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 Fourth Week of Advent, Cycle A, is based on Matthew 1:18-24.
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, ‘God is with us.’”
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.
Do not be afraid. God is with us.
It’s early morning. You are just waking up. It’s still dark outside. But you woke up because you feel drawn to take a walk in the neighborhood. There is a fresh snowfall covering everything. It’s cold but the wind is calm. As you walk, you feel the soft crunch of new snow. It makes you smile. In the distance, you see someone standing at the bus stop. He is leaning against the wall and seems tired. You think he might even be asleep as he leans against that wall.
As you approach, he looks up and says, “Good morning.” You answer, “Good morning. Nice snow this morning.” He looks at you with eyes that are tired but gentle. “Yes. The snow is nice in the morning before it gets trampled.” He looks at you with gentle eyes and says, “I just got off my shift at the factory. Time to get the bus and go home. Why are you out so early this morning?” His voice and face are so inviting. He makes you feel safe and peaceful. There is something you want to share with him, something you’ve been holding onto, afraid to let go of. What do you say to him?
His whole body seems to be listening to you. “I understand,” he says. “I too have been afraid. My wife gave birth to our son a few months ago, and I was out of work. I didn’t know how I was going to take care of them. I was scared.” You notice that he is smiling as he tells you this. You ask him, “Why are you smiling?” He looks at you with a big smile and says, “Because I knew that God would help me. I knew God was here with me.” You see the confidence, the trust in his face. What do you say to him?
He continues to look at you with those gentle eyes. You can see the joy and the strain in them. You wonder how he got such confidence, such faith in God. “When I was out of work I prayed and asked God to help me. I was tired and afraid of the future. Then one day at a bus stop, like this one, I talked to a man who let me know about the possibility of a job. When I went to look into the job, he was the one who was doing the hiring. It’s like God sent me an angel at the bus stop. That’s why I talk to people here. You never know when one might be an angel.”
What fears do I need to hand over to God who is always with me?
Who are the “angels” in my life who have shown me the face of God?
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.