O God, good and merciful, in Advent we thank you for the beginning of a new year. Please bless us and fill us with your grace and your love. Please give us your Holy Spirit, so that we will be ready to welcome Jesus, when we celebrate his birth at Christmas, and to proclaim his victory when he comes again at the end of time. And then please give us eternal joy with you in heaven.
We make this prayer as we praise your name and your goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
O God, good and merciful, after his death on the cross you raised Jesus to life and exalted him to glory. He rules now as King, to bring salvation to this world, weakened by sin and full of violence. Together with all of your Church we praise you. By the power of your Spirit, please give guidance to our lives, so that we may help to build your kingdom by what we say and what we do. We make this prayer as we praise your name and your goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for You
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your forces to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due
Labour to admit You, but O, to no end;
Reason, Your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto Your enemy;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to You, imprison me, for I
Except You enthral me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except You ravish me.
JOHN DONNE (England, 1572-1631)]]>
Discernment is the process of making choices, from within the context of faith, between competing alternatives that seem good. For St. Ignatius, the process involves prayer, reflection and openness to the advice of others. While the rational consideration of pros and cons is important, special attention is paid to the movements of various spirits as experienced in one’s feelings, emotions, and fundamental desires. Do they lead toward God or away from God?
For Ignatius, a prerequisite for good discernment is freedom from attachments to all things, except of course, to God. To what are you attached? Consider all the “things,” desires and assumptions that shape your life today or your ambitions for tomorrow. But consider also how attached you are to the “world” which your imagination constructs, or to your imagined “self’ — your ideas, your worldviews, your ambitions and dreams. How do these “attachments” cloud your judgment as you try to make the choices that keep you on the path to God?]]>
In prayer we shift the center of living from self-
consciousness to self-surrender. God is the center
toward which all forces tend. He is the source, and we
are the flowing of His force, the ebb and flow of
RABBI ABRAHAM ]OSHUA HESCHEL
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1901-1972), educated in Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1940, fleeing Nazi persecution. His religious philosophy brings together traditional Jewish texts and modern questions to explore the reality underlying religion, including the living and dynamic relationship between God and humanity.]]>
than falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
ATTRIBUTED TO FR. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J. (1907-1991)]]>
You created all people in your image.
We thank you for the astonishing variety of races and
cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship,
and show us your presence in those who differ most from us,
until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in
our love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lutheran Book of Worship
to be the first to become conscious
of all that the world loves, pursues, and suffers;
I want to be the first to seek,
to sympathize and to suffer;
the first to unfold and sacrifice myself
to become more widely human
and more nobly of the earth
than of any of the world’s servants.
PIERRE TEILLHARD DE CHARDIN, S.J. (1881-1955)]]>