Arts & Faith: Advent—First Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise (Cycle B)

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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 First Week of Advent, Cycle B, is based on Mark 13:33–37. The art is William Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World.

“Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn.”

—Mark 13:35

Preparation

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.

Inviting in the Visitor

Imagine you are sitting in a small room in a house that is surrounded by farmland and woods. You have come here to seek the quiet and calm. The busy life of work, family, and the city have made you feel anxious and unfocused. You know you need something; you need some time to let your mind be quiet and your heart open. Quiet and open—those words sound so peaceful and desirable but unreachable. The room is simple: a bed, a desk, and a wooden chair. The walls are bare. You’ve brought books to read and a journal to write in, but you can’t seem to do anything but sit on the chair and absorb the silence, even as you feel restless.

As you sit in the silence, you hear a faint sound like a knock on the door. Your heart races, Who knows I’m here? I need to be alone, you think. The knocking becomes louder. As much as you want to stay in the room, something moves you to go to the door. The knock comes again, but it’s a soft knock. As you approach the door, you see a light streaming under it. “Hello. Can I help you?” you say without opening the door. A soft voice says, “It’s me. I’ve been looking for you.” Something deep inside you stirs, but you are confused. “Who are you? Do I know you?” you say. “Yes. But we have not talked in a long time. I’ve missed you,” he says. You open the door.

Standing there is Jesus. His eyes look at you with such tenderness. He carries a small lantern that gives off a bright, warm light. You stand there, unable to speak at first, allowing yourself to take in his presence and his light. You speak to Jesus. What do you say to him? How does Jesus respond to you? You invite Jesus into the house. You sit and tell him of the restlessness you feel. As you talk to Jesus, a wave of peace and calm washes over you like the warm light streaming from his lantern. “Rest. Be still. You opened the door. Now let me take care of you,” Jesus says. You close your eyes and let his words embrace you. Your heart is at peace, and your mind is still. When you open your eyes, Jesus is gone. Sitting beside the chair where he sat is the lantern, still emitting that bright, warm light. You smile and rest in the glow of the light.

Concluding Prayer

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.
Amen.

About Steve Connor 21 Articles

Steve Connor has served in various catechetical positions for over 30 years. As a pastoral associate, Steve worked with RCIA, adult education, and family faith formation. He has given numerous parish missions and retreats throughout the United States. Steve has a M.Div. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

7 Comments on Arts & Faith: Advent—First Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise (Cycle B)

  1. I find the above text of inviting the visitor very enriching this night. I really experienced Christ who has been looking for me.I went into imagnative prayer which has given me peace this night and should carry me on tomorrow.Thank you for sharing this and God bless you.
    Regina

  2. The “imaginative” prayer exercise is an experience that builds a conscious awareness of God ever inviting us to be in communion as a “sacrament of the present moment”. Thank you for settling the waves for an encounter with the Beloved.

  3. May the “close encounter” renew the intimacy God desires for the people who walk in darkness, myself as a daughter of the first Eve. This Advent may I hold tight to the Mother of God, the Second Eve, who steps courageously forward for the adopted children whom she helps to carry and embolden.

  4. This is lovely! I will return to it during the coming week. Just looking at the picture brings Christ-like peace to me. What a beautiful painting, soft and welcoming as Jesus Himself is.

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