Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Sunday of Advent

In order to reflect the change of rhythm in this Advent season, the posts will be shorter and on Saturday, each week describing the story of an angel annunciating Christmas.

The following week, concerning the twelve Holy Nights, I will post each day a story, which I will tell my children at night before going to bed.

The Blue Angel:

How do we know that Christmas is approaching? we cannot perceive it with our eyes, because the days and nights go on as usual, and men live and take care of their business as usual; we cannot perceive it with our ears, because the sounds resounding are the same as always, the cars passing by, the planes landing, the children screaming, and so on.

But nonetheless, four weeks before Christmas something very special happens: a great angel comes down from heaven to invite the inhabitants of the earth to prepare for Christmas; this angel has a blue cape, weaved with silence and peace. Most of the people do not perceive him, beause they are busy with many other things, but the angel sings with a deep voice, and only those who have an attentive heart can listen.

His song goes like this: "The heaven is coming to earth, God comes to inhabit the hearts of Men, Pay attention! Thrust the door wide open!

So it is, that in a day like today, the angel passes by, and talks to all mankind, and those who listen take care in preparing Christmas, singing some songs and lighting candles....

Soline and Pierre Lehnard

Thursday, November 17, 2011


These excerpts are from a book on Festivals:

"The movement of the sun and the stars in relation to the earth determine the course of the Christian year, but each of its festivals reveals part of the content of Christianity. the year begins just before the natural turning point of midwinter. It starts quietly with a season of preparation, of waiting, of listening for what is to come. It begins, like the day, with a quiet period of twilight in which the sky grows brighter and the early light gradually seeps through the grey of night, until the dusk is at last filled within the mighty glow of the sun's rising. Advent is the twilight which comes before the sunrise of Christmas. the mood of this time is quiet contemplation. the great truth of Christ's coming will be the theme of Christmas. it can be taken up in thought and pondered in the heart during the four weeks of preparation. The sense of expectancy increases as the thought deepen. the mood of anticipation gives the season its special character...."

One of the things that help in this is the actual house preparation, with more time indoors, we are having laundry better folded, the tidiness shows glowing in the living areas and the bedrooms are finally at peace. Also the starting of decorations, with lights around, pictures of the Mother and Child, the advent wreath, the tree without yet ornaments, the laying of the scenery for the manger scene, everything beautiful to hint at  Christmas. The Advent spiral is also a traditional custom that exemplifies this silent, quiet, reverent walk to the center that lies ahead.

The Light of the Spirit in the House of the Body

"This season is one of struggle and its tranquility will often have to be won in face of disturbance. All the hindrances arise that could make hard and difficult the coming of Christmas as a spiritual event. Foremost among them is the commercial Christmas of the present day, drawing the interest of people to outer things, filling the quiet with material distractions.....This is not however the only kind of hindrance. Struggles between people, disturbances in destiny, often occur just in these weeks, which are rarely uneventful in ordinary life. the forces against quiet and peace of mind are out to shatter the true mood of Advnent. Strength of will is needed to renew tranquility again and again, from within, against discouragement. Advent is not to be experienced without effort."

Every year, at this time, conflicts start to abound in my life, outer and inner conflicts, and I like to remind myself that this shall too pass, and that I need to show endurance in the face of upheavals, a willful yet soft endurance, like the whisper of a humming sound under a storm.

During our months of Spanish rhymes and verses I have been  using the material from Tamara Chubarovsky, a speech therapist from Spain, now though I start to use my own, and for this season we will include K , P, N, sounds for the working of dwarfs beneath the soil:

Click, clock, click, clock,
los enanitos van picando.
Click, clock, click, clock,
piedras preciosas bajo el manto.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Saint Martin

Following this trend of relationships and the true bride, we have stumbled upon the story "East of the Sun and West of the Moon".

It is for me such an analogy of the relationship with our spouse, and how when falling in love we "see" the real person, their higher self, their true being, yet this vision fades away with time and it is a struggle to both recapture it and mantain it, just like the true Princess struggle through the journey. We start then complaining about our spouse, seeing the weaknesses instead of their virtues and pretty soon we are tearing the whole building down. Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

It is through this vision of the higher self that also our own redemption is linked, as long as we still see the best of our spouse, there will be the impulse for them to become like that and the same for us. But many times we are paralized to do the change that is necessary in us in order to "see" again. Fear and pride stand in our way, we may feel that we are right and the spouse is wrong, or that we do not have the courage to change what is an habit. It is here that Christ again brings the possibility for us to leap with faith, and embrace that first vision with a strong grasp.

Around Martinmas times also the darkness is stronger, and for the same reason the light in us is prompted to shine brighter, this is the story of the young Martin, who then became Saint Martin:

How Saint Martin got his name: ( Catalan version)

Martin's father was a brave soldier from Hungary, under the commandment of the Roman Emperor, he traveled a lot and when his wife was pregnant and ready to give birth, she called him to come back home. The baby was born and everone was very happy, it was boy. The father, who was pagan brought him to the Altar of Mars and with the sword he made three movements around the baby, saying Martin, Martin, Martin, which mean little Mars.

The father was sent to Italy and the wife begged him to come along, -How come your son will learn to be a good soldier if he is not around you?. The father acquiesced and all the family moved to Italy where Martin grew up to be a good boy, he inherited the courage from his father and the good heart from his mother, he would usually defend animals and small children from unjustice.

Once Martin saw three boys who were torturing frogs in the bank river, they were tyeing with rope the legs and then left them in the water to see them struggling, Martin cryed: -What are you doing? the boys were ready to put the ropes on him too, and as the biggest boy got closer with the ropes Martin stampeded againt him and threw him in the water; while the remaining boys were helping their friend out of the river, Martin got the ropes of the frogs loose and softly, tenderly put them in the water again.

At 12 years old, tha father one day told the family about a new religion that was sprouting in the area, they were called Christians, they had the sign of a fish to mark their doorposts and some of them were refusing to be soldiers, they said that they were called to be all brothers. Martin went to the house in the village which the Christians use as meeting place and he listened to the songs. One day an older man and a youth came to the door and saw Martin, the youth invited him in and that is how Marin got to know the Christians for the first time. They told them the story about their master, how he had died on the cross and how he had resurrected, and that now it was possible for all to see him, and that they were all called to brotherly love.

Martin could not talk about these things at home, but he listened to the Christians speaking and his heart grew warm for their people.

At 15 yearslold Saint Martin was appointed to a teacher, to learn the art of soldiers, bow and arrow, jabaline, horse-riding, etc... and he was sent to the borders, to fight against the Germans. He served diligently the army for some years but eventhough he had lost contact with the Christians, his heart was empty with this job and longed for something.

One year Martin was at the border between France and Germany, it was the time to receive new clothes for the army especially those in good ranks. Martin got a new big coat, all lined with sheepskin and it was so long that it covered part of his horse as well. By November, one of the coldest nights he was travelling to Amiens, the icy winds were swirling any leaves that were left, it was so cold that even the ravens did not dare to fly, when all of a sudden, in front of him, Martin saw a man half naked, behind a rock that scarcely protected him from the winds. Saint Martin got closer, he took his sword and cut his coat in two, giving half of it to the beggar.

That night, when in deep sleeping  Martin had a dream, and he heard someone calling his voice, Martin, Martin! he saw two angels clothed with light bringing the half of the coat that he had given the beggar, and behind them the figure of the beggar, shining with light and with a radiant look in his eyes, he was saying: -Martin, you have clothed me while my body was naked, you have done this to me, as the least of your brothers, come and receive my peace.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cambric shirt

We are getting ready for this afternoon gardenining work, we will stir cow manure that has been composted in humus, in rain water for one hour, sing songs and then go around town spraying in the yards and gardens for nourishment in the winter planting.

One of the songs that we will sing is a famous one from England, Scarborough Fair, and it reminds me of the continuous work that we do in life, in relationships, to see the best in every person. I am reading a book on The Meaning of Love by Soloviev and there are many quotes from the texts that are describing this striving:

"I can only acknowledge the absolute significance of a given person, or believe in him (without which true love is impossible), by affirmation of oneself in th sphere of the absolute, by affirming him in God, and consequently by belief in God himself, and in myself, as possessing in God the center and root of my own existence. This triune faith is already a certain internal act, and by this act is laid the first basis of a true union of the man with his other and the restoration in it (or in them) of the image of God......
But in order for the faith to be a living faith, it must set itself steadfastly against that existing society where meaningless chance builds its dominion upon the play of animal passions and, still worse, human passions. Against these hostile powers, believing faith has only one defensive weapon-endurance to the end. Te earn its bliss, it must take up its cross. In our materialistic society it is impossible to preserve true love, unless we understand and accept it as a moral achievement. Not without reason does the Orthodox Church in her  marriage ceremony make mention of holy martyrs and compare their crowns to the bridal crowns.
Religious faith and moral achievement safeguard an individual human and his love from being engulfed by materialistic society dyring this lifetime, but they do not give a triumph over death....An individual can really be saved, i.e, can regenerate and immortalize his individual life in true love, only conjointly or together with others."

This ties also with the lecture of the Gospel for this week, Reveltaions 3, 1-6, where John talks to the Church of Sardis, as they are asleep, yet some of them are worthy and will be clothed with the white garment. As we ponder on these thoughts and carry the work for the Earth, we bring this verse:

Let us but rightly, oh Spirit of Worlds,
Be penetrated
By spirit-grasping aspiration,
that we won't miss
That, what can be done for the good of the Earth
And for the progress of the Earth.
to wrest from Pride and Fear,
in the right sense.