Advent Reflection ~ day 1


There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world. And the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. 

—Luke 21 :25-28

As a little girl, I remember listening to our priest talk about “The day of Tribulation.” I was terrified that one day I would see stars fall from the sky and the heavens shaking. But as a grown woman, I have a whole new perspective on these ominous images.

Like so many others, I have experienced many days, even years of tribulation. Having lost a child eight years ago, I was propelled into what St. John of the Cross, a Spanish poet and mystic, called the Dark Night of the Soul. Yet,  in the roaring waves of grief, redemption came in the form of a deeper, more meaningful faith.

I now resonate with the words that St. John of the Cross penned in the 16th century:

“God has to work in the soul in secret and in darkness because if we fully knew what was happening, and what Mystery, transformation, God and Grace will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.”

Perhaps this Advent finds you in a season of tribulation. Try listening for God’s whisper, even if it feels like the waves are crashing. If it’s dark, look up and feel the light of heaven shining upon you.

Your redemption is at hand.

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Nancy Jo Sullivan

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Nancy Jo Sullivan is an inspirational author and speaker. She has published with Random House, Guideposts, Readers Digest, and the Huffington Post. Her newest book, Small Mercies, was recently released by Loyola Press. In the book, she writes about God’s presence in motherhood, family, and love. Through poignant reflections, she recalls how she found God even in her darkest moments, especially in the months that followed the death of her daughter with Down’s syndrome. She reminds the reader that God is present in “every mess, burden, and blessing.” The mother of two grown daughters, Nancy Jo resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She loves hanging out with her daughters, teaching writing classes to kids with special needs, jogging, making spinach smoothies, and of course, writing about her imperfect life.

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