Saturday, December 09, 2006Advent: Words from Catherine Doherty
"Today is very quiet. Are you listening? If you are lisening, you can hear the faint sound of tinkling bells. He who is pure of heart and childlike shall hear the bells of the donkey ring in his life." ~Catherine Doherty, Donkey Bells
Advent is a time when we are called to a renewal inside: an opening of our hearts as we prepare for the birth of Christ. It is a time when we can prepare the "cradles" of our hearts for our Beloved who comes to us on Christmas Eve when, in that sacred moment, to the world's eyes, The Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us.
Catherine Doherty of Madonna House helped me to go deeper into the spiritual aspect of Advent through her book titled Donkey Bells. She brought alive the Advent season in a spiritually enriching way. Below are some passages to share with those of you who are not familiar with her writings or with this book.
"Advent is a short season, yet it covers a long distance. It is the road of a soul from Nazareth to Bethlehem..." she writes. "...In truth, Advent is the road of the spiritual life which all of us must start if we do not want to miss the way...
We must start with a 'fiat' that re-echoes Mary's fiat ('Let it be done, O Lord') . It is a fiat that each of us should say in the quiet of our hearts."
"But let us understand that this 'Bethlehem' we seek is within our own souls, our own hearts, our own minds. Advent is a time of standing still, and yet making a pilgrimage. It is an inner pilgrimage, a pilgrimage in which we don't use our feet. We stand still; yet, in a manner of speaking, we walk a thousand miles across the world - just because we chose to stand still."
--It is a "journey of the spirit, which is a thousand times harder than a journey of the feet. Let us 'arise and go'."
She speaks of Advent in Russia... it was all about cleansing from the inside out: "...My mother used to say that the days of Advent were the days of building a golden stairway that would lead us to a star, the star of Bethlehem. And this, in turn, would lead us straight to the Christ Child."
~"It is a time for renewal; it is especially a time for forgiveness because God brings His forgiveness to us in the shape of His Son. The Church year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. And very time it comes around, my heart thrills anew."
Catherine Doherty also mentions the bells as being the reminder of our coming Love:
~"I pray that your hearts and souls and ears will hear very clearly the bells of the donkey, not only in Advent but throughout the year. I wish to give you the sound of a donkey's bells so that you might hear it all your life, for then you shall also ride with the holy one and hear the first church bells, which were the donkey's bells when he was carrying Our Lady and Our Lord."
~"To me, the bells of this season, whenever they ring, either for Mass or for the Angelus, always have the joyous sound of wedding bells. For Advent is 'the springtime of love', when the soul awaits her Lover, knowing deep down that He is coming and that He will make her His own!"
To read more exerpts from Donkey Bells, click here. Donkey Bells is available for purchase through Madonna House Publications.
~Sia, Vancouver, WA