Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians
St. Paul said “Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” (Gal. 2:20). Caryll Houselander calls the attitude that we must have as Christ forms in us “the Habit of Advent” which emulates the quiet nine months that Christ spent in Mary’s womb. Below she relates suffering to this “season of Advent”.
“People sometimes get disheartened because they have read that suffering ennobles and have met people who seem to have come out of the crucible like pure silver, made beautiful by suffering; but it seems to them that in their own case it is quite the opposite. They find that however hard they try not to be, they are irritable; that astonishing stabs of bitterness afflict them, that far from being more sympathetic, more understanding, there is a numbness, a chill in their emotions; they cannot respond to anyone anymore…
They say that in their case suffering is certainly a failure.
The truth is that they are too impatient to wait for the season of Advent in sorrow to run its course; a seed contains all the life and loveliness of the flower, but is contains it in a little hard black pip of a thing which the glorious sun will not enliven unless it is buried under the earth.
There must be a period of gestation before anything can flower.
If only those who suffer would be patient with their early humiliations and realize that Advent is not only the time of growth but also of darkness and hiding and waiting, they would trust, and trust rightly, that Christ is growing in their sorrow, and in due season all the fret and strain and tension of it will give place to a splendor of peace.”
Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God, 1944
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