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Watches of the Night
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"Watches of the Night"

"People, Look East"

          "People, Look East" is one of the songs that is sung during the liturgical season of Advent in the Catholic Church ("People, look East, and sing today: Love, the Guest, is on the way"--The Oxford Book of Carols, 1928). Traditionally in the Catholic Church mass was always celebrated--the Sacrifice of the Lamb was offered--while facing east. The rising of the sun in the East was seen as a symbol of the Resurrection of Jesus and of His Second Coming. Also, the east was seen as a symbol of Heaven, and the Heavenly Jerusalem ("The Catholic Sanctuary and the Second Vatican Council", by Michael Davies, p.3). Intercessors pray, one might say, "facing east" in our hearts, facing the direction of the Crucified-Resurrected Lamb of God--Jesus--the Morning Star who has risen in our hearts.

          As we pray we beg Jesus to now "rise and shine" within the hearts of those for whom we pray: That a people who walk in darkness may see a great light, and on those who dwell in a land of gloom, a light may shine (see Isaiah 9:1). Intercessors "who hold within them the Christ who renews them and fills them with light" ("From a homily by a spiritual writer of the fourth century", LH, vol. III, p. 161) pray for others to receive the "light of life" (Jn. 8:12). Jesus' presence dispels darkness and offers hope. He is our "Hope Horizon". Intercessors must know Jesus personally and must know his fidelity: As certain 'as the dawn' is his coming! For, he is the 'sun that never sets'.

          At this time of year and throughout the winter months some people suffer from a type of seasonal depression known as S.A.D. (seasonal affect disorder) because of the shorter days, less sunlight, and longer intervals of darkness. Yet, there are many people who experience other types of S.A.D. (Struggling And Discouraged; Stressed And Disheartened; Suffering And Desperate; Spiritually Already Dead). There are various forms of spiritual-emotional darkness. For some, it may be the darkness of loneliness and isolation; for others, it may be the depression and grief that can accompany a deep personal loss; for others, it may be a heartache. Many people today in our society "dwell in darkness and the shadow of death" (Lk. 1:79) cast by the spirit of the world upon them. Intercessors, when praying for others, may experience some degree of 'spiritual-emotional darkness' as we beg God to give others the "light of life" (Jn. 8:12). We endure this for the sake of love.

          In taking on a human nature, Jesus has assumed the world in a direct relationship with God, and he has restored this relationship with God through his death and Resurrection. When we intercede for others, we are praying that they experience this direct relationship with God in their lives: An encounter of the immediacy of his presence. Jesus has entrusted the secret of his heart to us: That God is Love. Hence, all true love has its root in God. Jesus entered the world to speak this "one word of Love". He has come to save, to bring all of humanity into the communion of his Love. This communion is what intercessors desire all people to experience.

          "Love, the Guest, is on the way": A guest is often one who visits. Intercessors pray that "Love, the Guest, be "on the way" into people's hearts. Jesus is the the "Love", the "Guest", the "Way" as well as being the "the truth and the life" (Jn.14:6 ). God visits us to save us. Jesus, Love the Guest, desires to visit hearts everyday to offer an experience of Saving Love. The root meaning of the word, visit, is "to see". Jesus wants all people "to see", to experience, his Love: That they "come to know and to believe in the love God has for" them (see 1 Jn. 4:16). Love truly makes a heart a "home". Only God (who is Love) can make an intercessor's heart " a home" for others: "We will come to him and make our dwelling with him" (Jn. 14:23B). One effective way to pray for others this Advent is to image a person I am praying for being loved by Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as I sit in Eucharistic Adoration, or being loved by Jesus in the "home of my heart"--praying that they, too, can experience a "homecoming" grace within their own hearts.  

Questions:

1)   Do I know someone who is S.A.D. ? How am I praying for them?

2)   Have I had an experience of feeling 'spiritual-emotional darkness' while praying for someone to receive the "light of life"?

Scriptures:

Any scripture from the text; Rev. 3:20; Lk. 1:78-79; 1Jn. 4:7-11; 1Jn. 4:16-19

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

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