Social Justice

Advent / Christmas Message 2001: The Raw Tart Marrow

posted on 03/09/01 03:29 pm by Fr. Paul Hansen, C.Ss.R.  

The daily News invites us to consider these times as insecure, emotionally raw. We are invited to contemplate them as the beginning of the ‘new normal.’ The President of the United States told us that the best way to respond to the bombings on September 11th was to get out and spend. I went into memory and found hope.

Walter Brueggemann suggests that we are in a period of major dislocation, exile. He compares our times to those experienced by the ancient Israelites in captivity and exile in Babylon. Psychologically they are as devastating. The Ancients were told not to recall the past and the mighty deeds of their God but to try and see the New Deed being done – paths in the wilderness, streams in the desert. To do so in these our times, I recommend Desert Eyes. Yes the desert is full of life but you need to be there for a while until your eyes adjust. Then you will see wonderful life that can comfort, nourish, heal and invite awe and wonder. The same is true of these our times.

‘Advent is an excursion through scripture meant to give depth and emotional stability to the days for which there are no songs, no tinsel, no flashing lights to distract us from its raw, tart marrow.’

Christmas is not the birth of Jesus. It only commemorates the birth of Jesus. It is our rebirth that Christmas seeks to celebrate. Christmas is the culmination of an Advent time that invites us to new life, new insight, new awareness and new energy of heart.

So many of us are spending so much of our time about the management of distractions. We along with others are invited to pay attention in an age of distractions. Some call it mindfulness, others invite us to see all things in their interbeing nature, their interdependence.

I found hope in an exchange of letters between Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hanh. Both invite the formation of “communities of resistance.”

‘There are many features of modern society that assault one’s integrity and rob one of the capacity to be oneself. Resistance in our time must mean opposition to being invaded, occupied, assaulted and destroyed by the system.’

The initial purpose of resistance should be to seek the healing of yourself in order to be able to see clearly. In such communities, people are invited to return to themselves more easily, where the conditions are such that they can heal themselves and recover their wholeness in order to be compassionate and a prophetic voice to power.

This Advent-Christmas may we all develop desert eyes and the art of creative resistance.

Paul E. Hansen

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