Advent Day 2 — Swords to plowshares / guns to roses

The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peace

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian.

Today’s reading from Isaiah is a famous one:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore. — Isaiah 2:4.

All of my adult life my writing and my prayer has been against war —

Viet Nam / the Balkans / the Gulf  War / Iraq / and now Afghanistan.

Pope Paul VI, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly made an impassioned plea:

“No more war! Never again war!

And Pope John Paul II said the Iraq war was A defeat for humanity.

And Dwight David Eisenhower, the great general of Word War II and President of the U.S. said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

Advent is a time to wish for peace / pray for peace / work for peace.

The Christmas story is about peace.  One of the titles of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.”

But we become cynical about peace.

Many of us have our private little wars that we engage in every day with a sibling or a friend or co-worker.

Let us “Practice peacefulness”, as a friend put it to me once.  Let’s stop the gossiping / give people a chance / be kind.

The legend of St. Christopher carrying a child across a stream on a stormy night invites us to greet every human person as if they were Christ himself.

Think thoughts of peace.  Be peace.  At least try it today, the second day of Advent.

The image below is a photo of the last page of the men’s magazine Details.  (Actually I despise its outrageous consumerism and narcissism but I read it to see what our young people are reading.)  This image is actually a GAP commercial selling plaid shirts;  those are young women and men making up the peace sign.) Would that they (we) would put their (our)  bodies, minds and spirits to the task of creating peace in our world!

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

and those who turn to him in their hearts.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

Justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper

and the earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Psalm 85

Before you go here’s a peace song for you

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 1 – Stand up and be ready

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian.

Sunday, November 29th begins the Advent season for the liturgical Christian churches.  Funny enough, we begin at the end — thinking about THE END – the end of the world.  The early Christians believed Jesus was coming “soon and very soon.” The early generation of Christians thought the end would come soon.  Jerusalem fell in 70 CE but Jesus didn’t come.  And funny still, there’s a movie out this weekend that has its own take that it’s gonna happy very soon  — in 2012. Some think the world will end in 2012 because that’s when the Mayan calendar ends.  It probably won’t.

Nevertheless, the movie and the gospel message at hand have a powerful point to make.

The Gospel (Luke 21:25-36) has Jesus say:

Be vigilant at all times

and pray that you have the strength to escape

the tribulations that are imminent

and stand [erect and raise your heads]

before the Son of Man.”

Now here’s my reflection:

Vigilant / prepared / watchful / alert / aware / awake

knowing what’s happening

. . .  but so many of us are asleep, Lord.

We tend to not recognize the signs of the times.

We often dull our senses / stay in our own little worlds.

Choosing not to care.   Complacent.

Many don’t want to be bothered pondering or praying about the real issues

And thus, we go like lemmings over the cliff.

Tribulations. Fear.  Threats

. . . of losing our job / having a lump in our breast /

losing health insurance because we lost our job

global warming

corruption on Wall Street and government

swine flu / chemical warfare/ cyber war

Stand erect. Face our fears with courage.

Be strong!

Do not fear the terror of the night (Psalm 91.)

That’s what Advent faith is all about:

Being vigilant.  Being prepared for anything life throws at us.

Standing proudly humble or humbly proud no matter what.

That’s the kind of faith in life — in You, my God that I seek.

I want it. I ask you for it.

Today I consent to it.

Amen.  So be it.

+ + + + +

Yours respectfully, dear readers,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Thank you, Lord, for a great year

Dear Friends / Dear God,

These are the things I am thankful for during 2009. . .

(not in any particular order)

+ Forty years of priestly ministry

+ Getting this blog up and running

+ Inaugurating an online edition of my Arise reflection / letter

+ My faithful companion Shivvy

+ My trusty burgundy Mitsubishi Eclipse Spider convertible which is so fun to drive

+ An awesome reunion with many friends

+ My new condo home and my wonderful neighbors

+ That I am a thinking / feeling / willing /  imperfect human being

+ Seeing the awesome fall foliage in October

+ Being in the mountains and driving on curvy roads

+ Good health

+ My weaknesses which make me depend on God for my strength

+ Meeting my Austrian cousins for the first time

+ My talent for writing and photography

+ The sun, the clouds, the flowers, the trees, the ducks I enjoy every day

+ For the people I care for

+ For the people who care for me

+ My faithful Macbook Pro computer

+ A great pool in which to do laps

+ A large refund on my taxes that paid for my trip

+ The gift of contemplative prayer every morning

+ And finally, my loving relationship with my heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and my Catholic faith

Rejoice always, pray constantly and for all things give thanks to God — I Thessalonians 5:18

Thank YOU, my beloved readers.

May 2010 be a good year for you and your family.

Bob Traupman

priest / writer