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Watches of the Night
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"Watches of the Night"

"Upon Your Walls"

          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:

"Willful Attention To Christ's Heart"

For, the 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 and there 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:

"Children 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:

"I beg 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:

"I will 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).

What does 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:

"Upon your 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)

Questions:

1)   What does God want to say to my heart personally this Advent season?

2)   How does God want me to pray for our Church, our nation and our world at this urgent time?

Scriptures:

Any scripture from the text; Ps. 16:7; Ps. 59:10; Ps. 63:7B-8; Ps. 130:5

PLEASE BE UNITED WITH US IN PRAYER BY VISITING "THIS WEEK'S BURNING ISSUES" UNDER THE EVENTS PAGE

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-SEVEN, TIME TO STORM HEAVEN"

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