A Reflection for the First Sunday in Advent
What is Holy in the pile of shoes by the door? In the sink full of dishes needing to be washed? In the piles of laundry, the driveway in need of shoveling, the lawn in need of mowing, the gridlock on the commute to work, the diapers to be changed, the budgeting gymnastics when there’s too much month at the end of the paycheck? What is Holy in the Mundane that we live in?
In the 17th century, there was a member of the barefooted Carmelites order in Paris by the name of Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence worked as a cook for fifteen years in the monastery kitchen. In his later life, suffering from a severe sciatic gout, he was unable to stand for the time required by working in the kitchen. As a result, he spent the final years of his life as a sandal maker for the monastery, making and repairing the shoes of his brothers.
Brother Lawerence spent his life doing the mundane: worldly tasks that were everyday, unextraordinary, even repetitive.
In the book The Practice of the Presence of God, which is a collection of his letters and conversations with other people, Brother Lawrence said:
“For me the time of action does not differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are together calling for as many different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as when upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.”
Brother Lawrence, in his service, chose to make every moment of his life, everything that he did and everything that he was called to do, an act of devotion and worship of God. He approached his whole life prayerfully, attentive to what God was saying to him in all moments, even in the midst of the mundane moments, and contemplative on their meaning.
The Mundane Holy is an experiment in doing the same: seeking the Divine amidst the Everyday, teasing out the Holy moments in and among the Mundane of our lives.
We begin with the Season of Advent, a perfect time to pause and seek God in the midst of this world.
For the season of Advent, there will be a post every day, as a sort of Advent Devotion. After Advent ends, there will be an evaluation of what frequency of reflections is both helpful and realistic.