A memory from our parish days of reflection this past week: it was Monday night and the lights were low in Serra Chapel. Sister Patricia and Father Jude invited us to move slowly in a single line from our places in the pews, candles in hand, in a ritualized “pilgrimage” walk down the center aisle to the altar then around to the outer aisles, filling in the space all the way around the chapel. When we came to a stop, there were just enough of us to stand comfortably, shoulder-to-shoulder, a continuous, connected glowing line.
Music accompanied us and then got quiet. We were invited to look around. Here we were, our presence representing a community of faith. Through the candlelight I saw the face and brown-robed silhouette of Father Larry. The circle would not have been complete without him!
One aspect of our ritual was particularly striking for me: to form the circle of light, each of us had to walk a shorter or longer distance, depending on where we were sitting in the chapel when we joined the procession. This showed me that no one of our life journeys is exactly alike, yet walked in faith, each path leads to an experience of God’s original design for all of us: to become part of a grand and living body of life and light to be shared.
A recurring theme in our parish retreat was that the power of God in scripture is that of a word that brings about what it says. Let there be light! …and there was light. As we patiently yield over time to its loving, creative power, the word of God’s light can guide us and take flesh in us. We become, together, what we were created to be. That’s my Advent prayer for all of us!
Fr. Dan ofm, Pastor