Several years ago in December, I was marveling at all the Christmas decorations of snow and snowflakes, holly and ivy. And I wondered if we could find meaning in our own Advent reality in the middle section of the Southern Hemisphere. So I wrote The Advent Time:
Grass crackling dry like tinsel and mozzies singing their carol-like tunes. This is the season we have been waiting for, counting off the suns and moons. Expectation hangs like pregnant air and plans go flying, calendars fill. Even the atheist shopper knows that the world is holding its breath until the clanging of a baby's cry matches the bells and it's time to be loving, giving and true, as from splashes of red and green emerge the purple hope of a life that's new. And we've only to notice the promise of joy if we doubt that God could visit the earth. As we blur in the rush and parch in the heat, for one heartbeat away from Advent, His birth.
And it is also Advent time in our Church. Something is being born, a gift of God that none of us can quite imagine. Last week I attended two reflection sessions on the Working Document for the Continental Stage of the Global Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis. After listening to millions of people around the world, the writers named key themes and priorities for the agenda ahead.
The big news, and the focus area for the two sessions I attended, was paragraphs 60-65. This section claims strongly that “rethinking women’s participation” in the Church is “critical and urgent”, backed up by voices of suffering amidst a great love for the Catholic faith. (#60) Following the reflections on the reports, three concrete areas for change are raised: women in governance, trained women preaching, and women in the diaconate.
This exciting development deserves to be shared widely, and discerned at every level of the Church. How can we build communion, participation and mission locally, diocesan-wide, nation-wide and globally? How can we establish “a new culture, with new practices and structures…for the salvation of the world”? (#60) The appeal is for all to be valued as “equal members of the People of God” (#61), to develop our God-given gifts for service, mission and ministry so that the Good News of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to the whole Earth. And like the infancy narratives of poor Galilleans, shepherds and Magi, this message extends especially to those who look out from the margins in hope. Merry Christmas!
One thought on “Like Pregnant Air”
Beautiful Christmas poem, Elizabeth! That’s exciting news about women in the church being important and urgent. A change is in the air, I feel!