Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Beautiful Advent Prayer

After spending a little while outside hanging Christmas lights with my youngest son, the sun was beginning to set and it just felt "right" to sit down and read the Psalms for this evening. This evening's Psalms are Psalm 53 and Psalm 17, and I found myself drawn to Psalm 17, so drawn to it that I decided to share it with you all. Just in case you do not remember, I have been using Nan C. Merrill's Psalms for Praying: An Invitation for Wholeness when reading (I really mean praying!) the Psalms because I find that her language allows me to linger and enjoy the presence of Love -- of God -- for they seem to call me to the very Heart of Love -- of God!

So without further interruption, here's Psalm 17:

Listen to my heart, O Love Divine;
     hear the cry within me!
Heed my prayer from lips that
     would utter truth!
For in You do I seek justice!
Be Thou my eyes that I may
     see with clarity.

If You try my heart,
     if You visit me by night,
     if You test me, You will
     My only desire is to
     draw closer to You.
I see the injustice and the
     piercing the hearts of your people.

Be Thou my feet that I may walk
             along your paths;
     that I may be a benevolent
             presence on life's highway.

I call upon You knowing You will
                         answer me,
             Heart of my heart;
     incline your ear to me,
            hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Love Divine, You walk beside me
     giving me strength to face
     the fears that dwell within. 

I cannot think of a better gift God could give me -- that God could birth in me -- than that which sought in this prayer! This is indeed a beautiful Advent Prayer!

Happy Advent, my dear friends! May God grant you a peaceful night's rest!

Nesting and Waiting

Yes! I know! My blog has been rather silent over the past few months. This silence well represents my life these past few months for I have been immersed in silence and solitude. To be honest, I am quite hesitant to break out of all this silence and solitude. However, that still, small voice within me is clearly calling me out -- at least to this place -- this space -- to write yet again.

For me, the season of Advent is so much more than waiting for and preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. I want to propose that, at least for me, Advent is a lot like nesting. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Nesting is that which happens to a woman in those four weeks before she gives birth to the child she is carrying within her womb. When a woman is nesting, she is making room -- preparing room -- making ready -- her home for the advent of her child. This is what Advent is like for me. I am finding myself making room, preparing room, making ready for that which God is birthing in me. There is something God is doing within me and I trust that it is his desire to make that known to me.

Saturday morning's Gospel lesson provided me with the question that I think will guide me as I journey through this nesting and waiting that is Advent. That gospel lesson was Matthew 20:29-32, where Jesus heals the two blind men. I prayed this scripture (using  Lectio Divina, which is an ancient prayer practice where you prayerfully read scripture listening for a word from God) that morning. The word I received was the question Jesus asked the two men, "What do you want me to do for you?" As I prayed through the question, it became clear to me that I, too, desired that my eyes would be opened because while I am not physically blind, I do sometimes find it difficult discerning -- seeing -- what God is doing in my life.

And so this week, as I am waiting to see what it is that God is birthing in me, I am praying that God would open my eyes so that I can fully participate in this nesting process and can do my part of making room -- preparing room -- making ready -- for whatever it is that God is birthing in me. For now, my part in making room is joining a Centering Prayer Group that meets every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. This group begins with 20 minutes of Centering Prayer, then Holy Eucharist and ends with another 20 minutes of Centering Prayer. I have also committed to maintaining my rhythm and rule thereby giving my spiritual formation priority over the chaos that surrounds me.

I cannot end without asking you, "What is it that you want God to do for you?" And what are you willing to do on your part to make room -- prepare room -- make ready -- for whatever it is you want God to do for you?

Happy Advent, my friends! May your nesting and waiting be fruitful!