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.

And yet, in the midst of that darkness of bitterness and hate, Mandela was able to lift himself to the light of freedom, even in the midst of his darkness.

Within each one of us too, as we walk in the darkness of our own lives, we too, like Mandela, have the capacity to lift ourselves to the light, even in the midst of our darkness.

This is what Advent is all about. This is the inner reality of Advent. At this time of year, as it gets darker and darker; we are being called by the spiritual world to strengthen our souls to be able to stand upright before the light of the spiritual sun even when it is darkest. These four weeks of advent are a preparation to behold the light of the world in the darkness of this world.

And this mystery resounds in our Advent gospel that we hear in these four weeks, Christ comes, Christ appears when things are dark. We hear that “no solution will be found to ease tensions between the nations, the heavens and the seasons of the earth will be shaken, human beings will lose grip of themselves”….and then, in the midst of the darkness of this destruction, the seeing souls will perceive the light of Christ. The sun at midnight.

Are we able to behold the light in the darkness of our own lives?
Can we make the darkness of this world, a vessel for the light of His world?
Can we stand upright when it is darkest, before the Son of Man?
Christmas is coming. May our hearts be strengthened.

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