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Watches of the Night
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"Watches of the Night"

"Advent Interiority"

          Advent offers an invitation to contemplative intercessors to enter into the "desert of our hearts" through the disciplines of prayer, penance, silence and solitude. On this second Sunday of Advent, we hear of the desert in The Gospel of St. Luke:

"The word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert...A voice of one crying out in the desert..." (Luke 3: 2,4).

Like John, we are invited to humbly welcome God's word and allow it to raise up a prophetic, heart cry from within us to humanity.

          In the biblical tradition the desert is the place of the birth of the true heart--a heart opened to, and docile to, the will of God--a heart more reflective of the mature heart of Jesus. This true heart is also a silent heart, a loving heart. Hence, the desert is the place of conversion--the place of letting go of all else for the sake God's word, God's will. In the desert the new birth takes place; for, "He will[s] to give us birth by the word of truth" (James.1:18). When God's word reaches the inner depths of the heart, it transforms the heart; for, God's word is a word of 'searing' love and truth that bears within it an intense, dynamic animating force: "Is not my word like fire, says the LORD" (Jr. 23:29); "A word that will rouse" (Is. 50:4). This force raises up a "desert" heart cry from within the heart of an intercessor like "a woman in labor" (Is. 42:14).

          The desert is the place where we remember what we really hunger and thirst for. We discover the true spiritual hunger and thirst of our hearts for "the hidden manna" of God's word, and the "water from the Rock", the holy Spirit. For, the desert experience transforms one's hunger and thirst to become like the hunger and thirst of Jesus, who is our desert! (see Dictionary of Biblical Theology, p.123). The desert is the place where the God of holiness calls each of us by name. Here we come to know the One who sees the inner beauty of our hearts. "In the desert I make a way", says the Lord (Is. 43:19). It is the way of holiness, the ongoing conversion into the image and maturity of Jesus. Here in the desert interiority of our hearts contemplation and intercession, "the two wings of the great eagle" (Rev. 12:14), begin to grow.

          Before the desert can be the place of mission it must be the place of communion with God--the place of encounter and intimacy. It is the place where total trust and authentic love for God blossom: "Her deserts he shall make like Eden" (Is. 51:3). Here we learn to lean full weight upon God, our Lover (see Songs 8:5D). Because the desert is the place of communion it is also the place of spiritual combat against the enemy who seeks to separate us from the God who is love. Here the battle for obedience is waged with the uplifted "arms and hands" of the heart. Here one learns to hear God's promises before they are fulfilled (see Amos 3:7) and see God act before the reality comes to pass (see Is. 52:8). Here, a faith begins to sprout that believes in God's miracles and lives in the realm of the seemingly impossible! Our Lady of the desert, pray for us!

Questions:

1)   What has been my experience so far of the "desert" of Advent?

2)   What scripture verses from the mass readings are engaging my heart so far during Advent?

Scriptures:

Any scripture from the text; Is. 43: 20-21; Hos. 2:16-17; Jr. 2:2;

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-EIGHT, TIME TO EXPIATE"

PLEASE VISIT "THIS WEEK'S BURNING ISSUES" ON THE "EVENTS" PAGE

Remember that we must be a praying Church: Am I praying for our Church and our world?

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