Adam and Eve Day: Christmas Eve

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

 

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, God created the first man and woman and invited them to live in a heavenly place called the Garden of Eden. This couple, known as Adam and Eve, lived there in bliss until they took the advice of a serpent and disobeyed God’s command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As punishment for their disobedience, God expelled them from the Garden, thus compelling them to work for their living, suffer pain, and eventually die. Medieval Christians honored Adam and Eve as the father and mother of all people and commemorated their story on December 24, the day before Christmas.

Eastern Christians, that is, those Christians whose traditions of belief and worship developed in the Middle East, eastern Europe, and north Africa, were the first to honor Adam and Eve as saints. Their cult spread from eastern lands to western Europe during the Middle Ages, becoming quite popular in Europe by the year 1000. Although the Roman Catholic Church never formally adopted the pair as saints, it did not oppose their veneration. Commemorating the lives of Adam and Eve on December 24 promoted comparison of Adam and Eve with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Medieval theologians were fond of making such comparisons, the point of which was to reveal how Jesus and Mary, through their obedience to God’s will, rescued humanity from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Indeed, the Bible itself refers to Jesus as the “second Adam” (Romans 5:14). Whereas humanity inherited biological life from the first Adam, it would imbibe spiritual life from Jesus, the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15: 22, 45, 49). Some theologians took this to mean that Jesus’ coming could restore humankind to a state of grace lost when Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden. In like manner, Mary would undo the effects of Eve’s disobedience. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and delivered the message that she would bear a divine son, Mary replied, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, also Annunciation.) Medieval commentators relished the fact that in Latin, Eve’s name, Eva, read backwards spelled Ave, meaning“hail.” Ave Maria, or “Hail Mary” were the first words that the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary. The spelling of these two shortwords seemed to them to symbolize God’s plan to reverse the consequences of Eve’s deed by bring a savior into the world through theVirgin Mary.

Medieval Christians celebrated Adam and Eve’s feast day with a kind of mystery play referred to as the paradise play. This little folk drama retold the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It ended with thepromise of the coming of a savior who would reconcile humanity with God. The paradise play was often staged around a single prop called a paradise tree. Actors adorned an evergreen tree with apples and sometimes also with communion wafers. Decked out in this way it served to represent the two mystical trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.Although the church officially banned the performance of mystery plays in the fifteenth century, the people of France and Germany’s Rhine river region kept on decorating paradise trees for Christmas. Some writers believe that the paradise tree evolved into what we now know as the Christmas tree. Indeed, as late as the nineteenth century people in some parts of Germany customarily placed figurines representing Adam, Eve, and the serpent under their Christmas trees. In some sections of Bavaria, people still hang apples upon their evergreens at Christmas time and refer to the decorated trees as paradise trees.

As the Middle Ages receded into history, so too did the western European feast of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve have retained a bit more of their ancient importance among certain Eastern Christians. The Greek Orthodox Church still honors Adam and Eve on the Sunday before Christmas.

All We Need to Know is The Love: Love Has No Boundaries

This post and the one that follows uphold and honour my own perspectives as a mystic of our real hope and mission of Love whilst in physical form here on Earth. We are all created in Loves image, for Loves purpose and in our own daily lives we may strive to open ourselves to this Love that we may serve others by recognising it in others and responding to it. By constantly opening ourselves to this Love in every activity we do, in being mindful of ourselves, we invite Love to enter, and in doing so, get the opportunity which constantly renews to serve each other better. By laying our weapons of judgement and harshness down, we enable compassion and grace to fill our hearts and minds instead. We become more gentle with others and start to enable Loves great transformation of ourselves and of our world experience. Yet Love is also passionate, how passionate our Creator must have been to create such diversity and such beauty. How much fun and happiness is included in this beautiful Creation, each smile, each belly hearted laugh and joy,  each hop, skip and jump is of our Creator. This post also encapsulates what my blog has been putting out into the general world since it began. A monastery without walls.  Its philosophy is also my whole 56 years of experience with God who walks forever beside me, throughout eternity… before I came here, whilst I am here and after I lay down my physical form. I remain with God at all times and in all places and thus what I choose to do with this time of incarnation, my purpose is Love…to my very best ability.

http://tinaturnerblog.com/tag/children-beyond/

 

A Tide That Sings: Mother Mary Agnes & SOLI

I have started my morning by feeding the friendly robin, who bops and dances to draw my attention to his hungry plight as the snow lays thickly on the ground today here in the Highlands of Scotland. He is a joyful splash of colour, set against the stark whiteness, a cheerful chappy always guaranteed to get fed when he comes to the French windows that lead out of our kitchen to the garden beyond…and he knows it! Alfie our Persian cat stares sulkily through the glass at him, weighing up the cold wet snow and the sport of chasing robin; quickly deciding that he also enjoys many benefits from hanging around us humans with regards to his own comforts and settles back to stretch lazily and purr, almost teasing the robin from his own cosy warm mat.

During my first few weeks of recovery following major surgery, I spent a blissfully indulgent time laying on my bed, resting and reading. Reading is always a delicious treat for me, and I usually have half a dozen books lined up and waiting by the time I get the chance to put down the pen and pick up the book. Shortly after my operation I came across a gem of a lady whose four books I  then searched for and managed to purchase secondhand and to describe her work as gourmet reading hardly does Mother Mary Agnes credit! My husband and I have an almost insatiable desire to live somewhere really remote, off grid if possible, to be almost complete hermits really…and I think he found the property below on a search and sent me a link. I started eagerly exploring and found Mother Mary Agnes and SOLI. Perhaps one of you readers will buy it…if so may we have an invite please? Or maybe you will visit, or even read her marvellous books like I did and derive great inspiration from her life and work.

Mother Mary Agnes, of the diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, was born in Nottingham and grew up in a small mining town. At an early age she was influenced by the life of St Francis of Assisi and also by the Celtic Church. An introduction to Scotland added a touch of magic. After more than 20 years as an Anglican Franciscan sister in Devon, she began a new religious life as a solitary on the remote island of Fetlar in Shetland. She she was joined by other women seeking the same solitary lifestyle and subsequently formed the Society of Our Lady of the Isles. [SOLI.]

Her four autobiographical books are, A Tide That Sings, The Song of the Lark, Island Song and For Love Alone. Mother Mary still lives on Fetlar but it is thought that she will soon move to the neighboring island of Yell or Unst where there are more facilities to help her as she is now in her late 80’s. The books are the most amazing tale of vocation, mission, the twists and turns of the path that God leads us along in order to get us to where he wants us to be; and the joys, laughter and worries and questions that saying yes to God entail. So human, so evocative, these books transported me to a tiny remote island where the gale force winds whip around the eaves of a small sanctuary filled with prayer and candlelight, where ferry trips of hours are endured to get the most basic of provisions and medical care…the challenges and the rewards of living in such a place. The interaction with islanders and the establishment of her small community with her ever present cats by her side…this lady is a huge human being, a woman with a vibrant, warm beating heart that includes all she comes across and weaves all into her seamless Celtic stream of life and love of God. Here is a small excerpt from her first book A Tide That Sings…

‘Sea pinks nodded from the crevices of rock and carpeted the banks above, along with the wild violet and scabius. Soon the varieties of orchid would be out too, and all manner of other wild species of flowers. One was afraid, almost, to walk across the machair at this time of year, for fear of crushing such beauty. few people of course ever found their way here. Visitors went to the obvious beauty spots,and the islanders were far too busy, or had other lovlier beaches nearer to hand to enjoy. Anyway, this one today was all mine…

Something pushed against me, and a furry ball curled into my side. I spoke to him and he flexed his paw and purred. A ewe nearby nuzzled two sleepy lambs and moved them up on the hill. ‘Lovest thou Me?’ The Lord had asked Simon Peter, and then had said, ‘Feed my lambs…’ and, ‘Feed my sheep…’ That had been Peter’s commission. I opened the breviary I had brought along with me. I would say the Second Vespers of Easter there on the shore…

Almighty God, who through Thine only begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; we humbly beseech Thee, that as by Thy special grace preventing us Thou dost put into the minds good desires; so by Thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect. ‘

The community is now selling one of the small houses on Fetlar complete with chapel…and more details of the community and the house are here: Happy hunting!

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-47574053.html

http://www.fetlar.org/

http://www.ourladyoftheisles.org.uk/

SOLi

 

 

A Sonorous Thread Of Silence

“I have always been struck by the Lord’s encounter with Elijah, when the Lord speaks with Elijah. He was on the mountain when he saw the Lord pass by, “not in the hail, the rain, the storm, in the wind…The Lord was in the still soft breeze. [cf 1 Kings, 19:11-13] In the original text, a most beautiful word is used which cannot be precisely translated: he was in a sonorous thread of silence. A sonorous thread of silence: this is how the Lord draws near, with that sound of silence that belongs to love…This is the music of the Lords language…It will do us great, great good…It will do us good to be silent a little, in order to listen to these words of love, of great closeness, these words of tenderness.”

Pope Francis, Morning Mediation in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, When silence is music, Thursday 12th December 2013.

Pearl in Oyster shell

I Am A Soul

I am a Soul

 

The above is particularly meaningful for me; as my experiences over the last 10 months have embedded this truth to a degree where human doubt and the illusion of separation have receded into a faint distant memory as if they had never been. Some of you may have noticed that I have been very quiet for many months. This is not an accident. In May this year after 56 years of robust health [which my consultants described as ‘disgustingly rude health’] with no medications, out of the blue one day, a day like any other…an emergency overtook me and within hours I had been rushed into hospital where I would stay for a week, running the usual gauntlet of tests and some more of a more invasive kind. I was not in the least perturbed, my robust health would see me through, I had no worries. Result after result came back, fine, fine, excellent, really good, excellent…until the final result came 7 days later diagnosed cancer of the lining of the womb.

To say your life flashes in front of you was not exactly my experience, I would describe it more like being run over by an express locomotive in slow motion…because we never think it will happen to us. Especially not the healthy us. Not now, not with so much to live for. Even the consultant had the grace to look shocked. And then the miracles began. If the random emergency had not happened, he assured me…this would never have been picked up. No test would have diagnosed this. It was the earliest possible stage. The cancer was well contained…in a “most beautiful position”…An operation could be all that was needed.

From that point for 24 hours I shook, wobbled, howled and was filled with an animal type fear in a very human way. I had to tell my husband [who at 20 years old had lost his own father to bowel cancer;] and see the horror and pain in his eyes. I had to tell my 5 children who would then tell my grandchildren. I had to tell my elderly parents, 88 and 92…also in robust health who would swap places with me like a shot…if only they could. And I had to really decide things that I had not had to decide upon before. How now did I want to handle this, what did I want to do…how could I travel this journey. There was no escape hatch, no way out, I could not bargain, plead or do anything right now to get out of this. I had to go through the middle of it. This is a very individual journey accompanied by those who love and surround us.

After the first 24 hours a divine strength filled me to overflowing. It was as if the Higher power had infused me utterly and was the strength that I was not. It cushioned and supported me, gave me clear thinking and courage and hope. I did not assume everything would be physically all right, far from it. But I knew that whatever happened, I was alright. I did not need to plead, or bargain or do anything except be and hug that Love. I knew that the Divine Love we name God loved me and was reaching right down and cradling me, supporting me, hugging me…and walking alongside me. I never felt alone, there was a complete tangible presence with me at all times, so near I could almost reach out and touch it, smell it, feel it. The ‘worlds’ were colliding, there was no space in between, no distance…just Love. Any outcome was guaranteed to be Love. It was not for me to reason or understand, it was completely beyond all that.

6 weeks later I had the operation. I was surrounded from the start by loving caring [and spiritually aware] professionals, and embraced and cushioned by the Divine Presence throughout. In the anaesthetic room, which is quite small and filled with equipment, the whole operating staff came through to see me, have a chat, reassure me and generally touch base with me. The atmosphere was relaxed, unhurried, peaceful and felt safe. As they left I could actually feel  my parents, my grandparents, my husband, my sister… I could tell you where they were standing and how they were smiling at me…I could literally feel them as if they were physically there with me…at one point the room seemed somewhat overcrowded to say the least! And then, I was away…in their expert hands.

I woke after 4 and a half hours in theatre…exhilarated [I am told it is the opium high!]…and listened to the rain on the windows and the Sea King helicopter revving up outside our beautiful Highland hospital, its crew dedicated to saving life in whatever conditions the weather throws at them. That was an awesome 8 hours before daylight broke, just resting in and breathing in the most rarefied atmosphere of Divine Presence, giving constant thanks in that breathing in and out for being alive, for coming through the operation, for my children, husband, life…for living in a country where medicine makes this possible whether we have money or not, for our medical ability in this country, our being able to have the drugs and anaesthetics’ and specialist equipment that makes all this possible at all….there is always so much to be grateful for.  The following day I came home to the sheltering love of my husband, and over the next few days and weeks my daughters came and stayed for a few days at a time, each bringing their own unique gifts of character and colourful personality which all combined, produced a loving healing space. A week later the biopsy results came through. Clear…no need for further treatment. No chemo, no radiotherapy. There was a gift in the earliest of diagnosis’s.

For 10 months I have not blogged. I have simply been present and accepting of life in each moment. And there have been casualties  and deaths. Deaths of unhealthy ‘friendships’ that masked hidden agendas of treachery behind their seemingly friendly faces as they sat in our social circles. For that we are most grateful. These things have no place to exist in the home of Divine Love.  Deaths of situations that were no longer desired or healthy. And there have been births… in Divine gifts of the arrival of the new, and the restored. Much more than cancer was cut out. And much more has been given back to us than just life.

For 10 months I have been happily sitting in the silence, breathing and drinking it in. What next? was not a thing I was prepared to hurry myself into answering in any way. What would be would be. If there was nothing to come for me to do, that was fine. If there was something for me to share that too was fine. Love is always the answer to the question. It is who we are.

Love is its own constant answer to its own eternal question…and Love is the Silence and the Never-Ending Conversation.

 

The Christ Mysteries…And Nothing Else Matters…

I am rewriting a book that I first published in 2000 called “The Christ Mysteries” so that it may be republished.  That is keeping me occupied at the present, with it’s complexities of the Trinity, and the theological issues and history are somewhat absorbing! But above and beyond all that is  the driving force behind the work, the Love, the Faith, the knowing, and the desire to share and witness in service. This piece of music beautifully encapsulates this and says it all really. Forever Trust In Who You Are.

Lyrics below video.

“Nothing Else Matters”

So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters
Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters
Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know
So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know
Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters
Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters
Never cared for what they say
Never cared for games they play
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
And I know
So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are No nothing else matters

Psalm 130 : Out of the Deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord.

Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord hear my voice.

O let thine ears consider well: the voice of my complaint.

If thou Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss: O Lord, who may abide it?

For there is mercy with thee: therefore shalt thou be feared.

I look for the Lord; my soul doth wait for him; in his word is my trust.

My soul fleeth unto the Lord: before the morning watch, I say, before the morning watch.

O Israel, trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy: and with him is plenteous redemption.

And he shall redeem Israel: from all his sins.