You and Advent – Make it personal.

In the spirit of Ignatian imaginative contemplation I would like to offer a reflection for Advent.  It is a deeply personal experience of mine while on a 12 day retreat in Azpeitia, Spain in 2008.  This experience has has a profound affect on  my spirituality.  The Retreat Center we stayed at was the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  He began the Jesuit Order and was the first Spiritual Director.  Much of what we do as  Spiritual Directors is modeled after his teachings, the Spiritual Exercises.

nativityReflect on the biblical scene of Mary and Joseph riding up to the inn, asking for a room.  You might read the nativity story in Scripture.  Put yourself in this scene as the inkeeper’s wife.  You hear the innkeeper tell them that there is no room, but they can have the stable.  This is upsetting to you, as the woman is obviously close to delivering her baby.  You go to the woman, carrying your best linens and offer to help her.

This special night, you help mid-wife the woman to deliver her baby.  Think about the conversation you might have with her.  She is very young.  She has been riding the donkey for a long time and is tired and no doubt, in a lot of pain.  She is probably very frightened.  However, you notice how peaceful she is – where does it come from?  How can she be so calm in the face of delivering her first child, in a dark, dingy stable so far from home.   Where does this strong faith come from in a girl so young?  You ask her about it.  What does she tell you?

As you spend the night with this young woman and her husband – you notice their love and concern for each other.  Do you have relationships that look similar to theirs?  What does the husband say to you?  What is he like?  Is his faith as strong as hers?  As him about his faith?

When morning comes and Mary is holding her child, she looks at you and thanks you for your assistance.  Then she leans forward and extends her baby to you.  Pause here for a moment, and ponder – do you immediately take and receive this child  – or is there any sort of jesus

As we all know, Mary will always lead us to her son.  And here she is offering him to you.  Do you accept and receive him in your arms, in your heart, in your life?  An important question.  If you accept this  invitation, you life will change forever.  You may be required to change old sinful ways in order to fully accept and hold this infant in your heart.  As you look into the eyes of this child, you know that he is looking right into your soul.  What does he see?

We’ll look at what he sees during Lent…………

For now, ponder and enjoy the wonder of this night!!!


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