Sunday, November 30, 2014

New Beginnings in Old Bones

#38 is the first hymn in the song book.

As soon as the opening chords played tonight at Mass something sung down deep inside me. Welcome to a new year it seemed to say. And I took a deep breath and began to sing... to sing a song that is deep within my bones... a song that in its singing seemed like it might be inviting me to something new this year. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. 

Each word reverberated deep in my chest, flowing out over my lips like honey, the sweet feeling of harmony captivating my ears. This is where I am, I thought to myself, and this is exactly where you should be, my heart murmured as I gazed around at the church, the people, the moment I was in and sharing with the Divine. There we were together, the start of a season, full of invitation and exploration. I can only hope I take to it as it offers moments to me.

I remember the moment as a freshman in college when the word sacramentality was introduced into my vocabulary. Reading it on the page of a textbook, I swirled it around on my tongue like a fine wine, picking up hints of flavors, memories of things gone past, my own salvation history laid out before me.  Without even knowing it, I had been taught this word; this sacramentality was a part of me. I cherished knowing I had a name for it, that it was a reality beyond my being. Something instilled and shared.  Some of my greatest, dearest friends would have this same sacramental sense, be they Catholic or not.  They knew and longed for something bigger yet something so tangible and inherent that every ounce of your being contained it.

As the words poured out of my mouth tonight I knew that. I remembered. This is what I long for...what I love. A beauty deep within, requiring beauty all throughout. In the darkness is light. Keep watch and wait for all that is to come, all that has been promised, all that is already here.

"Be sure to tell the people in your life you love them" the pastor said before the Mass came to a close. Each person seemed to pause recalling those dear to them with love in warm glow of the light.

This is a season of joy I remind myself... of hope... or expectant waiting and heart-felt grasping, allowing God to come among us, to be in all places. What are the places God long to be in me? I wonder. Where do I need to let God in? Where do I need to see God in the world and how can I help to bring God-with-us to places yet unknown?

As the congregation shuffles out I feel a little less lonely. The darkness is that of a dawn not a dusk.  Joy is in this place, this space, this time. I simply need to let it roll in...let it rise up...feel it in my bones.

And that is where I leave it. No more, no less. It simply is and among everything else I could expound upon, the still silence of those opening lines settle deep.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel. 



  1. Colleen, thank you for putting words to my deeply felt yearnings.

    Eileen McGovern ssj

  2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel - the minor tone of the melody has always been both haunting and inviting to me. A bit of a paradox, for certain!

    As we await the coming of Emmanuel, God-With-Us, it is a blessing to be with you on the journey, Colleen. Thank you for sharing your heart!