During this last week of the Church’s year, we prepare for Advent. Advent is itself a time of preparation, so you may be wondering why we are preparing to prepare, so to say. Partly, it is a response to the unpredictability of life. How often have plans to read/do something been thwarted by minor domestic crises or the arrival of unexpected visitors! Partly it is to allow the significance of the season to register properly, which takes time and planning.
This week we shall be trying to tidy up several ‘loose ends’. We don’t do much in the way of Christmas shopping, but what we do will be mainly done this week. We shall try to catch up with the most urgent correspondence. I myself have an ever-diminishing hope of redecorating the kitchen for Christmas and I know that Quietnun has a few private schemes of her own. Then, on the first Sunday of Advent, we shall enter upon three days of as near-total silence as we can manage. The telephone will be switched to answerphone; Twitter, Facebook and this blog will have scheduled posts (written this week); email will be checked and answered on an ‘as need’ basis. The monastery will be silent, except for the times of the Divine Office. The silence will not be empty, for it is in such silence that the Word comes to those willing to listen; and Advent is above all a time for listening, of preparing a welcome for the Word of God.