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PRAYER: Third Sunday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 16, 2018

From Season of Promises God says, “Do not blame yourself too much, thinking that your trouble and distress is all your fault. For it is not my will that you should be unduly sad and despondent.” (Julia of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love) You got trouble and distress, I got trouble and distress, all God’s children got trouble and distress.  So don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.  Thing is, it is not God’s will that we should feel bummed out all the time.  Someone said, “A sad Christian is a sad Christian.” Why do we think that if we have “trouble and distress” it must be all our fault?  Why are we so inclined to beat up on ourselves for the slightest reason?  Advent is the season of hope and expectation, hope and [...]

PRAYER: Second Saturday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 15, 2018

From Season of Promises Place no hope in the feeling of assurance, in spiritual comfort.  You may well have to get along without this.  Place no hope in the inspirational preachers of Christian sunshine, who are able to pick you up and set you back on your feet and make you feel good for three or four days – until you fold up and collapse into despair. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation) Feelings, feely-feely feelings.  We hear so much about feelings.  It’s the triumph of the therapeutic.  The self-help gurus proclaim the gospel of getting in touch with your feelings.  Thus do they rake in the dough, the bucks, the greenbacks, the moolah.  Thus do they rake it in.  But genuine spiritual guides, to a one, over the [...]

PRAYER: Second Friday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 14, 2018

From Season of Promises My commonest attitude is this simple attentiveness, an habitual, loving turning of my eyes to God, to whom I often find myself bound with more happiness and gratification than that which a babe enjoys clinging to its nurse’s breast.  So, if I dare use this expression, I should be glad to describe this condition as “the breasts of God,” for the inexpressible happiness I savor and experience there. (Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God) In Advent, we look forward to commemorating the arrival on this Earth of the Son of God as a helpless infant.  Look.  Take the infancy of the Son of God seriously.  Here is God, present in a tiny newborn baby.  How can this be?  We take it for granted.  [...]

PRAYER: Second Thursday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 13, 2018

From Season of Promises The person who cares nothing for praise or blame knows great inward peace, and it is easy for the person whose conscience is clear to find contentment and quiet.  Praise does not make you holier than you are, nor blame more wicked.  You are exactly what you are – you cannot be said to be any better than you are in the eyes of God. (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ) Advent is a time to cultivate genuine humility.  Be only what you are, no more, no less.  Take Mary as the model of humility.  When the angel says, guess what, you’re going to be the mother of the Messiah, what does Mary say?  “Oh gosh, I’m way too unworthy, you’d better find somebody else”?  No.  Mary says, “Let it be with [...]

PRAYER: Second Wednesday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 12, 2018

From Season of Promises Sometimes it may seem to us that there is no purpose in our lives, that going day after day for years to this office or that school or factory is nothing else but waste and weariness.  But it may be that God has sent us there because but for us Christ would not be there, that alone makes it worthwhile. (Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God) Let the quiet spirit of Advent soak into your heart.  Let the spirit of waiting patiently for the coming of Christ at Christmas soak into your heart.  Now listen.  Listen.  The spirit of Advent is the spirit of the gospel, plain and simple.  To open our heart to the true spirit of Advent is to open our heart to the gospel, the Good News that invites us to a new way of [...]

PRAYER: Second Tuesday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 11, 2018

From Season of Promises The nearness of silence means also the nearness of forgiveness and the nearness of love, for the natural basis of forgiveness and of love is silence.  It is important that this natural basis should be there, for it means that forgiveness and love do not have first to create the medium in which they appear. (Max Picard, The World of Silence) Where are you right now, this minute, as you read these words?  Where are you?  Where are you not only physically – in a house or apartment, in a church, riding on a train, bus, airplane, or subway – but where are you in your heart and in your mind?  In your mind, are you in a quiet place or a noisy place?  Is your heart quiet or full of noise? To wait quietly during [...]

PRAYER: Second Monday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 10, 2018

From Season of Promises I set my heart on God with all my trust and with all my might.  He wills that our hearts should be lifted high above the depths of Earthly and vain sorrows, and rejoice in him.  He loves us and enjoys us, and so he wills that we love him and enjoy him, and firmly trust him; and all shall be well. (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love) Advent has one message that is rock bottom.  The rock bottom message of Advent is a message of hope.  Hope is not in vain, the spirit of Advent sings to us.  If we listen.  The heart of Advent is hope, and the spirit of Advent sings in our heart.  If we listen.  Hope, hope.  Look forward to the birth of Christ with hope because no hope is more reliable.  No matter [...]

PRAYER: Second Sunday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 9, 2018

From Season of Promises Every one of us forms an idea of Christ that is limited and incomplete.  It is cut according to our own measure.  We tend to create for ourselves a Christ in our own image, a projection of our own aspirations, desires, and ideals.  We find in him what we want to find.  We make him not only the incarnation of God but also the incarnation of the things we and our society and our part of society happen to live for. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation) Who is the Jesus you look forward to during Advent?  What does he look like?  Your description reveals more than you think.  If you describe Jesus one way, remember that your description does not rule out other acceptable descriptions.  Does your Jesus have [...]

PRAYER: First Saturday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 8, 2018

From Season of Promises God does not ask much of us – an occasional remembrance, a small act of worship, now to beg his grace, at times to offer him our distresses, at another time to render thanks for the favors he has given, and which he gives in the midst of your labors.  At table and in the midst of conversations, lift your heart at times towards him.  It is not needful at such times to cry out loud.  He is nearer to us than we think. (Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God) Advent is a quiet season.  Quiet.  Listen.  Advent whispers, and we must be quiet if we are to hear its message.  Advent whispers.  Listen carefully.  Advent carries a quiet message, it says that God is near, our God is near, our God who [...]

PRAYER: First Friday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 7, 2018

From Season of Promises “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life,” says the Lord.  By these words, Christ urges us to mold our lives and characters in the image of his, if we wish to be truly enlightened and freed from all blindness of heart.  Let us therefore see that we endeavor beyond all else to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ. (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ) We think of “meditation” as esoteric, the concern of folks who live in monasteries, of interest to the occasional odd duck.  The wandering guru from India teaches “meditation.”  Certainly, we think, meditation is not to be taken seriously by your average person with a real life to live, mortgage or rent [...]

PRAYER: First Thursday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 6, 2018

From Season of Promises Strangely enough, those who complain the loudest of the emptiness of their lives are usually people whose lives are overcrowded, filled with trivial details, plans, desires, ambitions.  Those who complain in these circumstances of the emptiness of their lives are usually afraid to allow space or silence or pause in their lives. (Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God) Quiet now.  Pause.  Attend.  Advent is a time to cultivate the sheerest, most blissful emptiness.  Advent is a time to cultivate – metaphorically speaking – the emptiness of the waiting womb, the womb waiting to receive and give birth to the Son of God.  Quiet now.  Pause.  Attend. During the Shopping Season our lives fit the description [...]

PRAYER: First Wednesday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 5, 2018

From Season of Promises Silence makes things whole again, by taking them back from the world of dissipation into the world of wholeness.  It gives things something of its own holy uselessness, for that is what silence itself is: holy uselessness. (Max Picard, The World of Silence) Advent is a quiet time.  But Advent is sometimes overwhelmed by the noise and activity of the Shopping Season.  What can we do?  What?  We can carve out a few minutes each day – at the beginning of the day, perhaps, or at the end of the day – when nothing happens except waiting in silence for the coming of Christ.  Nothing except waiting in silence, holy silence. In the first decade of the 20th century, a young Swiss physician, Max Picard, grew [...]

PRAYER: First Tuesday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 4, 2018

From Season of Promises God is our clothing.  In his love he wraps and holds us.  He enfolds us for love, and he will never let us go.  I saw that he is to us everything that is good. (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love) The Advent season is a season of homely things – “homely” in the dictionary’s first meaning of the word, “characteristic of the home or of home life.”  Advent is a season of homely things because during this season we prepare for the coming of a homely God, a God who is at home with us.  Our God is so at home with us that Dame Julian of Norwich, a 13th-century homely English mystic and all-around practical person, said that God is “our clothing.”  Imagine that. Here we go through our day [...]

PRAYER: First Monday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 3, 2018

From Season of Promises If you have money, consider that perhaps the only reason God allowed it to fall into your hands was in order that you might find joy and perfection by giving it all away. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation) Sometimes it is easy for Advent to get mixed up with the great American season of shopping.  We call it the “Shopping Season,” even capitalizing the first letters of the words.  Heavy duty stuff, here.  The Shopping Season! Peculiar things go on in our heads during the Christmas Shopping Season.  We get discombobulated.  In our heart, and in our mind, we get discombobulated.  We get the Shopping Season mixed up with the most remarkable things.  Love, for example.  We get Shopping mixed up with [...]

PRAYER: First Sunday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 2, 2018

From Season of Promises I turn my little omelet in the pan for the love of God.  When it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and worship my God, who gave me the grace to make it, after which I arise happier than a king.  When I can do nothing else, it is enough to have picked up a straw for the love of God. (Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God) Advent graces the weeks before Christmas, but if we’re not careful it gets lost in the holiday shuffle.  We all do the holiday shuffle.  The weeks before Christmas can be hectic, so full of pre-Christmas activities that we miss its true spirit, which is a spirit of holiness in the midst of the ordinary. What is Christmas but the celebration [...]

PRAYER AND POETRY: Advent Collect

November 26, 2018

From Book of Common Prayer Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever.  Amen. The Advent Collect (paraphrased as a sonnet) Almighty Lord and everlasting God, Come in the silence of our human night And give us grace that we may cast away The works of darkness; from eternal day Now send to us the armor of your light; In this brief mortal life protect and [...]

PRAYER: At Table During Advent

December 7, 2015

From Prayers of the Advent and Christmas Seasons, Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy, United States Catholic Conference Advent candle may be lighted as the leader says: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation: in the darkness and in the light. Blessed are you in this food and in our sharing. Blessed are you as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ. All respond: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. The leader says: Come, Lord Jesus! All respond: Come quickly! Another form of Advent prayer begins with the sign of the cross. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Someone at table reads one of the following scriptures or the scripture [...]

PRAYER: On Wintry Spirituality And Napping by Martin Marty

December 17, 2012

From The Life of Meaning: Reflections on Faith, Doubt, and Repairing the World When I used to try to keep too many worlds together, I learned that I needed a way to break stress, and I taught myself to nap, invented a little technique.  I decided that what keeps people awake is they’re thinking about yesterday and they’re guilty, and they’re thinking about tomorrow and they’re worrying, and so I have to invent some techniques to live in the present.  It’s as if you’re on a high without drugs, and you soon learn just to let go of everything, and a few minutes later a timer goes off, and I wake up refreshed. I believe very much that to the degree that we carry the burden of the past, which is always full of failures and [...]

PRAYER: Novena For Advent, With Associated Prayers

December 3, 2012

From Treasury of Novenas Advent Novena Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, I give you thanks through Jesus Christ, our lord. When he humbled himself to come among us as a man, he fulfilled the plan you formed long ago and opened for us the way to salvation. Now I watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be mine, when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory.  His future coming was proclaimed by all the prophets. The virgin mother bore him in her womb with love beyond all telling. John the Baptist was his herald and made him known when at last he came. In his love he has filled us with joy as we prepare to celebrate his birth. When he comes, may he find me watching in prayer, my heart filled with wonder and [...]