Advent II — Wilderness


Comfort, O comfort my people,
    says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that she has served her term,
    that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all people shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Get you up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
    O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
    lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
See, the Lord God comes with might,
    and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead the mother sheep.

Isaiah 40:1–5, 9–11


Land that was desolate, impassable,
is forest now where secrets find their voices.
The desert is inhabited and blooms.
One with the meadow, wilderness rejoices.
Lebanon’s glory is its green possession
and Carmel’s beauty. Visited by love,
wastelands are pastures for the Lamb at midday,
And living solitudes to hold the Dove.
Never again will patriarch prefigure
Or lean precursor walk or prophet call.
Here is fulfillment. One has come and given
the Spirit Who is flame and festival.
Sower and Sown are here. The bright groves flourish
and burn toward islands in the utmost sea.
Time has become a wilderness of presence
which too is essence of its jubilee.
Earth keeps its season and its liturgy,
as should the soul. Oh, come, green summer, blur
these wastes and let my soul in song declare
Who came by flesh and Who by fire to her.

Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.

Jessica Powers
And Wilderness Rejoices (1952; 1984)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition scripture references provided by

Powers, J 1999, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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