Tag Archives: Advent

Advent & Looking to Mary.

Today marks the beginning of Advent.

Like other Jews, Mary (mother of Jesus) longed for the fulfillment of the prophecies promising a Savior to Israel. (Never could she have imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that she would be the one to bring Him into the world!) In my life, I’m (still) waiting for the fulfillment of so many of God’s promises to me.

As I go about Advent, I am going to look at Mary and the hope of her Son. No matter how painful the waiting (for all kinds of fulfillment), I want to be strong as Mary was. I want to trust His promises to me. I want to grasp onto His faithfulness, to trust, even when there is no hope within my line of sight.

I want to say “yes” as Mary did, and not to count the cost. Her cost for saying “yes” to conceiving the Savior could have meant death for her. I don’t know if the cost for me will ever mean physical death (as a martyr), but it does mean dying to myself and my own plans every day.

I want to say “yes” and not question why He asks a certain experience of me. Mary didn’t question why she specifically was being asked to carry out the magnificent task of carrying the Son of God within her womb and mothering Him. She simply said: I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) I have many questions about why I am asked to carry certain things. Why am I entrusted with this or that? Yet, His plan is sovereign and wise. I want Mary’s courage to simply say “yes,” only looking forward and keeping my eyes on Him.

I can’t imagine the temptation to impatience there was for Mary during her pregnancy. Can you imagine being told by an angel that you would conceive in a supernatural way…And not only that, but that the child would be the Savior of all humanity! Mary protected Jesus in her womb for 9 months and waited all those months to behold her beautiful Savior face to face. She must have faced persecution for her out of wedlock pregnancy, most people not having a clue of Whom she carried. Yet she carried the evidence of what people believed was sin in her body, waiting and waiting to hold Him, and for the world to know Who this special Child was.  In all of my waiting…To finish school for a more fulfilling job where I will no longer live paycheck to paycheck, in waiting to meet or know who my husband is, in waiting to find a more permanent living situation…Impatience. Yet most of all, longing for the day I meet my Redeemer face to face, and live in perfect joy forever with Him and all the saints. Waiting. There is always something to wait for. The waiting, the longing, the feelings of never being settled…Mary teaches me to wait. She is teaching me endless strength, and to have faith. She shows me the example of a woman who followed the Lord without fear, no matter where it led her.

So now I step into Advent, a season of the Church where my daily lived experience is made manifest. I’m thankful to have Mary to look to for the virtues I need the most at this time. Most of all, I’m grateful that she said “yes,” so that our Savior could come into the world!

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45

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Courtesy of Howard Lyon
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Finding Focus in Prayer

As we celebrate the season of Advent and prepare to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior, we’re called to still our hearts and go even deeper in our relationship with Him.

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courtesy of unsplash.com

One reason some people don’t make time/much time for prayer may be that it feels useless. They can’t focus and are too distracted. So, they just give up altogether.

Fighting for your prayer life is truly a battle. Thankfully, there are some steps that you can take so that your conversations with God are a priority and a joy. You can have a vibrant prayer life!

All of these steps have helped me in some way and some have been taught to me by people older and wiser than myself!

Determine a place conducive to prayer. Having a set prayer corner or room works for a lot of people. Maybe you are in a bustling household and going to the chapel is necessary for you. In my own life, I’ve found that I really like to go on prayer walks and talk with the Lord.

Pray throughout the day. Remember to pray before meals (no matter where you are!), when you hear of situations needing prayer, even praying with people that bring up needs or difficulties to you. Commuting on the metro, car, or on foot is also a great time for prayer.

Also, have set times for prayer. More than that, keep them. It’s important to have structure, too. Just like you set aside time to talk to your spouse, child, and other loved ones, you must set aside special time to spend with your Creator. Otherwise it may not happen.

Keep a pen and paper handy. If something comes to mind that you need to do, or some sort of inspiration, write it down. Then move on and continue in prayer. If you don’t write it down for later and move on, it will stay in your mind and you’ll find it difficult to focus in prayer.

Keep a prayer log. You can keep a list of people and other intentions to pray for, to give you more focus and remind you of who you have promised to pray for. Noting answered prayers is also a great step to remind you of the faithfulness and greatness of God!

What prayer forms draw you close to the heart of Jesus? Some like silent prayer. Others thrive on singing. Praying with Scripture using the Lectio Divina method allows you to soak up the Word and its implication in your life. The Examen is a prayer form that many have latched on to. Others like to write letters to God. Attending Mass or a church service is a form of prayer. There are many, many different forms of prayer. Find the ones that fit your personality.

Find accountability. We need help on this journey. Find someone that you can count on to ask you how your prayer life is going–and will give you a kick in the pants when needed. Even better, they will pray with you.

I hope that these tips will enrich your walk with the Lord and enable you to have a thriving prayer life! Blessed Advent!