“Dust, remember, thou art Splendor!”
– Sister Macrina Wiederkehr in A Tree Full of Angels
If Lent is a time to admit to our Dust –
the death that awaits us, the sin that permeates our cells,
our littleness and our frailness and our need –
perhaps Advent can be a time to embrace our Splendor:
our intimate connection to Divinity
who gave birth to us,
who calls us Good and calls us to be better,
who is the breath within our lungs and the warmth in dancing bodies.
Divinity embraces mortality;
God entered our world and fused the physical with the Divine
so inextricably that we can declare
that every cell of us pulses with Splendor, despite the infection of sin.
Now is the time to be a womb for Splendor,
nourishing it within ourselves.
Now is the time to prepare for the labor:
the teenage girl birthing God into the world.
God birthing a new world around us,
inviting us to serve as Her midwives.
About this piece: I first wrote this in Advent 2019 for Instagram.
If you’re interested in more on Sister Macrina’s concept of “splendor,” here’s the longer passage from which the pull quote was taken:
“This brings me to the heart of this book, which is trusting the God who speaks to us in our experiences at every moment. No one ever gave me permission to trust my own experiences as prayerful and holy. It was something I stumbled upon, like a treasure hidden in a field. …In recent years, I seem to hear God say, ‘Put your books away. Be with me. Trust your experience. There are no experts in prayer, only people who have been faithful to the ache.’
…Why shouldn’t our experiences be filled with God? Who do we think it is who is breathing in us? Where do we think this ache has come from? And has it ever crossed our minds that God, too, has a deep yearning for us? …You are the dwelling place for the Source of All Life. You are an offspring of the One who said, ‘I Am who Am.’ If the One who gave you birth lives within you, surely you can find some resources there in your sacred Center. An expert lives within you. An expert breathes out you. Your life is entwined with the God who gave you birth. Frail dust, remember, you are splendor!”