We often hear the question asked: “Where is God?”

Mary MacKillop had no doubt that God was with her, even in her darkest times. In this time leading up to Christmas, we will hear the Scriptural phrase ‘Emmanuel, God-with-us’ many times. We are invited to slow down, ‘smell the flowers’, ponder Mary’s words, and discover our God in the ‘bits and pieces of every day’.

There where you are, you will find God.Mary MacKillop 1871

Sometimes, like Mulga Bill on his bicycle, we find ourselves hurtling into the future, or rushing to our next activity. We struggle to be fully present to this moment—the one we are living now.

  • Have we paused lately to notice the small signs of changes in the seasons?
  • Do we sometimes stop to savour the smell of freshly mown grass? …or to enjoy what is right in front of our noses?

These little reflective breaks can help to keep us in the now. They put us in touch with our ‘good God’.

All the great spiritual writers invite us to try to live in the present. This moment, NOW, is the most important one we have. In fact, it is all we have. When Patrick Kavanagh tells us that “God is in the bits and pieces of every day”, we glimpse the nearness of our God in this precious moment, and in everyday happenings.

Mary MacKillop’s ‘good God’ is a faithful, gentle God who is at home with us. We don’t have to spend our lives seeking God elsewhere.

God gave me such a sense of His watchful presence.Mary MacKillop 1871

We light a candle to honour this present moment and to remind ourselves that the ground we are on is holy ground. Called, or uncalled, God is present. We sit in silence. Later on, we might take a long, slow, reflective walk.

And they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us’.Matthew 1:23

The above is an extract from The Little Brown Book Too (pages 136-137)

© Sue and Leo Kane 2011

Used with the kind permission of the publishers, St Paul’s Publications

Available online and from some Mary MacKillop Centres.

Download the print version of this reflection (PDF)

Photo: Advent candles by Sr Mary Ryan rsj. Used with permission.