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We now begin our reflection upon the seven Great O Antiphons of Advent that begin on December 17. 

Note that each Antiphon opens with the exclamation of O! In its wake reverberate the explosion of discovery, the joy of wordlessness, and the silence of awe. Such may have been the experience of the composer of these ancient Antiphons while reflecting upon texts found in the book of Isaiah from which they were drawn.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,

reaching from one end to the other,

mightily and sweetly ordering all things:

Come and teach us the way of prudence.

The first O Antiphon addresses the promised Messiah as Wisdom, influenced by Isaiah 11:2-3; 28-29.

Such Wisdom is identified with Spirit or the Hebrew word, ruah, meaning breath that first hovered over primeval waters in the book of Genesis. Within this breath emanates all creation, then, as well as now; its intent: harmony, communion, and bountiful joy. It’s always been that way. But sin/separateness has corroded our spiritual faculties and exiled us into one wilderness after another where nothing lives.

Bereft of ultimate meaning, we’ve everything to learn. The Antiphon concludes with a cry for help, in the imperative voice: Come teach … Only with willingness to accept ruah can begin the conversion of heart, critical to our evolving into a new creation. Ensuing dialogue with Him prompts the daily practice of Prudence or its modern equivalent, discernment.

That’s the rub: Discernment requires consciousness to use our Pause button when adhering to ruah’s direction, often contrary to our instinctual wants or demands, but we do it anyway. The desired change does occur.

At 4 a.m., nerve pain in my foot, a recent symptom, roused me from this dream:

It is afternoon, in the city of St. Louis. I happen to meet a woman who I’ve not seen in a long time. She greets me with enthusiasm and tells me about her black friend and their participation in MSM, located in the county. She advises me to join them, that it will change my life as it has theirs.

This daylight dream suggests a new endeavor to add to my already more than full days. The urgency in the woman’s tone of voice compels me to look up MSM; its initials stand for the Mark Slay Ministries. In 1997, he had founded the Miracle Revival Church in Kirkwood, Missouri, an interdenominational Gospel community, still holding services on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

The dream also references two women, a dyad in Jungian psychology. They stand united in their transforming experience and wish the same for me.

Further mulling over the dream prompts me to return to the study of Scriptures, usually experienced during Gloucester retreats where I could give full vent to Spirit and not get too carried away. It is about finding Jesus, afresh, in my present circumstances.

As I used to do in my room in Gloucester, I’ll sit by Joseph’s well (John 4: 1 -26) and see who joins me.

 

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