Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent's Fourth Week

Saturday afternoon I had a deer encounter that was a first for me.

In the last week or so we have been seeing deer prints in the snow right under our bedroom windows, right up by the house. While sitting in my room at about 4:30 pm I saw something moving outside. When I looked up there were two deer right underneath my window. They were slowly moving along the house--so I went out into the hall, down to the entrance way foyer where there is also a window and where the ground rises to window level.

Lo and behold, as I got there (all of 10 seconds) one of the doe reached it, too. There we were: I, five feet from the window inside, and she, five feet from the window outside. She came nearer but I, of course, didn't move. She was just beautiful and managed to stay still and stare at me for about 30 seconds. Another sister was able to join me for most of the time.

Finally she quietly turned as a smaller deer arrived and they both walked away across the yard where a third one was waiting. We returned to my room and watched all three make their way, casually and calmly, into our woods. It was just a beautiful experience.

That kind of moment is especially memorable in Advent when our senses of waiting, watching, being aware, are highly tuned. Every day we hear in our readings of the prophets' words of watching for "the days to come" for God's people.

This week, too, we are beginning full press preparation for the weekend Christmas liturgies. Practices are scheduled and last minute organization is everywhere. Trimming of the whole house will begin slowly tomorrow, I'd expect, and hit full steam on Wednesday with the formal tree trimming ritual.

A very nice touch this year is the hanging of the O Antiphon banners in the cloister walk / hallway between chapel and the dining room. Here are the first three from Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The O Antiphons, sung by a small group of our sisters.

Our Sr. Anne McCarthy recently spent a week in Haiti. A registered nurse, Anne and the rest of the delegation spent some time in a clinic in Haiti. This op-ed piece by Anne appeared in our local paper Sunday. It gives a firsthand view of many of the present situations in this poorest of Western hemisphere countries.

Monday, O Key of David, Isaiah 22: 19-23
Tuesday, O Dayspring, Isaiah 60: 1-5
Wednesday, O Ruler of Nations, Isaiah 16: 1-5
Thursday, O Emmanuel, Isaiah 62: 10-12