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 Second Week of Advent, Cycle B, is based on Mark 1:1–8. The art is Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s St. John the Baptist Preaching.
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
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.
The Man Attracting a Crowd
Imagine you are walking along a tree-lined path in your favorite park. It’s a beautiful day with the sun shining in a clear blue sky. You are smiling as you feel the sun on your face and listen to the birds singing. But your heart is heavy. You need to make a decision, and you are unsure what to do. You begin praying. Dear God, please be with me this day. I’m not sure what I need to do. It feels so difficult. Help me see your will in my life.As you walk, you notice a large crowd of people. They are standing, sitting, and some have even climbed up the trees and are hanging from the limbs. As you approach, you strain to see what they are looking at. You try to see over the shoulders of those standing, but it’s hard. Finally, you notice a clear spot to see what’s happening. You have to stand on your toes, but you see an unusual man standing at the center of the scene. He is surrounded by the crowd, who are all facing him, listening to what he is saying. Something is drawing you to him. You gently move through the crowd who lets you pass. You find yourself standing at the edge of the circle in front of the man. He has a strange look about him. His clothes are torn and dirty. Why are so many people listening to him? You wonder.
As you stand there, you hear his voice, but the words are unclear to you. You try to listen harder, but you still cannot make out what he says. Then, as if he knew you were straining to hear him, his eyes look directly into yours. His eyes are dark and mysterious. There is something in his eyes that speaks to you more than the words he’s saying. You feel so safe in his gaze. A deep feeling of peace comes over you. He continues to look at you as you hear him say, “You are looking for the path to follow. Jesus has shown you the way. Follow him. Listen to his voice deep inside you. He walks the path with you.” His eyes continue to look at you. You feel the tears running down your cheeks. Thank you. Thank you, you say in a soft whisper. You move through the crowd, your heart lighter. Now you see the path before you.
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.
I expect this since they strengthen my relationship to Jesus throughout Lent and Advent. The art medium pulls me to Jesus’. By your precious words, you have powerfully blessed me and helped me to perceive so much more of the image.
I treasure these devotions grounded in artistic interpretations. Each one resonates within me for the remainder of the day. I look forward to these in Lent and Advent because they enhance my connection to Jesus. Art is the medium that draws me into intimacy with Jesus. You have blessed me mightily with these sacred words that help me notice so much more in the story of the picture. God bless each of you who works to create these magnificent wonders.