by Ken Rolheiser
                End times, new beginnings and old seasons
The thought of the world ending does not disturb me; the thought of living in these times does. It is with heavy heart that we watch the news during terror attacks and mini war flare-ups. Natural disasters are another page.

How do you live through these times? Pray, pray, pray and share with others the love that is in your heart. Look around you for the signs of hope, the signs of love that tell us God’s Kingdom is coming.

Of course, a sense of humour helps. Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before. Then there is spiritual déjà vu - when you've done something so funny that God had to rewind it and show it to his friends.

In his homily “Are You Ready?” Father Brendan McGuire shares the story of Harold Camping’s end of the world predictions: in 2011, 1995, 1994, 1991 and the list goes on. The trick is to remember the last line of Mark 13:32: "But of that day or hour, no one knows, / neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Living a life filled with hope is the natural posture of the Christian. Last week I was reminded in a dream that the sunrise is beautiful. Later at breakfast, when I watched the morning sky, indeed there was a fire of blazing light.

As the day went on, I realized that we so often don’t see what blesses us. I noticed my wife in whom I still see the young woman I fell in live with and committed my life to. I saw her beauty anew and counted it a blessing.

Hopkins in “God’s Grandeur” reminds us how the brightness and grace of creation will “flame out”, though we tend to “blear” it and “smear” it until it is no longer recognizable. Until it “wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell.” Yet God recreates:

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

As I write this column the Cyprus trees outside my window are dancing in the Alberta Clipper that is bringing refreshing snow which in time will help renew us.

The March winds will awake the buds, refreshed by the water’s cycle, whose “every drop is as wise as Solomon,” De La Mare says in “All That’s Past”.

As the seasons skip by we celebrate the events of Advent and Christmas. We mark our social calendars and perform the rituals that underline life’s deeper meanings. Sometimes we even realise life as we live it.

In “Are You Ready?” McGuire says, “What Christ means by living fully is not doing whatever we want in a self-indulgent way, but it means living the gospel; it means being kind, being gentle, being loving and forgiving.”

McGuire adds, St. John of the Cross once said, “-in the evening of our life, it is not how well we have lived by which we will be judged; we will be judged on how well we have loved.”

(529 words)

De La Mare “All That’s Past”

Very old are the woods;
And the buds that break
Out of the brier's boughs,
When March winds wake,
So old with their beauty are--
Oh, no man knows
Through what wild centuries
Roves back the rose.
Very old are the brooks;
And the rills that rise
Where snow sleeps cold beneath
The azure skies
Sing such a history
Of come and gone,
Their every drop is as wise
As Solomon.

Very old are we men;
Our dreams are tales
Told in dim Eden
By Eve's nightingales;
We wake and whisper awhile,
But, the day gone by,
Silence and sleep like fields
Of amaranth lie