Portents in the Sky

See Advent 1, (Year B)
“watching and longing”

Angel unfolds the world to reveal the golden New Jerusalem, Giotto, The Last Judgement, 1306, detail

At the turn of the new year the church offers scenes of chaos: portents and signs in the heavens, roiling clouds, floods, hail, fire. The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken,  And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. (Mark 13:24-26)

The Church gives these apocalyptic warnings as a gift, to shake away complacency, to shock into second sight, to awake to the immediacy of salvation wrapped in breathtaking clouds of doom.  Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.  And what I say to you I say to all: Watch. (Mark 13:35-7)

The soul’s journey begins in apocalypse. Cataclysm dims the safe filters of ordinary sight to heighten the view of Reality.  Shock, fear, grief, courage, and then, perhaps, curiosity, opens the door to the mystical life. Once you pass through the threshold of doom, ultimately, you’ll awake to and recognize the beauty of holiness.


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