“Without support and with support,

Living without light, in darkness,

I am wholly being consumed.”  John of the Cross


During Advent we semi-hermits have the privilege of setting aside time to be still and wait in the darkness of the season and into the darkness of our world.  There’s a certain level of being we come to if we are faithful to the waiting and the hoping.

Under the blunt pine

In the winter sun

The pathway dies

And the wilds begin.

Here the bird abides

Where the ground is warm

And sings alone…” Thomas Merton

The being out there alone is something I think we all experience when we are quiet enough.  And it can be uncomfortable for its strangeness.  As we stay with it in hope we might sense a bit of a support uplifting us as the unnecessary stuff within us leaks out. 

 “We live a pendulum between astonishment and perplexity.”  William Desmond

Astonishment being the place of revelation and oneness, communion.  Perplexity the abyss, the exploration out into the unknown. When we are in the place of lostness, this is not so bad a thing.

“And if, in the changing phases of man’s life

I fall in sickness and in misery

my wrists seem broken and my heart seems dead

and strength is gone and my life is only the

leavings of a life:

and still, among it all, snatches of lovely oblivion

and snatches of renewal

odd wintry flowers upon the withered stem, yet

new, strong flowers

such as my life has not brought forth before, new

blossoms of me—

then I must know that still

I am in the hands of the unknown God,

He is breaking me down to his new oblivion

To send me forth on a new morning, a new man.”  D.H. Lawrence

The wrong kind of being lost

“Adam’s confused attention to everything…multiplicity, his despair.  Adam fragments himself.”  Denise Levertov

“Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to wait for the time of praise his life story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants…”  Pope Francis   Lumen Fidei

We all know the feeling of being fragmented.  It’s the place we want to avoid.  If we come to value the abyss of lostness since it can be the place where we let go of fragmentation, we won’t be afraid. This is  a place of nothingness, a cleansing, where we are prepared to receive the time of praise, of adoration and oneness. 

So how do all these thoughts converge?  Mary is incapable of mimetic influence.  She holds the true centre.  Her focus rules her being.  She is our perfect companion in times of confusion.  She can untie the knots.  She knows how to wait and hold the uncertainties.  She knows what it means to not know and not understand and feel helpless.  She knows that when we are in that place of unknowing, it can be fruitful.  And she can accompany us. 

“Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”

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