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ISBN 1. Advent—Prayers and devotions. Christmas—Prayers and devotions. Catholic Church--Prayers and devotions. Bible--Devotional literature. Catholic Church. Lectionary for Mass U. Dedicated to my wife, Pamela, whose favorite color is purple, and whose favorite sight is the soft glow of candles. She is the one with whom I hope to spend every Advent and Christmas. Christians everywhere are rediscovering the rich potential of this ancient practice. The teachings of bishops and spiritual masters have encouraged the practice of lectio divina for all the people of God.

In my first book in this series, Conversing with God in Scripture: A Contemporary Approach to Lectio Divina, I pondered this spiritual tradition and explored ways in which this ancient art could be cultivated by people in our day. I reflected on the movements—lectio, meditatio, oratio, contemplatio, and operatio—and suggested ways that readers might incorporate lectio divina into their lives as disciples.

Conversing with God in Advent and Christmas: Praying the Sunday Readings with Lectio Divina

I concluded with a few examples of how selected passages of Scripture could be taken up in lectio divina and lead the reader to interior transformation. A favorable response to this first book prompted The Word Among Us Press to ask me to continue this approach to lectio divina with the Lectionary readings of the liturgical cycle.

What follows is a consideration of the tradition of lectio divina during Advent and Christmas and an exposition of the Sunday readings of the Lectionary based in the five established movements of the practice. As in the previous book, I have created a work that can be used either privately or in groups. Individuals may use it for their 9. It is ideal for liturgical ministers, catechists, RCIA teams, catechumens and candidates, those involved in adult faith formation, and all in the parish who are engaged in spiritual growth.

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How to Use This Book If you choose to use this book for your own personal growth, simply spend some quiet time during each week of the Advent and Christmas seasons with the Scripture readings of the upcoming Sunday. As in my previous book, Conversing with God in Lent, I have selected the first reading and the Gospel, as these readings are designed to relate to and complement one another. The five movements of lectio divina will guide you through the reflective process. Realize that this book is only a guide—you should feel free to follow as many or as few of the suggestions as you choose.

You will be led to reflect on whatever the Holy Spirit brings to your mind and heart after each Scripture passage. Groups should meet once a week during this liturgical season to reflect together on the Members should read the first two chapters of this book in advance and, if they wish, may reflect on the questions of the meditatio at home before coming to the group session.

A facilitator guides the group through each step of lectio divina, honoring each movement with the attention it requires. Most of the discussion will center on the questions of the meditatio, but the group should feel free to decide which questions to consider and should not be compelled to discuss them all. Prepare the Way If you often feel like your December calendar is more of a frenzied list of details to accomplish rather than an Advent calendar of holy anticipation, you might consider taking up the practice of lectio divina during these days.

If the pre-Christmas rush is not balanced by the sacred waiting of Advent, you may find yourself physically and emotionally exhausted and spiritually empty by the time Christmas arrives. Make time to pray and listen to God in his word. As he changes your heart, you will experience the peaceful joy of the Incarnation. Stephen J. These special seasons are all about expectation—waiting for and anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ. This is also the purpose of lectio divina. We listen carefully to Scripture with expectation, confident that God is going to do something new in our lives through our encounter with his word.

Through our prayerful listening to the sacred text, we expect to meet Christ there. We trust that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures will also move in our hearts to transform us and create us anew. The goal of our practices during Advent is to deepen our longing for Jesus, for his coming into our hearts and for his glorious coming at the end of time. We prepare to celebrate the great mystery of the Incarnation that is at the heart of Christian faith. This interior longing is the source of all prayer, and lectio divina cultivates that deep desire for Christ.

During Advent we hear the stories of our ancestors as they longed for the coming of the Messiah. We learn to approach Scripture with a receptive and expectant spirit. We realize that our lives are a response to the love that God has first shown us in Christ.

Like our ancestors in Israel who longed for the Messiah, and like the early Christians who longed for the return of Christ in glory, we heighten our yearning during this season. The future that this season urges us to focus on is the new creation, the new Jerusalem, the kingdom of God in its fullness. In that coming future, war will be a thing of the past, and there will be no more hunger, sickness, poverty, or death. But the purpose of our looking to the future and remembering the past is to deepen the quality of our living in the present.

Matthew When we wait with expectant hope for the coming of the Lord in glory and remember with grateful joy the coming of Jesus incarnate in our world, we realize more intensely the sacredness of the present. In every moment we are coming to a richer and fuller future when Christ will make all things new. But also at every moment, as we place our hope in Christ and live in joyful anticipation, Jesus is coming to us.

The coming of Christ is not just in the past or in the undetermined future; it is right here today. He is continually being born in our midst and transforming his Church ever more into his body in the world. The Season of Lighting the Darkness In the late autumn of the year, as the days become short and the world grows dim, the peoples of the earth lighten the darkness.

In ancient times, participants in the pagan Yule celebrations lit oil lamps in the darkness. Christians light the candles of the Advent wreath as a symbol of increasing expectation. People of many religious persuasions light their homes and their cities The light of December is not flashing or blinding; it is the glow of lamps and candles that brighten the darkness, the light that comes before the rising dawn. The whole world awaits a time of peace and justice in the world; all people dream of a future in which all creation is whole and complete. And we know that the God of all creation and of all the nations is the source of that trusting optimism.

For some people, this holiday season is a time of delight, time off from school and work for happy gatherings of family and friends, for giving and receiving gifts. For others, it is a dreaded time as they approach the holiday with memories of those with whom they can no longer celebrate or with worry about how they will pay for the gifts and meals they want to provide.

For the friendless, the homeless, the imprisoned, and the abused, the season may arouse bitter regrets or painful comparisons.

Conversing with God in Advent and Christmas by The Word Among Us - Issuu

Christ is our light. Whatever our situation, the Scripture readings of this season help us to adopt a stance of faithful waiting. In quiet stillness, we attune our hearts to watch for him. Truly our hope is in the Lord. In silence we ponder the great mystery of our salvation. As Christians living in the midst of our secular and consumer society, we observe this season as a countersign to the shallow pleasures offered to us by the world.

We must take care that our busyness does not distract us lest we be caught unaware and unprepared for what God wishes to do within us and among us. For most of Christian history, before the age of the printing press and electric lighting, people read the sacred text of Scripture with the light of oil lamps. The handwritten pages were often a word of art, offering doorways into the mysteries that the text revealed. Even today our printed Bibles can express to us the mystery of Christ that lies inside the sacra pagina.

The words and images that emerge from the texts of this season offer entryways leading to the one who comes in the midst of darkness to be with us. The enlightening Spirit who dwells within these inspired words and who has illuminated the minds and hearts of our ancestors before us also moves within us to lead us to Christ. As a poet, he uses vivid and powerful images to convey his message, and his writings have an extraordinary literary quality.

Guiding our way through Advent as we prepare for Christmas, Isaiah invites us to look forward to the coming of the Messiah and to prepare the way of the Lord.

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He urges us to tear down the mountains of our misdeeds and fill in the valleys of our injustices and to make the way straight for our God. Eight centuries before the time of Jesus, Isaiah anticipated the coming of the ideal king. The young maiden will bear a son This sprouting shoot from the stump of Jesse will judge the poor with justice and decide fairly for those who are afflicted. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, and he will decisively change the course of human history.

Conversing with God in Advent and Christmas

He offered comfort when times seemed most discouraging and the image of dawning light in the darkest of times. He was the first to clearly articulate that the God of Israel was also the God of all people. The other great prophetic figure of this season is John the Baptist. His distinctive voice is clear and bold, calling the people to repentance. He proclaims the message that those anticipating the Messiah must renew their lives to get ready. John the Baptist went out into the desert of Judea to listen.

During this season, we, too, can carve out a little desert in the midst of our activities. John concludes the Old Testament messianic longing and initiates the New Testament recognition of the Messiah. It walks readers through the four steps of lectio divina and places it in historical context. The seven guided meditation sessions provide readers with the following pre-selected readings: Isaiah "Seek the Lord" ; Exodus "Exodus from slavery to freedom" ; Ben Sira "True friendship" ; Luke "Mary's song" ; Mark "Bartimaeus meets Jesus" ; Matthew "Depend on God" ; and 1 Corinthians "Love".

The full text of each reading is provided right in the journal. In addition, the introduction walks readers through the process of lectio divina using Psalm 23, and a list of additional Scripture texts is provided in the back of the book so that readers can choose their own readings for the seven blank guided journal entries. The colorful, beautifully designed interior provides a warm and welcome space for reflection and prayer. We are conducting a physical inventory count between October 26 and October During this time you may continue to order online.

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