Nov. 26: A rhythm of attentiveness
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Each Christmas season, the mystery and miracle of Incarnation sends a wave of awe over me. Our God is a God who comes to us. The Creator of the Universe stirs and moves among us creatures here on planet Earth. Jesus of Nazareth came and lived among us more than 2,000 years ago. No one knows when he will come again. But we do know that the Holy Spirit stirs and moves among us today. Advent reminds us that God continues to come.
Today’s Scripture passage calls us to be watchful. Stay alert because at any time, when we least expect it, Jesus might appear. The operative emotion here is not fear, but anticipation. Who might be the face of Jesus today? Where might the Holy Spirit intervene and turn a hopelessly dark situation toward the light?
Paradoxically, we are most alert to God’s presence if we regularly take time to step back and reflect. Reflection sharpens our self-awareness and helps us become more attentive. One helpful tool for reflective prayer is the Daily Examen developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Examen is usually done at bedtime. Here is a simplified version to try during this Advent season:
- Become aware of God’s presence.
- Review the day with gratitude.
- Pay attention to your emotions.
- Choose one feature of the day and pray about it.
- Look toward tomorrow.
During this Advent season, adopt a rhythm of watchfulness and prayer, attention and reflection. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:36-44 (NRSV)