Each week of Advent, we’ll provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Advent. The video and prayer for the Third Week of Advent, Cycle A, is based on Matthew 11:2-11.
“What did you go out into the wilderness to look at?”
As we begin this time of quiet prayer, I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight and your legs planted on the ground. Allow yourself to notice your breathing as you breathe normally. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Take a few moments and close your eyes, preparing yourself to listen to what God may be saying to you during this prayer. As you sit with your eyes closed, use these or similar words: “Here I am, Lord. Here I am.” When you are ready, open your eyes and pray.
Where is my wilderness?
Imagine you are walking down a busy street in a large city. There are people everywhere. It’s hard to move ahead because you are surrounded. The sounds of cars and buses and horns fill the air. Surprisingly, in the midst of the crowd and the noise you are calm. There is so much life around me, you think. How does this make you feel? As you walk further, you notice someone all bundled up sitting on the sidewalk. He is wrapped in a furry blanket on top of multiple layers of clothing. As you look closer, he is holding a sign that reads, “Are you ready to enter the wilderness?” You think, how strange. What do you think this means?
You are curious, so you decide to walk over to him. He looks up at you. His eyes look directly into yours. He smiles. What do you want to say to him? He says to you, “Are you ready? The time is coming and is now. Are you ready?”
“Ready for what?” you answer. He smiles and laughs a little. “Are you ready to enter your wilderness, ready to go into the wild to find what is most real?” His laugh makes you smile. You wonder, where is my wilderness?
The man looks up at you with a look that is full of love and acceptance. “I can only bring the message. It’s up to you to accept it. There is one coming who is fully alive, and he offers that to you. He has been to his wilderness, and he knows pain and suffering.” Where is your wilderness? What in your life do you need to accept? What pains are you holding onto?
He looks up at you and sees how you may be struggling to understand. He smiles and says, “He is coming to take all that you want to hide in darkness and bring it into the light of love and acceptance. Will you let him?” He smiles. You think you see such love in his eyes but you aren’t sure.
As you walk away, you think about what he said about acceptance and love, about pain and suffering. But your mind goes back to one phrase he said. Will you let him?
Will you let him? Will you?
Where is your wilderness?
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.