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 B, are based on Luke 1:26–38. The art is John Collier’s The Annunciation.
“All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘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 normal breathing. 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 time of 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.
Imagine you’re sitting on the sofa. It’s been a tiring day of meetings and appointments. You decide to sit on the sofa for a half an hour to catch your breath. As you sit there, you pick up your book from the coffee table. It’s about the saints. You’ve been reading one saint story a day during this season of Advent. You’re hoping to gain some insight into how these men and women lived and believed so you can bring that into your own life. But they all seem so heroic in a way you could never be. You open the book and allow it to take you anywhere. You settle in to read the section, but you hear someone at the door. I’m not expecting anyone, you think.
When you open the door, you see a young man standing there. He is looking down at the ground. He is holding his hands gently in front of him, his fingers wrapped around each other. Kids selling candy again, you think. “Can I help you?” you ask.
He looks up at you. A slight smile comes across his face. “I’ve come to share some news with you. Good news. Important news,” he says.
You are puzzled. “Do I know you?” you ask.
“No, you don’t. But I know you.”
This is feeling a little creepy, you think. You begin to back up into the house. “Don’t be afraid. Please.”
You’re not quite sure what’s happening. You want to go inside, but something keeps you standing here. “What do you want to tell me?”
The man continues to look down. Slowly he raises his head, smiles, and says, “God wants you to bring his voice into your world. In the place you work, in your home, wherever you go, God wants you to bring his news of hope to all.”
“Is this a joke?” you ask him. “Who put you up to this? My brother?”
He continues to look down with peace and calm. He raises his face, and your eyes meet. He smiles, turns, and walks away.
“Wait a minute. You didn’t answer my question. Who put you up to this?”
He turns, looks at you and points to his heart, and then disappears into the rows and rows of houses.
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.
Video image: The Annunciation by John Collier. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Hillstream.com