Mark 13: 24-37, Isaiah 64:1-9
At the threshold: Await and Awaken At the threshold: Await and Awaken

Today we step over a threshold. That abstract line or doorway when we enter into a new place, an unknown space. Today we stand at the threshold of Advent. The Advent Door.

Thresholds have been crossed and are crossed by human beings each moment of every day

John O Donahue writes:“We have fallen out of belonging. Consequently, when we stand before crucial thresholds in our lives, we have no rituals to protect, encourage, and guide us as we cross over into the unknown. For such crossings we need to find words. What is nearest to the heart is often farthest from the word…. Without warning, thresholds can open directly before our feet.” 

To Bless the Space between Us, John O Donahue

At St Catherine’s we belong to a community who mark time.

Advent provides us with ritual for thresholds. Spiritual Practices that give meaning to our moments…

Practice 1: Body Prayer 

Developed by Saint Julian in the midst of the Bubonic Plague.  Four simple postures: Await, Allow, Accept, Attend.  

Await – await God’s presence however it may come to you (let the holy surprise you)

Allow – Allow a sense of God’s presence to come or not and be what it is

Accept – accept as a gift whatever comes or doesn’t come. Accept that you don’t know everything, you are not in charge

Attend – attend to what you are called to, willing to be present and to be God’s love in the world, whatever God calls you to.  

And then move through these postures without words. Let your body speak. 

(See: History and Description of the Body Prayer and Video of Body Prayer

Practice 2: Contemplative Photography 

Photography as a contemplative practice is a way to slow down and gaze deeply, noticing things we miss in our rushed lives.  The camera or phone or ipad – so available to us in these times, can provide an encounter with the eternal moment.

Christine Valter’s Painter encourages us to practice this by first opening up to beholding.

  • Choose a familiar place to sit for ten minutes
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Then intentionally shift your focus from ordinary seeing and noticing, to a sense of reverence.
  • Notice the physical, emotional and spiritual shift in opening yourself.
  • simply be with whatever and whomever arrives in your line of vision.
  • Notice what this stirs in your heart.
  • If appropriate, take a photo. 

(see: Christine Valters Painter: Eyes of the Heart, Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice)  

(see:Photography as sacred practice) 


Advent Doors by Jan Richardson