Second Sunday in Advent: A Prayer for This Season

Yes, we’re now in the second week of Advent and life is just whizzing by–or at least it is for me and I suspect the same is true for you. If you could use some practical, realistic, non-guilt inducing inspiration for the season then this just might do the trick…

Prepare a way for you, Lord? I’ve got lots of work to do!

Help me prepare a way for you into my home, Lord:
help me find a place, a room, a corner, a chair
where you and I can meet each day to pray.
Perhaps I’ll put a candle there, with a Bible;
maybe a statue or a picture; a rosary or a prayer card:
something to mark the spot as the place I keep
to go each day to sit and rest, to take a deep breath,
to remember your presence and open my heart in prayer.

Help me prepare a way for you on my calendar,
an “appointment” each day;
even just ten minutes for you and me to get together,
to talk about the day, its ups and downs,
and get to know each other just a little better than yesterday.

Help me prepare a way for you to enter my thoughts, Lord.
When I’m trying to figure things out, nudge me
to ask for your guidance and counsel,
your Spirit and your wisdom,
when I’m making decisions and choices.
Help me prepare a way for you, Lord,
in my family and among my friends, at work and at school,
in my parish and in my neighborhood.
Help me prepare a way for you to come into the hearts
of those around me who are alone.

Help me prepare a way for you, Lord,
in the crazy rush of Christmas all around me.
Help me remember it’s your birthday
and that you should get some presents—from me.
Help me remember the poverty of your nativity:
make your way into my wallet and spend generously
on those whose needs are so much greater than my own.
Help me remember that of all the gifts I might receive,
none is greater than the love you have for me.

Help me prepare a way for you
to enter my life decisively, Lord.
In the quiet of my prayer, Lord,
help me clear the path you walk into my life, into my soul.

In the stillness of my prayer, Lord,
help me see you as you make your way towards me,
and show me that no matter the roadblocks I put up,
you’ll find a way to come, to enter,
and to fill me with your presence. Amen.

From Good Morning, Good God! by Fr. Austin Fleming, The Word Among Us Press, 2015, via

https://wau.org/resources/article/a_prayer_for_advent/

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Advent is Here!

Disclaimer: This is a rerun from last year with a few brand new music recommendations included…

If you observe the liturgical year, then let me wish you a Happy New Year as you celebrate the first Sunday in Advent. If you use an advent wreath or candles and already have them out, good for you! Here are a couple of resources you might not know about to enrich your Advent experience as you prepare your heart to celebrate the nativity of the King of Kings.

Flock Notes’ Carpe Verbum text messages for Scripture reading, prayer, and thoughtful action.

You can read the blog but it’s more convenient for many of us to get their daily text for reading, praying, and listening to God as preparation for how you will live out the day. There’s even a nifty image and capsulized message that can be saved and used for your lock and/or home screen. The content was written with teens in mind but I haven’t found this to be limiting. In fact, some of the features designed for the younger mindset come in handy for the over 50 crowd as well–both my mom and I are using the daily screenshot reminder of that day’s key point, along with an Advent candle graphic, to keep our Advent focus going in a festive yet practical way.

http://www.carpeverbum.org/

Young Oceans’ Advent album for a soundtrack.

Good contemporary music for Advent is hard to find. So imagine my surprise when I went searching this morning on Amazon Music Unlimited this morning and found this gem! I am mesmerized by its perfectly pleasing mellow harmonies and lovely musical textures, not to mention the solid Advent lyrics. Plus, the multiple instrumental pieces are both soothing and uplifting with an anticipatory feel to them. I’m a musical fussbudget but this is something reminiscent of both Taizé and Jars of Clay but altogether its own sound. If you’re looking for something new for Advent, I highly recommend sampling this.

https://smile.amazon.com/Advent-Deluxe-Young-Oceans/dp/B00BKBJUYA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512318686&sr=8-1&keywords=young+oceans+advent#customerReviews

Additionally, a brand new resource available for 2018 is Matt Maher’s ingenious album: The Advent of Christmas. As always with his music, there’s something for everyone in terms of style and content from the soothing sublime to scintillating songs old and new.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H9FGWF7?pf_rd_p=c2945051-950f-485c-b4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=30RPVAQ4B2FTTGXVVMHG

Finally, there are also two new albums of piano music for Advent and Christmastide in 2018 for a nice ambient touch. Thomas Keesecker’s The Quiet Center: Piano Music for Advent and Christmas and The Quiet Center: Music for Christmas and Epiphany.

https://smile.amazon.com/Quiet-Center-Piano-Advent-Christmas/dp/B07DPV1XZM/ref=sr_1_2?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1543764019&sr=1-2-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=Thomas+Keesecker

https://smile.amazon.com/Quiet-Night-Piano-Christmas-Epiphany/dp/B07DGKSQDJ/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1543763979&sr=1-1-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=Thomas+Keesecker

What are some of your favorite Advent resources? Please feel free to share. Have a blessed season of preparation to celebrate Christ’s birth!

On Being Whole

For quite some time I have not posted and I wanted to let my readers know that–despite my silence–I am thankful for all of you. Between not doing well healthwise and writer’s block I just haven’t been able to muster up the mojo to get anything written. After talking with a wonderfully encouraging friend recently I decided to start back using baby steps: posting a quotation that I’ve run across and perhaps saying a few words about it. This way at least I’m getting over the hump of resuming posting on my always irregular basis…So, without any further ado, this Thanksgiving I just want to say how grateful I am for all my family and friends and readers and I hope to be more active again in the future. In the meantime, here are some words worth pondering…

“God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our help, but because He knew that loving Him would make us whole.”

St. Irenaeus

Our Spiritual Implant

A guest post from Sandra Ralph…

Recently while watching the local evening news I saw a remarkable story. A baby (I think nine months old) born deaf had received a cochlear implant and was hearing the sounds of her mother’s voice for the first time while sitting on her lap. The wonder and sweet smile that kept appearing on her little face was precious, and the mother was overcome with emotion.

Earlier that day I was reading from a Sonja Corbitt book–Unleashed: How to Receive Everything the Holy Spirit Wants to Give You–and she was relating the importance of learning to “hear” our heavenly parent’s voice and the blessings that flow from that. Surely that is God’s intention, but due to our broken world (and often broken bodies) we, too, need help in becoming able to hear clearly. But when we can–and do–the joy our Heavenly Father desires for us is made manifest. Praise be to God!

Lord of all creation…help me to hear your voice. Heighten my sense of your presence in times of gladness and times of sorrow or suffering. Implant your spirit deep within and be the instrument that enables me to hear you clearly.

A Wee Bit of Verse

 

Passion, poetry all unbending

To our greater understanding

What has been dark is now made light

In the early dawn that follows night.

 

Eye can’t see nor ear has heard

All the wonders of The Word

God Incarnate, Christ the Lion

Laying down His life for Adam’s scion.

 

Truth be told it all seems new

Yet familiar echoes in all is true

Waiting for the breaking dawn

When all will gather on Heaven’s lawn.

 

Until that Day we wait our life

Mindling hope, love, joy, and strife;

Our Creator awaits us there

When He welcomes us to His chair.

 

Copyright Sabryna Noltie

Help for Troubled Times

I’ve shared this prayer before but it seems good to share it once again…

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton

Our Most Powerful Tool

Recently one family member shared some encouraging words to another one, who then passed them along to me. Here is what touched me deeply.

“Know that your dilemma is out of your control and that the only power you have over it is our most powerful tool…prayer…practice trust in Jesus and patience while He resolves the issue.”

I have felt out of control lately and I don’t like that feeling. Circumstances aren’t pleasant and I can only do so much–which, other than prayer, is really very little–to address the situation. It is one that time and the providence of God will resolve one way or another. Jesus will resolve the issue. It’s not up to me, although I have to practice trust and patience and, as Elisabeth Elliot would say, keep on “doing the next thing” that needs to be done…which includes a great deal of praying! I must cooperate with grace, exercising humility and swallowing my pride when things need to be done that I’m not keen on.

In the long run, as Julian of Norwich has said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”  

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