Monday, Nov. 26 – Philip Swicegood

26 Nov

Week 1: Hope

Today’s Scripture:

Isaiah 1:1-9 and Romans 8:9-11



Recently I have had the privilege of making the acquaintance of a long-dead French priest named Abbe Huvelin. (Reading allows one to do such asynchronous things.) Huvelin lived an interesting vocational calling. In addition to the typical responsibilities of a Catholic priest – preaching, visiting the sick, marrying, burying – Huvelin specifically dedicated himself to the ministry of hearing confessions. To us Protestants that may seem an odd ministry, but Huvelin recognized the value of biblical confession, and offered it with such grace that it drew many Parisians to Christ. His ability to listen with compassion and discernment became so well known that parishioners stood in line for hours to confess before the Abbe. Yet his responses were not some platitudinous “There now, it will be o.k.”; they were truth spoken in love, to lives in desperate need of the hope of redemption. Even though his body was constantly wracked with arthritic pain in the last twenty years of his life – so much that he frequently had to hear confessions while lying on the floor or a bench – Huvelin listened and responded for as long as it took, often up to ten or twelve hours a day. He was asked repeatedly to write books, but he responded, “I prefer to write in souls.”

Here are two Huvelin quotes that speak hope to me this advent season:

The life of faith is like the little nightlight that burns in the room. As long as it is there, the obscurity is not complete. We turn to it and await the daylight.

If you are in a dark season of life, I pray that hope may remain in you, even if it is as small as a nightlight. Turn to it and await the daylight. A star in the East is as inconspicuous as a nightlight. And yet …

We should respect the essence of what God is endeavoring to form in us.

Many of us are impatient with and perhaps a bit disappointed in the reality of our spiritual selves. It sometimes seems that no real and permanent change is occurring in our spiritual geography, individually or collectively. A baby born on a December night is not unusual. And yet …

May the blessing of Hope be yours this Advent season.
~ Philip Swicegood ~


3 Responses to “Monday, Nov. 26 – Philip Swicegood”

  1. Seth Stevens November 26, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    So good…thank you Philip. I think that the way we are doing these Advent writings (individual Body members without alot of outside guidance on content)…may be an interesting insight into the mind of Christ in our community. Will we see themes develop? Themes that may God is working throughout our Body but we did not know about? I’m excited about the whole kit and kaboodle!

  2. Jane Woods November 26, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    It challenges me to think about hope (or faith or joy or love) as a nightlight. I get caught up thinking the godly qualities in me must shine like the sun or else they aren’t bright enough. But I’m reminded that even the smallest bit (a mustard seed?) can move, change and sustain us, and speak to those that we encounter. That give me hope. Thanks, Phillip!

  3. dthomas96 November 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Yet his responses were not some platitudinous “There now, it will be o.k.”; they were truth spoken in love, to lives in desperate need of the hope of redemption.

    I pray that I could both give and more readily accept responses to confessions of sin with truth spoken in love. I am increasingly convicted that this challenge of sharpening each other with such communication is a step towards a life more like what I was created to live. I am so glad to have friends like you all, but I have to constantly remember that we are not just friends, but that we are daughters and sons of the One True King.

    Thanks Philip

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