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Soul FriendsBack to Soul Friends

Advent Thoughts: December 13th

Posted by Ellyn Sanna on December 13, 2011, 8:36 am


So far Rahner’s Advent ingredients have been:

- preparation
- time to be alone
- self-acceptance

So as we sit alone, preparing our hearts by having the courage to be truly present to whatever we find there in the dark silence, what next? Here are Rahner’s next words of advice:

You will discover how everything that emerges from that silence is surrounded by an indefinable distance, permeated as it were by something that resembles a void. Do not yet call it God! It is only what points to God and, by its namelessness and limitlessness, intimates to us that God is something other than one more thing added to those we usually have to deal with. It makes us aware of God’s presence, if we are still and do not flee in terror from the mystery which is present and prevails in the silence—do not flee even to the Christmas-tree or to the more tangible religious concepts which can kill religion.

It’s interesting to me that Rahner indicates that “religious concepts” kill religion, that the very symbols of Christmas that seem most lovely can actually interfere with our spiritual experience of Advent.

I’m reminded of the Zen teaching quoted in the Anamchara Book Brother Lawrence: A Christian Zen Master: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” The passage from Brother Lawrence goes on to say: “This seemingly brutal and nonsensical statement reminds us to beware of . . . false gods. We cling to the image, the face we take for granted we know so well, and we miss the reality.” And later in the book, a quote from Uchiyami Rosi advises: “Cast off everything and just sit, making the self into the self.” Brother Lawrence echoes this: “Enter into yourself. . . . Be like a beggar who can neither speak nor move but simply waits at the gait. Come silently, without words, into the Divine Presence.”

May you find time for these moments of mystery and silence within the holiday season!
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