The gospel of the fourth Sunday in Advent was the annunciation, and yesterday the visitation. Two places I got to visit in June on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Two places I had the honour of breaking open the Word.
For personal reasons the pilgrimage was a crucible. One that really did burn off some of my dross. It was acutely painful, but I was well supported by Christ clothed in the flesh of my companions.
So for me this Christmas Eve it is Gerard Manly Hopkins whose words are playing in mind:
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
With deep gratitude for all my companions on that particular journey.