Advent is here! Traditionally this is a period to both prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas with joy as well as to look to the second coming of Jesus that will bring all things to completion. It is a time for waiting, hoping, and praying.
For the past several years we have provided you a tool to make these days of Advent and Christmas prayerful. It is a little booklet called SACRED SPACE, put out by the Irish Jesuits. It is a format on how to pray that includes many methods. First, there is an introduction for each week of Advent. This short paragraph is worth reading and pondering for a few moments each day. Then you place yourself in God’s presence, pray for the gift of freedom (not to be controlled by anything in life except for what God asks of you.) Next, you review the past hours to see what was light and what was dark. Then, you read the Gospel of the day and after reflecting upon it, have a short conversation with the Lord.
If you can keep the discipline of doing this exercise each day, you will find Christmas to be more of what we all long for at the end of each December.
Last night at RCIA, we had a session on prayer. Two of the most interesting points were: prayer is meant to lead us to silence before the Lord, where we look at him lovingly, and while He looks at us in the same way. To be in silence before the Lord is to pray. Secondly, to come as you are in your brokenness and goodness, sharing the good and the bad with the Lord is to pray. Prayer is both conversation about our lives and a willingness to listen deep inside ourselves as the Lord responds. Even distractions are okay because they sometimes are a way of the Lord getting our attention.
Advent will race by, so make sure to pay special attention to the Lord’s inner promptings from the very first. The readings of the Season call us to be ready for the coming of the Lord.