BLESSINGS of joy and peace! May the Promise of this season find a home in your heart!

Our lives are a story, dear friends, a pilgrimage in which, hopefully, we grow to spiritual maturity, where we experience inner peace and joy, serenity, in trustfulness, in self-forgetting to self-transcendence. We are invited to surrender to the Holy Mystery together -- in loving communion with one another allowing the Spirit to make us one ... As long as we journey, as long as we are pilgrims and shaping our stories, we cherish the silence at the end of our activity and in the midst of our prayer, where the Holy One is present to be reverenced in mystery and loved in truth.

~ Leo J. O'Donovan
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Only my footsteps in the snow,
Only the glow of my fire,
Only a choir of wind to sing the benediction.
But I feast on memories
In a holy place.
It has been so long since I have heard my own voice
It startles me
When I say the grace.
May all things lost, apart, alone
Find some small shelter of their own.

~ from THE ART OF BEV DOOLITTLE, "A Mountain Man's Christmas" by Elsie Maclay
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A secret sympathy unites a great community. They recognize one another by a sign, by a look, by the magnetic atmosphere that each one emanates; by their silences more than by their words. Like the children of Light, they have the desire to know and to understand, to love and to believe. The countenances of the greatest among them are veiled by a strange melancholy; for the tragedy of the universe weighs heavily upon their hearts. They feel themselves responsible for it, as portions of the earthly providence that watches over human destiny. But through this veil there shines like an aureole of light the inward joy of those who behold Divinity. In the silence they are conscious of being united to all living creatures by an invisible thread.

~ from FROM SPHINX TO CHRIST by Edouard Shure
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Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home ...

~ from "Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth
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One dark night
fired by love's urgent longing
ah, the sheer grace --
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled
... with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.
This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where You waited for me
You whom I knew so well.

~ John of the Cross
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Drop down, ye heavens, from above,
O sky distill your balmy showers,
For now is risen the star of love
From the rose Mary, flower of flowers:
The clear Sun whom no cloud obscures,
Surmounting daylight undefiled,
Has come down from Heavenly towers
And unto us is born a child.

~ from "Nativity" by Wm. Dunbar (1500) modern version by Wendell Berry
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The Child is an almost universal symbol for the soul's transformation. The child is whole, not yet divided. When we would heal the mind, we ask this child to speak to us.

~ Susan Griffin
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There must come a winter for every seed. There must come that which protects and shields the seed toward spring, that which indeed gives its life and absorbs the hatred of winter for life, that mysterious essence which is the sacrificial aspect of life. It made the seed possible. It keeps the seed growing in the hidden ways of winter. It takes upon its heart the pangs of Christ-birth, the furor of all the Herods who represent that part of the race which bitterly had died, which had become death incarnate. She understood. He did not speak of such things. They must not be spoken within the seed. But every particle of it must know from within, in the silence.

~ from RANIA by Dane Rudhyar
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