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North American Newsletter Spring 2014

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Reflections from the Youth Winter Conference

I adored my first Youth Conference. The effect that it had on the participants was described as a “Golden Bomb” in their year, and after experiencing one, I couldn’t agree more. The memories of that weekend will live with me forever. I still feel the confidence in our group as we sang, care free, parading down the street. I still see the sun and the smiles as we reflected on a labyrinth and conversed under an old oak tree. There was a power in reading I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King as the sun rose in the same spot where he read it. We made true connections with complete strangers during profound conversations with other teenagers. The sheer verve created by the youth conference instilled me with hope.  All these joyous moments helped me grow and heal. Finally, I can testify that these youth conferences  really do create a “Golden Bomb” in one’s year.

Leap, Laugh, Love.

By Rachel Soliday, 17, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Video of 2014 DC Youth Conference

 

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Finding Your Star in the Darkness

Image courtesy of Mary Sinead Cards

It is Epiphany, the time we celebrate the kings, the star and the journey. But first we can ask, as we prepare ourselves for finding our star, how did the kings prepare themselves? What did they have to do first to become aware of their star of destiny? They had to look into the night – into the darkness. For it is only in darkness that we can see the stars. They sank into the emptiness of the unknown and asked for guidance. The darkness of the night sky became their altar. Read more

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Bringing the Stars (in)to Life

 

 

To see the stars it needs to be dark. In the long dark winter nights we have many opportunities to lift our gaze and stand in wonder at the abundance of sparkling stars. Fixed stars we call them. They are always there and can be found reliably in that higher order, and they never stop shining. The experience is: stars stand above us. Even if they rise and set, we “look up” to them.

In contrast, the sun always rises up from below. Strong and powerful its rising light lets the stars recede as if they were no longer there. We don’t usually look up to the sun: we look into the world, work in the world, live our destiny in the bright sunlight. Ideals shine above our head like stars. There are moments, when we see them clearly, when they motivate and inspire the course we take in life. Then there can be long periods when we seem to lose sight of them, even doubt they are real. When in the soul, the darkness of confusion, loss of orientation and motivation spreads itself, it requires a decision to turn the inner gaze upward and trust that the star of one’s ideal is still shining. Read more

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International Newsletter Advent 2013

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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

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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.

Read more

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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.

Read more

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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 http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=264

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November

Lord among the seven candles!
Giver of the light undarkened!
Helper of the souls who struggle
With their passions’ bitter visage
On the wide stairs of the Night—

Thou who bearest from the Father
Sun-Life changeful and unchanging,
Healing for the spirit’s weakness
When it weaves from wandering shadows
Error that denies Thy Being—

Christ whose love calls forth the roses
From the cross on which we suffer;
Guardian of the door to Heavens
Where the deeds on earth unfinished
Through God’s grace prepare fulfillment—

Thy strong soul unite our feeling
With the souls of men who journey
From the earth to distant star worlds;
And with those who seek the entry
To the earth which Thou has hallowed.

Adam Bittleston, in Meditative Prayers for Today, available at http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=264