Fourth Sunday of Advent

An excerpt from Caryll Houselander’s, “Lift Up Your Hearts”:

“The condition of peace is courage, but the moments in which we most long for it are those when courage seems most difficult.  When all that we want is to loosen our hold, to throw off responsibility, to rest.  We want not a sword, but a lap big enough to bury our head on.  It is comfort then to realise that the courage peace demands is in fact to relax, to throw all our care into the lap of God.  It means that we must take the risk of trusting God’s love, believing Christ’s word, loving one another…

So it is that peace on earth can be restored through the hearts of the unknown, humble people in all the countries of the world who open their hearts to the Lamb of God that in them the whole world’s peace may begin.

Advent is closing and the longing of the church for light and for the spring, the budding forth of the saviour, is culminating in the mystery of Christmas, and we can put aside our cares to make the house of our soul ready for the child, with prayer as simple as a folk song, rocking the cradle of peace to the beating of the human heart.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

[Artwork is “A Little Girl Rocking a Cradle”, by Nicolaes Maes, circa 1655]

3 thoughts on “Fourth Sunday of Advent

  1. Gabrielle, The more I read of Caryll Houselander the more I want to read. She’s very good at getting across our sense of belonging and being one body, and of each individual’s empowering influence on the whole Church/ world.
    Whose is the painting, Gabrielle, it compliments the passage so well?

  2. Funny.. I awoke thinking of how useless is the AAW: the Angry American Woman, and least of all does the world need the Angry Catholic Woman. That’s good, because it doesn’t fit me at all, and least of all would it fit Mary, and Jesus’ contemporary female followers. There’s a world of joy in hearing the journey and victory from their point of view.

    The more I read of Caryll Houselander, who was quite an eccentric in some ways, the more I realize that heaven is gained by the Caryll Houselanders. Indeed, true peace requires the courage of humility. Heaven cannot host angry people, which the proud Sons of Thunder learned even before they later heard of Gestas’ humble, happy fate.

    This is a beautiful passage. Thank you, G, and I second all that Ann said, too.

  3. Hi Ann and JustMe. I have just a few minutes now, but hope to get back here later today to read and respond to comments of the previous post as well. Gosh, it’s hectic, isn’t it? I forgot to put the artist’s name up again – I can edit the post later, but it’s Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693), and the painting is “A Little Girl Rocking a Cradle”, circa 1655. His bio says he was a student of Rembrandt, but “abandoned his master’s style and subject matter in the early 1650s”.

    Peace is on my mind, of course, as we see the world around us while we wait for the Prince of Peace. The complete name of the book I quoted from is “Lift Up Your Hearts. To Mary. Peace. Prayer. Love.” JustMe, the Angry Catholic Woman. As you say, least of all would it fit Mary.

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