1 December
Lk 21:29-33

Jesus told the disciples a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

When someone claims to be spiritually advanced, said the Sufi mystic Ahmed Al-‘Alawi, ask them about union with God.  “See if his being reflects it.  If he says God is distant, this is because he himself is far from God.  But if he says God is near, count him most worthy.”

“The Kingdom of God is near,” Jesus said (Lk 21:31; Mt 3:2; 4:17; 10:7).  It could not be nearer; it is among you, he said.  It is present in him. 

When there’s no distance there’s no room for rationalising or postponing, no room even for straight thinking.  We set great store by thinking, and of course it is one aspect of the light that is in us.  But there is a kind of light that looks at first like darkness.  It is the light the mystics speak of.  Read these verses from The Dark Night, the best known poem of St John of the Cross:

One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
- ah, the sheer grace! -
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! -
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

On that glad night
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything
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 he was awaiting me
- him I knew so well -
there in a place where no one appeared.

O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover....

 

 
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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 

 

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