Fourth Sunday of Advent

PHOTO: LAURENCE FREEMAN
 
As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
 
The unborn, unseen makes its presence felt in our life from within. If we rely exclusively on the external evidence of our senses we will miss the most important dimensions of reality. In our dark moments, we will fail to believe in our real potential – the ‘promise’ yet to be fulfilled, the new life yet to be born which is the heart and soul of our runup to Christmas.
 
When we only react to changing circumstances, pushed around by the wheel of fortune, we live in fear of the helter-skelter aspect of life and we dread the next big dip in our emotions. Many of us live more or less continuously in this state of fear and trembling. Or we live in fear of being afraid because we remember how frightening fear can be. This fear – as we see in some contemporary reactions to terrorism – destroys our balance of mind and good judgement.
 
If this can happen in the external world, we can also become spiritually bipolar, oscillating between the light and dark parts of the inward journey. The experience of God is objectified. It seems to be alternately revealing and cruelly withdrawing itself - the gods playing with us as small boys with flies as Shakespeare’s tragic vision once described it.
 
When the interior senses awaken we move to a place where all the opposites, the dips and peaks of the helter-skelter of the emotion-driven ego, are held in a new stability of consciousness. Depth, balance, proportion, prudence form in this womb of interior stillness. The pains and joys, the losses and discoveries, of life are no less intense. But they no longer push us out of the ring of equanimity - or at least, if they do, we climb back in quickly for the next round.
 
As this inner balance grows Christ is formed in us. It makes acceptance of what is – the pre-condition of happiness – easier and more intuitive. You never know when your balance may be hit by turbulence. But you can be ready for the unknown, like buildings specially constructed in earthquake zones. You find it easier to live confidently with uncertainty. In this balance and alertness of mind the joy of being - and healthy humour – become your companions. The interior dimension of reality is one that ordinary science cannot observe. That is why today we culturally ignore the spiritual dimension. Nonetheless we get messages from this dimension of being, the kick of God from the womb of our potential, and the Holy Spirit surprisingly fills us.

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