The Unveiling Light in the Time between Times: From Halloween to Advent

The Unveiling Light in the Time between Times: From Halloween to Advent November 2, 2016

David Russell Mosley

Description English: The round tower and graveyard at Glendalough at night, with the glow of Dublin to the north. Date 13 March 2015, 22:34:20 Source Own work Author Rob Hurson (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Description
English: The round tower and graveyard at Glendalough at night, with the glow of Dublin to the north.
Date 13 March 2015, 22:34:20
Source Own work
Author Rob Hurson
(CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ordinary Time
All Souls’ 2016
The Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dear Readers,

The triduum of Hallows’ eve, All Hallows, and All Souls, is nearly over. And so we enter this time between times. While technically it is still Ordinary Time, there is a definite shift in the air. Halloween reminds us (if All Saints’ and All Souls’ don’t, though they should) that we are entering a time of celebration. Sure, we need the fasting of Advent before we can reach the feast of Christmas, but the air is certainly shifting, and not just (here in New England) because it is getting colder.

When I was younger and even more of a Romantic than I am today, I became rather enamoured with the idea of thin places. While in general, I still agree with the ideas that often put forward with thin places, namely that there are holy spaces where heaven is far closer to earth than in other places, I have to admit I’ve generally fallen out of love with the term. This mostly has to do with the fact that it is associated with “Celtic” Christianity, and yet it appears infrequently in actual texts by ancient Irish authors. Nevertheless, during this time between, I can’t help but wonder if some idea like thin places doesn’t help explain how I feel about this time.

Artist Matthias Withoos (circa 1627–1703) Title Landscape with a Graveyard by Night (Public Domain)
Artist
Matthias Withoos (circa 1627–1703)
Title Landscape with a Graveyard by Night
(Public Domain)

Halloween, All Saints’, and All Souls’ are reminders to us that we will die and yet that death is not the end. They awaken our imaginations and our sense perceptions to the fact that the world we see around us is not the totality of reality. We are awakened to the idea of ghosts and goblins, angels and demons, but also saints and those in purgatory. We sense their presence, or at least are reminded that it is possible to do so during this time. And as we move on from this triduum, anticipating Advent, I get a sense that heaven is moving closer into our own sphere during this time. That this time is thinner, is closer to eternity, than it was on October 30th and that it will continue grow thinner and closer until we reach the apex of the Nativity, when it is at its thinnest, during this part of the calendar (it does this again as we move from the second period of Ordinary Time into Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday/Lent, leading to Easter). But of course, it isn’t exactly that Heaven and Earth revolve and rotate on their various paths and that they intersect at these specific times. The variance of Liturgies and Calendars make that relatively impossible (unless we were to claim a particular calendar was the calendar). It is more that these shifts in the calendar awaken us to what is always all around us.

And yet, I do think there are specific places and times that are “thinner” (in some ways I prefer the term thicker here because reality is showing itself more fully). Churches are “thin places” inherently. We ourselves, as Christians, are thin places for we have the Holy Spirit inside us, because we ourselves are temples. And I think there is a way in which times like this period in the calendar is really thinner and is getting increasingly so. Some of that, I believe is the way it makes us aware. Things really do change or become unveiled during this time between times precisely because we are acclimatizing ourselves to this way of seeing, of expecting to find the holy, the unexpected, the real.

So wait and watch with me during this time between times. Let it fill you up to the exclusion of all else, so that we see all else by the Light that is increasingly being revealed to us. Wait with me. Watch with me. Look for the real, for the light, for the Truth.

Sincerely,
David


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