As we enter into the season of Advent
this Sunday, in the Gospel from St. Mark Jesus exhorts his disciples and us: "Be
watchful! Be alert!...Watch!" (Mark 13:33,37). We begin this new liturgical
season with the punctuation marks of Advent. We note three exclamation points
as Jesus warns his disciples to remain spiritually vigilant for his second
coming. There is a sense of "Advent urgency"--a call to be "Advent alert". The
season of Advent summons us to our hearts. As intercessors perhaps we can see
the word, watch, as an acronym:
To Christ's Heart"
heart of the Lamb is "mission control" for intercessors. With the spiritual
eyes of faith we are called to be fixed upon the heart of Jesus within us: "For
it is in the true heart that he dwells andthere he speaks" (Liturgy
of the Hours, vol. IV. 'From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot', p. 231).
We live in the time after the "night
watch" of the first coming of Jesus when "there were shepherds in that region
living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock" (Luke
2:8): "Like watchmen of the fields" (Jr. 4:17) We now live in the time
of the "night watch" of his second coming. This 'in between' time after the
first coming of the Lamb and before his second coming is the time of the
Church; it is the time of intercession and travail in the Spirit. Advent calls
intercessors interior to the "watchtower of our hearts", attentive to the voice
of the prophetic Spirit of Jesus. For we are:
of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of
darkness. Therefor, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert
and sober". (1 Thes. 5:5-6).
Living as we do in a time of ever
deepening moral darkness--a "nighttime" of vast sin, unbelief, worldliness,
division, unforgiveness, etc. it is imperative that our "heart lamps" never go
out.With faith-vision and protected by
the armor of light--"the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet that is
hope for salvation" (see 1 Thes. 5:8)--we battle to remain spiritually alert
waiting upon the "walls with precious stones" (Tobit 13:16) to hear the voice
of the Lamb: "My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me
keeps vigil for you" (Is. 26:9).Again, as St. Bernard reminds us:
you, my brothers, stand upon our watchtower, for now is the time for battle.
Let all our dealings be in the heart, where Christ dwells" (LH, vol. IV, p.
231). The Prophet, Habakkuk, declares:
stand upon my watchtower and take up my post on the ramparts, keeping
watch to see what he will say to me" (Hb. 2:1).
God want to say to my heart personally this Advent season? How does God want me
to pray for our Church, our nation and our world at this urgent time? For whom
or for what does God desire me to pray this season of Advent?
Intercessors are being gathered and
trained to be stationed strategically by God "upon the spiritual heights" as
sentinels of his saving love:
walls, O Jerusalem, I have stationed watchmen; Never, by day or by night
shall they be silent. O you who are to remind the LORD, take no rest and
give no rest to him, until he re-establishes Jerusalem" (Is. 62:6-7).
God wants us
to "keep him busy" this Advent season. He wants us to thunder in prayer with
boldness and confidence, equipped with prophetic pleading power, persevering
until the "dawn from on high shall break....to shine on those who dwell in
darkness and the shadow of death" (LH, Luke 1:78,79).For, our world is in dire need of coming back
to the Heart of God and to holiness:
"Oh, that you would rend the
heavens and come down" (Is. 63:19)
does God want to say to my heart personally this Advent season?
does God want me to pray for our Church, our nation and our world at this
Any scripture from the text; Ps. 16:7; Ps. 59:10; Ps.
63:7B-8; Ps. 130:5
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