previous two.

Until the owner’s wife

spies the young girl wince

from movement she understands

all too well.

“You can have

the place out back.

It isn’t much

but it will be a roof

over your heads.

There’s fresh hay thrown.

The animals won’t bother you

and the child will be warm.

I’ll get some rags and water.

Go on now,

the mother

and baby

are waiting.”


the young girl’s face



Adventia, day 21

I am aware that this just feels lazy. Maybe it is! However, for Adventia, day 21, I’m redirecting you to another favourite site of mine, Art and Theology, where you will find a most remarkable collection of deeply considered, carefully curated, imaginatively presented artistic fare. All of it is steeped in theological depth and mystery and points us heavenward where we live with God in the perfect dance of truth and beauty.

I give you “Out of the Ash” by William Everson. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Adventia, day 16

Nothing makes Advent better than great music. Today we listen to the wonderful arrangement of the famous Austrian folk tune, “Still, Still, Still” by Future of Forestry.

Still, Still, still
Let all the earth be still
For Mary in her arms enfolding
Hope of all the world is holding
Still, still, still
Let all the earth be still

Sing, sing, sing,
Sweet angel voices sing
While Jesus lies in manger dreaming
Seraph choirs from heaven are streaming
Sing, sing, sing
Sweet angel voices sing

Light light light
Let all the earth be light
The holy star its news a blazing
Sign of hope for nations blazing
Light, light, light
Let all the earth be light

Adventia, day 11

For Adventia, day 11 I am featuring a poet I have long held in high regard. Malcolm Guite is a poet, priest, and singer-songwriter. He is Chaplain of Girton College and Associate Chaplain of St. Edward King and Martyr in Cambridge. Best of all, he champions older forms of poetry which, in my view, best encapsulate the cosmos they seek to inhabit. He is especially adept at the sonnet.

On the back cover of Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year from which this poem is culled, Luci Shaw says the following, “Each of Malcolm Guite’s sonnets is like a Celtic knot, with threads of devotion and theology cunningly woven into shining emblems of truth and beauty. Whether spoken aloud or read silently, these poems speak to mind and soul.”

Run to the nearest bookstore worth its salt and purchase whatever Malcolm Guite books they have. You will not be disappointed.

Adventia, day 6

Our offering for Adventia, day 6 comes to us by way of the Adventus Project, which did a wonderful Advent exploration a couple years ago. And, of course, C. S. Lewis never disappoints.

What the Bird Said Early in the Year
C.S. Lewis


I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.

This year time’s nature will no more defeat you,
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! – the gates are drawn apart.