The gourds, pumpkins and Pilgrim figurines have disappeared. No more green vestments; now the royal purple. The Advent wreath has taken is customary place in front of the ambo in our chapel. Among our Advent practices will be an added meatless day each week for a total of three; singing the Invitatory and its antiphon at Office each morning, and an ever more conscious effort to maintain a quiet, recollected atmosphere in our enclosure.
Tonight we have invited the public to join us for "An Advent Celebration of Evensong" - the Office of Vespers sung with the community and begun with a brief reflection by one of our sisters. We hope that people will find this a way to mark their path through the season in a more Christ-centered way each Sunday evening. Sr. Peg will begin our Evensong tonight. Hope to publish her remarks tomorrow.
Our community Christmas letter has gone out to all our families, to our friends and benefactors and our contemplative Redemptoristine monasteries all over the world. We have just translated the last of the Christmas letters received from our monasteries last year. We are very slow at this process. This is a standard difficulty for an international order which by definition does not have a general government. But we are getting better at international communication especially with Internet translators and Skype.
We have been blessed by the presence of two new faces among us. The first is a visitor enjoying a sabbath time of a few months in our community. She is a teaching sister in this country but a native of Zambia. We are learning a great deal more about the current situation in Africa. The second sister is already a Redemptoristine and considering applying to transfer into our community. This is precious discernment time for her. It has been a joy to have both of these sisters among us - a work and prayer, meals and recreation.
The darkness comes so early these days. This afternoon the grey sky yielded some pretty snowflakes. Yes, 'tis the season and we pray to enter it with the spirit of watchful, attentive expectation of Jesus appearance, not only at the end of these four weeks but each and every day if only we stay awake and train our eyes to see the light in the darkness.