Advent in Lent?

Crocuses in the snow.

I found this Advent meditation today, but somehow it seemed not inappropriate for Lent.

“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 on their emotions: they cannot respond to others at all; they seem not to love anyone any more; and they even shrink from, and dread the very presence of, those who are compassionate and who care for them.

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 it contains it in a hard black pip of a thing which even 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 splendour of peace.”

from The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander

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