Spirituality Office

Office of Spirituality 12/4/19

Second week in Advent

In our first week we sat with the word Maranatha – to quiet us, to bring us into God’s presence and to prepare us to listen.  We continue that in week two for only five to ten minutes paying attention to how God might be reaching out to us.

**************************
During Advent on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. The Cathedral Church of the Incarnation on Cathedral Avenue in Hempstead is showing a Video on Contemplative Prayer by Joan Chittister.  All are welcome.

 *************************

Christmas/Epiphany Concert by the Babylon Chorale – January 5th – 2:00 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel.  All are welcome.

  ***************************

         

Christmas Eve Liturgy – 4:00 p.m. – Sacred Heart Chapel.  All are welcome.

 ***************************

Alleluia every day by Joan Chittister

Someplace along the way, in the early years of my growing up, I heard someone explain that people who went to heaven would sit at the throne of God and sing, “Alleluia,” all day long. “Oh, no,” I groaned inwardly.  At that moment, heaven, however important it remained in my young mind, lost some of its immediacy.  If not some of its luster.

then, I grew up and realized the import of what it really meant to be able to sing alleluia all day long, every day of your life.  The very thought of it spun my world in an audacious new direction.  What if life itself was meant to be one long alleluia moment?  Here, indeed, resided the real meaning, the real hope, of life.  But was it possible?

How is it possible to say alleluia to the parts of life that weigh us down, that drain our spirits dry, that seem to deserve anything but praise?

The question is a worthy one.  Life, after all, is a struggle, a journey in uncharted space, an exercise in both gain and loss, joy and sorrow.  No life consists of nothing but success and satisfaction, security and self-gratification.  Failure and disappointment, loss and pain, are natural parts of the human equation.  Then what use is an alleluia, except perhaps to encourage some kind of emotionally unhealthy self-deception?

But alleluia is not a substitute for reality.  It is simply the awareness of another whole kind of reality — beyond the immediate, beyond the delusional, beyond the instant perception of things.  In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word is an injunction to praise, a call to the people to summon up praise in themselves.  It is a challenge to see in life more than is seeable in any single moment and to trust it.  In the Christian Scriptures, it is a formula of praise.  Most of all, it is an intensely emotional response that, in early liturgical use, was said the entire year, even in liturgies.  In the most ancient part of the tradition, then, it calls us to see all of life as life-giving, somehow, in some way, whether its present gifting is apparent or not.

Every segment of life is both gift and challenge, both endowment and responsibility. We lurch back and forth between total confidence and abject despair, between security and uncertainty, between total confidence and abject despair, between the enrichment that comes from differences and the divisions that come from fear.  It is learning to cling to a sense of alleluia for both that carries us through life to that moment when everything in us has come to fullness and our only next step is immersion in God.

Alleluia is a call to reflection, the basis of contemplation, the final “Amen,” to all that is.