Advent Retreat 2011: The Second Week of Advent

If you are following along with our Advent retreat, this is the place for brief reflections to jump-start your week. Please share your retreat experience with others here throughout the week in the comments.

The Second Week of Advent: Prepare Yourself for the Lord’s Coming.MaryPetition: Ask for the grace to prepare the way for the Lord in one’s own heart, in the family, in the parish, and in the human community.When the Spirit hovers over our hearts, we have two choices: to resist and close down or to give our unconditional consent for God’s dream to come to birth in our lives. There is no halfway position. It’s not possible to be only a little bit pregnant.

—Excerpted from 2012: A Book of Grace-Filled Days by Margaret Silf

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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. Waiting. Advent is about waiting. Isaiah 40:31 says, “those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint.”
    Mary must have known this kind of waiting for the Lord. This waiting prepared her for the moment when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and proclaimed she would be the mother of the Son of God. It is hard to imagine the scene without imagining how Mary’s waiting must have prepared her to receive this news with strength. She does not seem faint or weary with the news. Instead she responds in obedience, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
    I don’t wait very well. Too often my waiting is consumed with anxiety and impatience. I need to learn a posture of waiting that makes me attentive and prepared to receive and respond to the Lord in strength. This week Mary is my example!

  2. The reading for the Second Tuesday of Advent, Isaiah 40:25-31. “[Yahweh] gives strength to the weary…but those who hope in Yahweh renew their strength…They run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire.”
    Wow! He’s speaking to me today.
    Due to a lack of response of our parish to an initiative of our Liturgy Committee, I have just about decided to chuck the whole community thing. I have long been a strong advocate of community and worked for years to build it up wherever we’ve been. We’re now in a new parish (for eight years) in a rural area. A small parish, and for anything to happen everyone needs to pitch in. We haven’t been able to get anyone to pitch in to a new welcoming ministry. I had just about decided to walk away from anything to do with the parish beyond Mass, maybe even the church, disillusioned as I am by the Roman Missal III.
    But Isaiah’s words remind me that I can’t. I need to stop measuring the validity of our efforts by response, and realize that the effort we give is what it’s all about. Our work, I must believe, is a response the Lord’s call, and that’s what’s important – responding and reaching out. The Lord didn’t put us here to be gratified. God put us here to love. I need to stop giving in to weariness and ask the Lord for strength and the grace of stamina – physical, emotional and spiritual. This is Advent and Christ is coming and is with us. I need to remember his loving presence, and remember that I am wearying too. Maranatha.


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