Monday, December 14, 2009

Quotation of the Week: More on Advent

Okay, okay, okay. You know what's coming. Yes, another quotation on Advent ... simply because it's my favorite time of year (with the exception of Holy Week, of course).

Last week when I jotted down several quotations on Advent into my Quotation Journal, I found a few from an author with whom I am not acquainted (book-wise, you know) and from a book of which I have never heard. My quotation from last week came from A Pilgrim's Almanac by Edward Hays, as does this week's quotation as well. (And from the same page of the book, too.)  And with two such wonderful quotations from a writer with whom I am not familiar, I had to do the logical thing.

I was forced to "Google" him.

And I discovered a web page called Spirituality & Practice devoted to a Living Spiritual Teachers Project on which was posted a short biography/review of Edward Hays written by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Here is a long excerpt from his page on their site:

Edward Hays has been a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Kansas City since 1958. After thirteen years in the parish ministry, including seven years as a pastor to Native Americans, he made an extended prayer pilgrimage to the Near East, Israel, and India. He served as director of Shantivanam, a contemplative center in the Midwest, and as the priest chaplain at the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing.

Over his long and illustrious writing career, Hays has been a pioneer manifesting a daring mystical sensibility and an unbridled imagination that makes his vision of Christianity consistently fresh and invigorating. He creatively uses parables and stories to discern God’s presence within the precincts of everyday life. He often presents startling images for believers — tears are "prayer beads," a question mark is a "holy symbol," sleep is "a sacrament as God’s Good Night News," and a smile is "an outward sign of a laughing soul."

One of our well-worn favorites by Hays is Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim, which includes morning and evening prayers for each of the four seasons; Psalms for the twenty-first century; cosmopolitan prayers modeled on Buddhist, Native American, Islamic, Hindu, Judaic, and Taoist traditions; and rituals for a planetary pilgrim. All of his books are graced with an appreciation for all the world’s religions, popular culture, and humor. He tutors us in ways to become "artists of prayer."
Impressive. The prayer book listed above is one that I may have heard of long ago, but I find myself far more interested in the source of my Advent quotations, A Pilgrim's Almanac. So, at long last, here is the quotation I have chosen for this week:

"Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place."

-- Edward Hays, A Pilgrim's Almanac, p. 196
Wishing you all the blessed peace of Advent,

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