The Catholic Community  of St. John Neumann
A Christian Church of the Catholic Tradition
Califon, NJ

weekly Writing

Glory and Glow

        A hush descends in this season of anticipation.  Advent brings candlelight, reflection, preparation, and prayer.  As Christmas approaches, we can make time to do for others.  We can strive to fill our days with kindness and purpose, and to ponder the path and the past in recognition of magnificence.   Advent is a time of intention.  Advent abounds in glimmers of glory.  We get ready.  We make gifts to give.   We trim our trees.  Mindful of the blessings of family, we share stories and memories.  We position the crèche and think of the Holy Family.  Quiet background carols repeat the messages of the season... this glowing and warm season of glory.
       Where do we experience glory?  How does it manifest?  What does it mean for us in this century, in this season?  Some associate glory with fame or victory, but the kind of glory Advent encourages is paired with honor, filled with praise, splendor and grace.  Our faith contains much mention of glory, all during the Liturgical Year.  We recite the Gloria at Mass.  When we say the Rosary, we end each decade with the Glory Be.  In the final segment of the Our Father, we intone For the kingdom, the power, and the glory, are yours, now and forever.   The church year begins with Advent, with glory.  Glory celebrates the greatness of God, the humility and humanity of Jesus, the gifts of the Spirit.  Glory connects and carries us.  Glory is the ultimate glow, the perfect circle of light.
        In this week’s readings, the Old Testament text about Jerusalem contains the word glory no fewer than half-a-dozen times! (Repeat the sounding joy!)  And Saint Paul urges and prays that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value … filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.    As we process through Advent, let us discern what is of value.
        In the film Little Women (directed by Gillian Armstrong, 1994), the March sisters lament several things – their lack of funds and presents, the sorry condition of a country torn by conflict, the absence of their father at Christmastime.  Yet, as they ascend the stairs for the night, each carrying a glowing candle, the song they sing radiates their faith, hope and joy:  Ding dong! Merrily on high, in heav’n, the bells are ringing.  Ding dong!  Verily the sky is riv’n with angel singing: Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria! Hosanna in excelsis!   Let us (despite our trials) quietly send strains of glory and joy into the Advent air.  Let us believe.  Let’s make a special attempt to notice glory and glow as we move through upcoming weeks, readying for the miracle of Christmas. 
                                                                                                    Linda Caprio