This past weekend I was blest to facilitate an Advent Retreat at the Monastery for a group of more than 75 people from over 20 parishes and communities. What a humbling experience to stand before so many!
I offered these words: “During this Advent Season – God may indeed be preparing us for something even as we prepare to welcome him more fully into our lives. It’s this reciprocal piece I want to offer – this Divine Hospitality – God hosting us as we prepare to host Him that takes our sometimes very one-sided image of Advent – “what are we doing to prepare?” and turns it on its side – expanding our understanding and humbling us in the process when we realize God’s mighty work being done in us. Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, and Elizabeth and Zechariah, John the Baptist’s parents opened themselves to this possibility in the Annunciation passages in the Luke 1. And it was greater than they could ever have hoped or envisioned possible.
Opening ourselves to this great work requires humbling ourselves before our God. Saint Benedict’s writes in the Holy Rule (RB 7) about this first step – “keep fear of God always before our eyes”. (RB 7.10) – not fear as in being afraid – fear as in “awe” – an all encompassing word term for worship and obedience and a proper relationship with God – where God is God and we know we are not.
I invite you to take a few moments of quiet now to name a situation that you’d like to invite God into more fully, relinquishing control – trusting God to be God and allowing yourself to rest in God. A situation you can give to God with Mary words: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be done with me according to your word.” (Lk 1.38) What great preparation is God doing in your life today?”
We came together around the Advent Wreath built with a wagon wheel as its foundation and offered our situation up with candles and song. If you attended I invite you to post your reflections of the Advent Prayer service here. If you weren’t with us physically, I invite you to consider a situation you would like to invite God into – a situation perhaps where God is preparing you for something even greater than you can imagine. Peace and blessings this Advent week!