Nurture inner silence to get ready for the Silent Night


Lord, teach me the silence of love,
the silence of wisdom,
the silence of humility,
the silence of faith,
the silence that speaks without words.
O Saviour, teach me to silence my heart
that I may listen to the gentle movement 
of the Holy Spirit within me,
and sense the depths which are God,
today and always.

(Frankfurt, sixteen century)

As Christmas is approaching it may be hard to find moments of stillness amongst the busyness of our preparations. Yet let us try to give ourselves the luxury of short pauses and practice the awareness that God is in our midst. We can do that while doing ordinary tasks like cooking, washing dishes, buying Christmas presents, or spending time with our family, by simply bringing to our attention the notion that God’s gaze is on us as we go about our daily activities. In this way every moment becomes sacred. This awareness will create attentiveness in us that in turn carves the interior way in our souls and makes us ready for the most sacred night of all, Christmas Eve.

Advent is a time of waiting on the promises of light in the midst of the night; a time where promises of a new dawn, while covered in a deep winter dream, or even in snow, slowly start to emerge in quiet whispers, as if the womb of the earth wants to tell us never to give in.

Take time to slow down. Listen to those quiet whispers. Even soul has its seasons. When we look inside ourselves we may recognise in which season is our soul at present. Listen to the promises that are being whispered inside your own being. The soft voice of God speaks within us each, though we have to learn to trust it. The season of our soul does not need to correspond to the seasons of the year. If your soul is in spring, summer or autumn at this time, let these other seasons speak to you, as God is present in each of them. Yet if your soul is in the season of winter; a season of resting, recuperating, restoring, allow yourself less activity, as much as your circumstances permit, and try to bask in the presence of God’s love. Finding moments of stillness is hardly ever going to be without a challenge or distractions but it is nonetheless worth trying to integrate them in our daily lives. Going for a walk is a great way of doing that as nature can nurture inner silence. However, let us be mindful that for some people Christmas is not going to be a happy season, theirs will be a different kind of silence. If you know of someone who might be struggling at this time, may your presence be like a healing balm to them.

In Advent we remember that God often comes to us gently, in silence. Jesus came to this world through the silence of the womb and Mary was the first one who embraced His reality within herself. That was her advent. Now in this Advent, let us be the womb for Him, in which the awareness of God will grow within us.

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

Remember God’s goodness


Christ, come enter through the door of the past:
into the remembered and the forgotten,
into the joys and sorrows,
into the recording room of memories,
into the secret room of sin,
into the hidden room of shame,
into the mourning room of sorrow,
into the bright room of love,
into the joyful room of achievement.
Come, Christ.

(David Adam)

As we light the third Advent candle let us take time to remember. Remember the moments in your life when light shone most brightly, moments that showed you very clearly that God cares, that He is near, that “His word is a lamp for your feet, a light on your path” (Psalm 119:105). It may have been a happy time when blessings overflowed, or a time of distress through which God lit his light in the midst of confusion and brought peace in the midst of anxiety. You might recall a time when someone showed you hospitality and compassion when you least expected it, or a time when you were there for someone else and you felt blessed in return.

There are probably many light-filled events that you keep in the storehouse of your memory. Do not force yourself to remember any of them, rather let a situation from your recent or distant past emerge from within you and remind you of God’s work in your life. And then, still yourself before God and take time to savour the memory. Our memories, good or bad, carry a power to evoke again what they signify. As we remember God’s love, His goodness shown to us, we can feel its power growing in us again, anew. We can sense His light growing within us.

Let this memory which at one time brought you God’s blessings be like a gold you found in the river of your life, among the stones and rubble of everyday events. Allow it to evoke gratitude within you. Let this light-filled-memory remind you that Jesus’ coming at Christmas is for your own good and wellbeing, let it prepare the way for the Lord within you. May it be a gold from your past which you can bring to Christ on Christmas Eve with prayers of thanksgiving.

Through the centuries people waited on the Messiah, trusting the promises the prophets proclaimed. Their Advent was lengthy; they had to wait a long time. Our Advent is, on the other hand, an opportunity to deepen our gratitude for the love that God has shown us in Jesus’ birth. Our Advent has a fragrance of expectancy for we know that Messiah has already arrived. You may have noticed that in many churches the third Advent candle is pink, which stands for joy. We are expecting God’s love to shower the Earth with its goodness on Christmas, and therefore we have reasons to rejoice. The memory of the first Christmas is one of the most significant memories for humankind. God came into our world to heal us and our history. This recollection of God’s love has a power to produce an oil of gladness within our souls, an ‘inner myrrh’ that we can bring to Christ on Christmas Eve.

In the dark nights of Advent, let us remember that Christ has already come, and He will come again, on Christmas, as we make room for Him in our hearts.

In the shadow of the night
When the dawn
Is but a ghost
Unknown and hidden
In the dark
A long forgotten
Promise that brings light
God whispers again
To our hearts
Treasures from your past are
A bridge between the times

(Iva Beranek, from the poem “In the Night, Remember”)

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

A Service of Loss & Remembrance

A Service of Loss and Remembrance will be held in Drung Church, Drung, Co Cavan on Sunday, 29 December 2013, at 8pm. The preacher will be Bishop Ferran Glenfield. All are welcome to attend.

Light someone else’s inner candle

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle- Erin Majors

Grant us a vision, Lord
To see what we can achieve
To reach out beyond ourselves
To share our lives with others
To stretch our capabilities
To increase our sense of purpose
To be aware of where we can help
To be sensitive to your Presence
To give heed to your constant call.

 (David Adam)

A very meaningful way to journey through Advent is by finding time for reflection, creating prayerful moments in our days, moments of stillness, where we wish to direct our attention to God and allow Christ to enter our reality, to light our inner candles and bring light in areas of our lives where we most need it. But it might also be good and even Christ-like if we could find opportunities to step out of ourselves and encourage someone who we think needs light lit in their lives. When we can find balance between a reflective and active preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas, our Advent journey becomes more wholesome.

Take time to notice someone: a friend, a family member or a child who might benefit from your company, greet strangers with a smile, talk to a man or a woman who is homeless, clean your wardrobe and bring things you no longer use to a charity shop, visit an elderly person who might be lonely at this time, say a prayer for people that no one prays for or see what situation moves your heart and respond to it according to your means. Do not take these suggestions as a burden on yourself in what is most likely already a busy season for you. Rather know that in the moments in which we affirm another person’s dignity, moments when we encounter others heart to heart, we meet God in them as well. When we light someone else’s inner candle, our own inner light is relit too.

In the song Be Thou my Vision there is a verse in which we sing,  “Be Thou my dignity, be Thou my delight”. As we bring Christ’s light to each other, sometimes merely by our presence, let us be clothed in His light, robed in His dignity, aware of His delight, knowing that ‘together’ we journey through Advent, together we walk this walk of light.

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

Let Christ light your inner candle

Light of the world,
Enter into the depths of our lives.
Come into the dark and hidden places.
Walk in the storehouse of our memories.
Hear the hidden secrets of the past.
Plumb the very depth of our being.
Be present through the silent hours,
And bring us safely to your glorious light.

(David Adam)

We just entered into Advent; a time of grace, a time of renewal in which we prepare the way for the Lord. The four weeks of Advent are a preparation for Christmas, but they also remind us that Christ comes to us every day, in everyday events of our lives. As Christ comes to us this Advent season, may He find our hearts ready to receive Him.

One of the ways that we can journey through Advent is by coming to know areas in our life where we need a Saviour. We can find short moments in a day where we will pause, stop what we are doing, direct our attention towards God, reflect on our lives and invite Christ into our reality, as well as seek to recognise where He is already present in our days. As we light an Advent candle each Sunday, let us be reminded that Christ lights His light in our hearts too.


It may be a good exercise to try at the end of each day, or at the end of each week, to think of one area of our lives we are grateful for, an area where God’s light is most obvious and give thanks for it, and to think of another area where we need God’s grace and light the most, and offer it to Christ. By doing that we know that we are not alone, the Lord is with us as He promised. Jesus’ love embraces all of us in all that we are. When we invite Christ into our daily lives, into our struggles, light may increase within us, so that now we can celebrate the light newly lit in our lives.

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland