Pause Awhile

As we are all over the world being asked to go into exile from our normal day to day business. We are asked to only have contact with those in our households, our families. We are asked to look at what is essential and do that, buy that. What a great opportunity God has provided us with in the Lent of 2020. Just as Jesus was called into the desert before the major part of his life’s’ work commenced, we are called to go into a different desert also, a desert of suffering and pain (for some physical others spiritual and others emotional). Many have been asked to stay away from things we hold very dear such as Mass.

God has been speaking to me about all of this in some songs.

I recall a song I learned many years ago by a group called The Dameans, “Pause a While

Pause a while, pause a while
In the humdrum of the city and behind a cloister wall
In the early morning and when shadows start to fall
See creation bending to the maker of it all
And all we have to do is pause a while

We were made to build the earth and share it with each other
All of us together at the work of Christ our brother

Tho’ the troubles of the world may tempt you to despair
Look around just one more time and you’ll see Christ is there

Ev’ry tree in ev’ry valley, ev’ry running brook
Bear the mark of Love’s design for those who learn to look

The spirit promised long ago moves just where he will;
In this high-speed, neon world, somehow he’s moving still

Barriers of ev’ry kind, must shatter into dust;
Nothing done is nothing won where we can’t dare to trust

I noticed as these lyrics floated in my mind that God was calling on his people all over the world to Pause Awhile, to stop and listen to just be still. As we pause, all of creation is being renewed, life is returning to places we have neglected or damaged by our busy lifestyles. The smog is lifting in some places, wildlife is returning to city areas.

With our children in the atrium, we finished a little early with the Liturgy of Light. We recalled Jesus sharing his light with us all and asking us to share it also with others. The light will grow so bright, that the sun will be dimmed. All of the darkness will be chased away. We sang some songs that reminded me of God’s plan to bring his life and light to all people, everywhere.

Christ Be Our Light (Bernadette Farrell)

Longing for light, we wait in darkness
Longing for truth, we turn to You.
Make us Your own, Your holy people
Light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has pow’r to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Shine Jesus Shine (Graham Kendrick)

Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness shining
Jesus Light of the world shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me, shine on me

Shine Jesus shine, Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze Spirit blaze, Set our hearts on fire
Flow river flow, Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your word Lord and let there be light

Lord I come to Your awesome presence
From the shadows into Your radiance
By the blood I may enter Your brightness
Search me try me consume all my darkness
Shine on me, shine on me

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness
So our faces display Your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story
Shine on me,  shine on me

Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord (Donald Fishel)
Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord,
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to His name.

Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
He is the King of creation.

Spread the good news o’er all the earth.
Jesus has died and has risen.

We have been crucified with Christ.
Now we shall live forever. 

God has proclaimed the just reward:
Life for all men, alleluia! 

As I sang and pondered these words, I was amazed at how clear the message for me was. “Do not worry, my light is stronger than the darkness, my life is stronger than death.”

Pause a while and soak in his light so that when the time comes you will rise radiant in his splendor to shine and fill the earth. It is the desert before the ministry. The darkness that is overcome by the light.

This pause, now, becomes a time of great hope and renewal for all of creation. I am filled with joy and hope.

Advent in the Atrium


The Atrium in the early church was the place near the church entrance where new believers prepared to be received into the church through the sacraments of initiation.

The atrium in the context of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is the gathering place; a place to prepare to become full members of the church; the place where the children come to develop a personal relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

The season of Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year. With the children this is celebrated by a procession and a changing of the colours of the prayer table cloth from green to purple. Purple is the colour used in the church for this season. We talk to the children about preparing our hearts to receive Jesus at the great feast of the Nativity.

We often reflect on the sensorial symbols used in the church to alert the children to what they will encounter at Mass; the priest will wear purple as a sign of preparation for the coming of Jesus.

During advent we seek out the signs to help us recognize this coming. We read the prophecies of Isaiah and wonder who is this one who is coming? This child who is called Immanuel – God with us, this child who has been given authority and will be called Mighty God, Wonderful Counsellor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We ponder about what the great light is that the people who walk in darkness will see.

We then look at the coming of Jesus, how his birth was announced to a young girl in Nazareth. We wonder at how the spirit came upon her and how she was able to respond with a yes to the call to become the tabernacle of the Lord.

We ponder how the secret was passed from God, through an angel first to Mary then to Elizabeth and her unborn child, who recognized Immanuel still being knitted in his mother’s womb.

We imagine how the shepherds felt when the angels told them that the savior had been born. That Mighty God born in a lowly stable, what does this mean? Who will he become??

But Advent is more than reliving the memories of the birth of Christ. It is not a memorial celebration. The word advent comes from the Latin adventus which is the translation of the Greek word Parousia, when Christ will come again.

Are we looking for the signs that the prophets foretold? Are we the people now walking in darkness, will we see the great light? Will we recognize the child born in a stable if he came to our world today? Will he come in power or will he come as before, as one who is little and humble? Are we looking and searching? Are we prepared?

The gospel reading for the first Sunday in advent is taken from Mark 13:33-37 where we are called to keep awake because we do not know the day or the hour of the master’s return. I invite you to read and reflect on these words.

Mark 13:33-37 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

33 Beware, keep alert;[a] for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Footnotes: Mark 13:33 Other ancient authorities add and pray


Are you ready?