December 12th, 2006

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Tuesday after Sunday Advent 2, Isaiah 14:3-6

The text for today, suggested by the old Roman Breviary, is Isaiah 14:3-6. This text speaks of the end of days, of the moment that Adonai will come and give us rest from sorrow, trouble and from the hard work we do. This is the day, Ishaiah says, that the oppressor will have lost his power. In his words: “How the oppressor has ceased! The golden city has ceased!” 


One question that immediately welled up in me was: “When will this day come?” This is the question I have chosen for today. Just like the other days of Advent I have answered it with the help of a tarot card. I have pulled my card from the Tarot of a Moon Garden and the card I have drawn is Eight of Swords. 


The centre of this card is woman. She is surrounded by (dragonfly-)swords and holds her hands before her face. She does not dare to look and see.

It is me who is standing there. The first thing this card challenges me to do, to pull my hands away from my face and to see what surrounds me: all these swords. Those swords are my fears, for these enclose me time after time again. I stand there in my golden city, enclosed by my shining, but hard dragonfly-swords, surrounded by angst. Daring to look at those fears and see them face to face will help me to let go of them.

On another level this card rings true as well. Again it is me standing there in the middle of the swords with my hands before my face. There is poverty and injustice in my own country and in many other parts of the world. It is me who closes my eyes to that. Knowing and being aware of the poverty and injustice and of the fact that I live at the expenses of other peoples lives, makes me feel powerless. Closing my eyes to that is a way to evade that powerless feeling. But the only thing that helps is opening my eyes to the poverty and injustice. Then maybe I will be open for the little things I can do. So, to this as well, I need to open my eyes.

Advent is a time of longing. But it is also a time of trailblazing, of preparation, because the Messiah cannot do it on his own. 

Painting: Christ appearing to the people (The Coming of Christ) by Alexander Ivanox.