My own spiritual practice recently is focusing on the reality of God’s faithfulness and the intimate presence of Jesus with me at all times. Attached to this practice is the intention to consciously walk with Jesus (and our Lady) each moment of the day. God’s faithfulness calls us to the same fidelity.
This is what Pope Francis likes to call Missionary Discipleship, setting out with Jesus each day. Journeying with Jesus is another way of describing how we are to ‘lean into grace’ at all times.
There are so many physical realities that are a part of this earthly journey which can easily restrict our vision or understanding about another Reality which is eternal. This life has many demands, from the basics which sustain life; rest, food, work, shelter, health, and the many other complexities of human longings. For a growing number of people, their days are made up of simply trying to provide for these basic needs, either for self or for their loved ones. (Let us not overlook these people in our daily life.)
Securing the basic necessities of life, or enduring the many responsibilities (and stress) of one’s vocation can also restrict one’s attention to this world. Advent calls us to reflect upon the deeper reality of God, and the eternal reality that awaits all creation. The Closing Prayer for Mass Sunday summed up this reality nicely:
May these mysteries, O Lord, in which we have participated, profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures. Through Christ our Lord.
I have found it fruitful to meditate upon the truth and reality of God’s love, expressed concretely in Jesus Christ. This prayerful meditation draws me deeper into the love of Christ, and thus stirs my own heart to love in return.
In today’s Gospel, Luke 10: 21-24, we see Jesus reveling in his own knowledge of God’s faithfulness and love:
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.’
I love this image of Jesus rejoicing in the Holy Spirit! This reveals another recent practice of my own prayer life. I recently discovered a prayer of daily consecration to the Holy Spirit, which is also yielding great fruit in my spiritual (and earthly) journey.
Pope Francis speaks often of the importance of ‘discernment’ and it is precisely the Holy Spirit who gives us this capacity.
Holy Spirit, receive the perfect and total consecration of my entire being. From now deign to be in every instant of my life and in my every action my Director, my Light, my Guide, my Strength and all the Love of my heart. I abandon myself without reserve to your divine actions and want to be ever docile to your inspirations.
Holy Spirit, transform me with Mary and in Mary into Jesus Christ for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the world. Amen.
Jesus’ words to the disciples today speak to us also. These words tell us what the deepest longings of our hearts are, and in Whom they are met – Jesus Christ.
Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
My friends, may this Advent provide you the grace to ‘see Jesus,’ and to ‘hear’ his Word.
Join me in an intentional effort to be Missionary Disciples – a people who walk with Jesus and our Lady each day. It is important to note that such accompaniment is not done in isolation, but precisely in accompanying one another.