The first week of Advent is traditionally......

| | Comments (6)

.....the week to meditate on the first of the four last things: Death. And I think it is useful for the Church to call this to our attention, though to the world I suppose it seems a little weird during the season of constant merriment for some of us to turn our minds to something so "morbid." But if we don't have our minds called to it, it would simply be our human nature to ignore it until it makes itself present--and then we think, "Ah, if I had only......"

So, the Church is wise.

Here's a little snippet of something other than Christmas jollity to think on, just for a minute or two:

Because I could not stop for Death --
He kindly stopped for me --
The Carriage held but just Ourselves --
And Immortality.

We slowly drove -- He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility?

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess -- in the Ring --
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain --
We passed the Setting Sun --

Or rather -- He passed Us --
The Dews drew quivering and chill --
For only Gossamer, my Gown --
My Tippet -- only Tulle --

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground --
The Roof was scarcely visible --
The Cornice -- in the Ground --

Since then -- 'tis Centuries -- and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity --

-----------------Emily Dickinson


Ooh, I love your appropriate background! Pretty! I must admit, I didn't know Week 1 was about Death... so thanks for this. I might have known, if I'd managed to pay attention to our homily, but alas, AJ was smacking a kneeler up and down. again. and again. and I couldn't stop focusing on WILLING HIM TO STOP. Sigh. Happy Advent!

That is a wonderful memento mori. (Though now I've succumbed to the Emily Dickinson temptation to sing it to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" which takes a chunk of gravitas out of it.)

PS - Love the snowflake & Advent purple motif!

Thanks, gals!

Yep, Lee, the four weeks of Advent (at least at SMV) are used to focus on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. Fortunately, this year "Hell Week" only lasts a day, so we don't have to think about that much! ;-)

Ellyn---AAAARRRRGGGGHHH! Now I've got that stuck in my head. Never heard it before, and now will be sure to tell everyone I know, especially the poetry loving Zman, all about it!

Hello, just bloghopping and as I came across your post here. I was also unaware that the four last things were the focus of Advent. The homily on Sunday at my parish did not speak of this. Is this just generally acknowledged? Can you suggest any online references for me to learn more about this?

By the way, I like your site, I'll be sure to visit more often.


This was EXACTLY the poem my TA used in college to demonstrate that you can sing any Emily Dickenson poem to TYROT. *sigh*

I'm sure "HELL" week will be apropos for the people working at church - I'm thinking especially of the maintenance men who have to take down the Advent wreath and help the florist put up the Christmas decorations in the short gap between the NOON Mass and when people start arriving for the 4:00pm Christmas Eve Mass (i.e. about 2:30)



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on December 3, 2006 10:16 PM.

Today's hymns was the previous entry in this blog.

Advent1, thinking about death is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.