Advent is Here!

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

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

 

Advertisements

New Every Morning

Yesterday was a stinker. Pain wracked my body and kept me from being able to enjoy the day, much less be very productive. Last night wasn’t much better and I found myself getting up in the night to take my strongest pain pill to help me try and get some sleep since the pain was doing such a great job at creating insomnia. I don’t like writing about the times when things aren’t going well because I don’t know how it could possibly be encouraging–not to mention I don’t have the mental energy for blogging when I’m in a lot of pain.

Still, I got up at my regular time this morning and ended up poking my head out the front door to see if the FedEx delivery I was expecting yesterday had arrived last night and the guys just missed it during the football game. Instead of a dreary cold morning I was met with a glorious blaze of colors and crispness in the air that boosted my spirits enormously. My day may have not started off the greatest but here was a very clear and present reminder that God was in it and His mercies are new every morning. So this morning I’m grateful not only for my new, more powerful medication to help me cope with the pain but also for the simple reminders that each day is unique, and God’s grace is uniquely suited to each day’s needs. I may not feel great and have low expectations of what can be accomplished today but as my friend James says, “God is always good, and we are in His hands”–and for right now that is enough.  As Elisabeth Elliot would instruct me, I’ll just work on “doing the next thing” and do my best to observe “the sacrament of the present moment” (Jean-Pierre de Caussade) that gives meaning to all I do–or don’t do–today.

I hope your day is not stinky and that you are having a wonderful first day of December! But if you’re not, remember, you’re not alone. Many of us are suffering in one way or another and we will get through this day, one thing at a time, and ultimately “all shall be well” (St. Julian of Norwich).

Thoughtful Thursday: Rest in God

This is a rerun and perhaps as I still haven’t learned how to do this routinely yet there is someone reading this that will also benefit from the repeated message…

I don’t know about you but true rest is sometimes elusive for me, even on days of rest such as Sundays. In that vein, I’m sharing words I found comforting from St. Edith Stein (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). I plan to put her counsel into effect today in hopes that tomorrow I will be experiencing Sunday as “a new life.” Maybe you will want to do the same…

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him–really rest–and start the next day as a new life.”

First Friday in Advent: A Prayer for this Season

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/

 

Too Much Tuesday: Simplicity in Spirituality

While rereading Dom Hubert Van Zeller’s outstanding Holiness for Housewives (and other working women), my primary Advent spiritual reading this year, I ran across the following words of wisdom I thought worth sharing. So often we make growing in our faith a complicated matter and are discouraged when we don’t seem to make much progress. Or, alternatively, we can become complacent and coast along in our spiritual practices and not really bear much fruit along the way.

I believe this holy Benedictine priest nailed it when he wrote this book as his way to holiness is, in Benedictine tradition, one of stability, obedience, and ongoing conversion–all the while balanced by moderation. I hope his words–summed up in his phrase “religion is yielding to Christ” are helpful to you as well during this time of waiting and preparing for our Lord and Savior’s birth.

“Training in spiritual things…can be done only by the combined activity of God and yourself. Concentrate on the service of the will…Obedience to God’s will is…is all that religion amounts to. Religion is God. Religion is recognizing God in His own setting. The setting is provided by Him, not by us…Religion is yielding to Christ.

The only thing that really matters in life is doing the will of God. Once you really appreciate this truth, and act accordingly to its implications, you save yourself a lot of unnecessary heart-searching [overthinking] and resentment.”

A Prayer for Election Day

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

Rest in God

I don’t know about you but true rest is sometimes elusive for me, even on days of rest such as Sundays. In that vein, I’m sharing words I found comforting from St. Edith Stein (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). I plan to put her counsel into effect today in hopes that tomorrow I will be experiencing Sunday as “a new life.” Maybe you will want to do the same…

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him–really rest–and start the next day as a new life.”

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: