Advent – Day 1: Light the Tapers

Check out my 16.5 km Ride on Strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/98073191

The 1st of December; the First Day of Advent.

A lovely blue sky. Not a hint of wind.  And having enjoyed a ‘Frankie and Benny’s’ breakfast (I’m not a big fry up kind of guy) and taken the boy onto the snow slopes at Braehead to visit Santa C, it was time to saddle up circa 3pm.

A quick one it was, and some lectures on the Early Church Fathers in MP3 were all that was needed: no KOMs, PRs or climbs; just going with the flow was the order of the day.

As you will see from the first image it is time to replace Divine Office Volume III (Weeks 6 – 34) for the Advent edition (Volume I).  they are also known as the breviary or Liturgy of the Hours.

image

Literally and figuratively we are surrounded by darkness; but at this time of year, the ‘Bleak Midwinter, we are ever more reminded of our need for light – it heals us and gives us hope.

Whether you are being guided through the chill of an evening by a single front bike light, or you are bathed in the comforting glow thrown by a wax candle at home, each illumination provides hope; each helps us towards our destination. Literally.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I returned to the Catholic Faith, opening up my breviary with insecurity and confusion around Week 12; I closed it on Friday evening amazed at the journey its contents had helped me make. So too, it doesn’t seem that long ago I took delivery of a brand new Specialized Hardrock from Dooleys, Paisley.

Body and Soul.

Bike riding offers me the time to ‘clear my head’, listen to podcasts and audiobooks; it also provides me with an allegorical view of my faith: to take stock of what matters.

So now, ‘taking stock’, the past six or so months have reintroduced me to my beautiful faith; I am having previous concerns associated with Catholicism answered. I read more. I think more. I pray more.

I live my faith more – well, I try.

Anger, frustration, spite – pointless and destructive emotions that no longer manifest themselves as much as before. Calm, peace, greater reflection easily replace this vacuum. Love and cherishing what you have are the greatest gifts – especially at this time of year when so many have so little at a time when the fee have so much.

Stepping into an adjoining church in our parish (en route to my son’s swimming) I am in awe of the gentility, the humility and the love of the old ladies and men, on their knees and praying aloud their Rosary. Again, last evening’s organ-accompanied Vigil Mass was like a practice run for Midnight Mass, full of warmth and joy as the First Advent Candle was lit.

And amidst the despicable comments of some of our London-based parliamentarians, as food banks flourish, ‘Cash 4 Clothes’ proliferate, there it was, juxtaposed against the darkness of greed and division – the bravery of Glasgow’s citizens.

There it was. That hope.

That light.

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