“There are more things in heaven and earth […] than are dreamt of” Reflecting on Spiritual Vision in Advent

“There are more things in heaven and earth […] than are dreamt of” Reflecting on Spiritual Vision in Advent November 29, 2016

David Russell Mosley

Description Vídeň Date 2007 Source own photo Author Dezidor (CC BY 3.0)
Date 2007
Source own photo
Author Dezidor
(CC BY 3.0)

29 November 2016
The Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dear Readers,

Advent is here the wait for the new year is over and the wait for Christ begins again, not that it ever truly ended. I always seem to come to Advent in particular need of something. Sometimes I am rewarded, often, by my own mistakes, I am frustrated. Still, I need Advent again this year. I need it to help me see.

Just before Advent, I met with my spiritual director who asked me the rather pointed question, “What do you hope to get out of Advent this year? Is there a goal, something your think God is trying to show you?” My answer was an unequivocal yes. I believed, and believe, that God wants to use this time to reorient my vision. That he wants me to remember what it is to see rightly, as the few flashes I have had of this have shown me. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently supposed to be working on a couple of books. One of those books is about how my wife and I moved to England, had twins, and had one of them diagnosed with cancer. The point of this book is to show how, through all of that, I was taught to see things rightly, through a vision I had one Sunday morning. So vision, seeing, light, these have been, or ought to have been, the themes with which I entered into Advent. Unfortunately, our enemy is sometimes a subtle one. Sure, I’ve struggled with my usual sins, fought and failed, but that’s not new. No, instead, I entered Advent without thinking about these themes at all. That changed this morning.

My spiritual director gave me a little companion booklet for Advent. Amongst other things, it includes daily reflections by, presumably, well known Catholic authors. I will admit to only knowing of two of the authors (Anthony Esolen and Fr. Romans Cessario). Today’s reflection was by the author Elizabeth M. Kelly, and was titled, “See What You See.” The reflection concerned Kelly’s loss of sight in one eye and how slowly losing her sight caused her to reflect on her spiritual sight, the eyes of her heart. She wondered if perhaps it too had been fading into grey and nothingness imperceptibly until finally she was spiritually blind without realizing. This reflection reminded me, of what I “wanted” out of this Advent: to see! There is a line from Hamlet that often seems as a kind of motto for my life, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet Act I Scene 5). I have seen some, though by no means all, of these things by God’s grace. And yet, I still live as though I haven’t. This is perhaps my greatest sin. And so, I was overjoyed, to see today’s reflection in my little booklet, for it reminded me, to be at the work of preparing my sight, to be at work on this book, which if it serves no other purpose, it serves to remind me of what it is I saw and how it changed my vision for some time afterward.

So I pray that you too, my dear, gentle readers, can have your vision cleared this Advent so that we may see the deep things, the true things, that uphold and cause the reality we perceive around us.



P.S. You may have noticed a new donate button on the side. While Letters from the Edge of Elfland will always be free for you to read, it does take a fair bit of my time and effort to write. So, if you happen to enjoy my digital and written busking and can throw some change my way every now and again, I would greatly appreciate it.

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