©Michele L. Catanese
* We just began Year B in the three year cycle of Sunday readings. You might be more familiar with the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke which do not appear in this cycle. Suggestion: As an Advent preparation, I highly recommend reflection upon the Mass readings from each day of the season so that you can let the Spirit guide you to deeper understanding. It is in the daily Mass readings that you will find more of the rich prophecy of Isaiah and also the infancy narrative readings which can help the Sunday readings to have more of a context.
Note: Next post will be on December 18.
1. This is one of my photos. This is the Judean desert not far from the Dead Sea. You can see a mountain in the distance amid the barrenness of the desert. This photo seemed to exemplify the mountain and desert theme, thus inclusion at the beginning of the post. If you gaze at it long enough, the Spirit might enable you to hear the voice of "one crying out in the desert:" John.
2. This is another of my photos, taken in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It seems to be a burning bush, or at least the explosion of gold makes me think of it as such. If one looks closely enough, every common bush is afire. ~ Apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning; a reference to Aurora Leigh, #86, verses 61-64. See http://www.bartleby.com/236/86.html
3. This is an icon written by Fr. William Hart McNichols called St. John The Forerunner Also The Baptist. I chose it here because it shows both mountain and desert. John is preaching in the desert, but as I am applying it, the mountain is the source of his inspiration insofar as it is a reference to God's holy mountain. You can find this icon for purchase in multiple formats at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-john-the-forerunner-also-the-baptist-082-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
4. This icon is also the work of Fr. William Hart McNichols called The Mother of God Overshadowed By The Holy Spirit. It is one of my favorite icons written by Fr. Bill, (though I admit to saying that about almost all of his Marian icons), and that is partly why I chose it for this spot in the entry. The Spirit overshadows the praying Virgin Mary. It is too exquisite to make further comment. It can be found, also for purchase, in one of many mediums at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-mother-of-god-overshadowed-by-the-holy-spirit-118-william-hart-mcnichols.html. (What a terrific Advent greeting card it makes!)
5. This gorgeous snow scene is the work of Claude Monet called Environs de Honfleur, Neige, (Neighborhood of Honfleur, Snow) (1866-67). It seems to embody the example I used about the silence of a fallen snow. For those who do not live in a northern area and are unfamiliar with snow, a blanket of fresh overnight snow creates a hush over everything and one can indeed tell that it has snowed before even arising from bed. It is the most wondrous 'sound' because there is no sound, but yet it is full of possibility. Also note the bird flying overhead. The Holy Spirit perhaps?
6. This is a photo I took while in Palo Duro Canyon Park, north Texas. It fit well here because it shows what appear to be two diverging path choices in the desert as well as a mountain in the background.
7. I took this photo at Copper Mountain, Colorado, at sunset. I love the colors that are reflected on the clouds from a setting sun which is out of sight. I chose it because it reminded me of the process of discernment in which the Holy Spirit can be reflected in our prayer. We do not see God, but we see His action reflected in the response of our heart and then in the subsequent inspiration to offer acts of love and mercy.
8. This drawing of an Advent wreath is obviously for the first week of Advent. I thought it was appropriate to end with this image to remind us that we have now begun the journey to Christmas, and so we seek Jesus, the One who has already come into the world long ago, but Who we continually strive to bring anew to those who seek...such as ourselves.