Making Peace with Destiny – New Year’s Thoughts

Angel Holding an Olive Branch; by Hans Memling, ca. 1475-1480

What will the future bring? 

This is a question that comes naturally at the beginning of a new year. This angel present an olive branch, a symbol of peace. Noah on the ark received such a branch from a dove, indicating the presence of land, giving him hope that humanity can start anew. Olive trees cannot bear nourishing fruit if they are not intensely cultivated by human beings. So Noah also received a task with this sign.Whatever the future brings comes from the divine realm. Behind every challenge, joy and surprise stands an angel, entrusting us with an opportunity to make this earth a better place and to start anew.


Darkness and the Nativity: a Contemplation

Many of the inner pictures connected with the birth of Christ, with the Nativity that we carry in our imaginations, place the light filled holy family into a protective sheath of surrounding darkness. We can think of Rembrandt’s Nativity, or of Ninetta Sombart’s Birth of Christ and sense the sheltering quality that the darkness lends to the holy event of his birth. The Christ Child is received into the blanket of night and, in equal measure the darkness of night has a role to play in the events surrounding Christ’s birth.

We can thus begin to distinguish between different qualities of darkness. Read more


The Two Marys

In the Gospels we have two descriptions of the Mother of God. The feeling-tone of each is different. In Luke, she is the one to whom the angelic messenger announces the coming of God’s son through the inseminating power of the Holy Spirit. She is humble and open, experiencing an other-worldly event.

The Mother in Matthew’s Gospel receives royal gifts. She must flee to Egypt to save her little Son from Herod’s persecution. In John’s Gospel she stands under the cross. Mother’s innocence has become bitter experience, but she also partakes in her Son’s subsequent rise from death.

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Advent and Nelson Mandela

One of the greatest leaders of our time, the late Nelson Mandela once said…

Photo by Geoff Sims/Colin Legg

“As I walked out the prison door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

Thus spoke the lion of Africa, who for 27 years was imprisoned- not for crimes- but for his moral ideals. One can only imagine how much resentment and anger, how much darkness filled a human soul such as his who was so unjustly imprisoned for such a long time.

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In Silence

Be still. 
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
To speak your

To the living walls.
Who are you?
Are you? Whose
Silence are you? Read more


A Prayer for Advent

By Bernhard Eyb

Thou mothering earth
Hast received the live seed
Into the dark
Good shelter of soil.
The mantle of night
Thrown wide over us,
And the sun as it goes
Its swift and short journey,
Speak to our hearts
In warning and promise.
Thou Earth hast borne up
The footsteps of Mary
Journeying patiently
Southwards to Bethlehem;
And the Earth bears us
Today in our travail,
That we may bring forth
Christ in our spirit.
So may we await Him
Sent by the Father
Healer and bringer
Into our being
Of the true gold.

Adam Bittleston, in Meditative Prayers for Today, available at