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BOOK OF THE MONTH: PREPARING FOR JESUS BY WALTER WANGERIN, JR.

Wangering cover 2Week 2: Let it be a “Yes!”

This month we’re reading Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr., a wonderful Advent devotional that will help you get ready for the coming of Christ.

In his reflection for December 11, Wangerin leads us to meditate on Mary, mother of Jesus. Mary joins four women named by Matthew as ancestors of Christ. Mary enters a sisterhood that we are called to enter, too.

In the passage below, Wangerin asks us to emulate Mary’s “Yes!” to the angel that announced Christ’s coming:

Mary, mother of our Lord, I wish I could be as pure a disciple as you were even from the beginning!

 

For you were invited to join a sisterhood–with Tamar and Bath-sheba–of sorrow and human suffering, since the child of your womb would draw the hatreds and the outrages of a scoundrel world.

 

And you said, “Yes.”

 

For you were asked to serve faithfully on behalf of others, like Rahab to protect a few for the sake of the many, like Ruth to turn disappointment into joy.

 

And you said, “Yes.”

 

. . .

 

For heaven itself was swelling within you, and you were the door. Not in terrible glory would he come, this Son of the Most High God. Not in the primal blinding light, not as the shout by which God uttered the universe, nor yet with the trumpet that shall conclude it, but through your human womb, as an infant bawling and hungry. By your labor, Mary, by the fierce contractions of your uterus, eternity would enter time. The angel said, Will you be the door of the Lord into this place?

 

And you said, “Yes.”

 

. . .

 

You, the first of all the disciples of Jesus, said, “Yes.”

What would you say?

Read more here.

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This month, FF will focus on the Advent season — a rich time of waiting, prayer, and expectation as we prepare for the coming of Christ. I’ve included some wonderful resources below. Let me know about others you’ve seen that you are finding helpful this year.

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I love the online, interactive Advent calendars I’ve been seeing in many places. Here are three of my favorites:

Advent Calendar 2017 – Best Books of 2017! via Englewood Review of Books (a new book every day)

2017 Advent Project via Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts (includes scripture, devotionals, art, video, and music each day)

Bodleian Libraries Advent Calendar via the Bodleian Libraries (a beautiful manuscript or work of art every day)

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Elsewhere, the web offers some lovely resources on journeying through the Advent season. Feast on these podcasts and articles/posts as you prepare for Jesus this year.

First Sunday of Advent 3-Minute Retreat via Loyola Press (take an online 3-minute retreat to begin the Advent season)

Finding Time for God in Advent via Chuck DeGroat (tapping into ancient rhythms and sacred story this season)

The journey to Christmas via Simon Parke (you do not have to put your wonder into words this Christmas – silence is okay)

The Liturgy of Waiting via Richella Parham (a Renovaré podcast)

The Dark Storm of Advent, a Humble Light of Christmas via Gwen Jorgensen (why the darkness at this time of lights?)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable 

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: CATHERINE OF SIENA ON THE JOURNEY OF ADVENT

Around 1377/78, the Italian mystic Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) wrote her spiritual treatise, The Dialogue. Throughout this treatise, she emphasizes Christ’s poverty and his humility in choosing to come to earth as a man. Catherine gives examples of Christ’s humility from major events in his life. Her reflection on Christ’s birth provides a wonderful way for us to journey through the Advent season.

In this section of text, God is speaking to the soul (and to us, the reader):

You see this gentle loving Word born in a stable while Mary was on a journey, to show you pilgrims how you should be constantly born anew in the stable of self-knowledge, where by grace you will find me born within your soul. You see him lying among the animals, in such poverty that Mary had nothing to cover him up with. It was winter, and she kept him warm with the animals’ breath and a blanket of hay. He is the fire of charity but he chose to endure the cold in his humanity.

I love the way this text refers to us as pilgrims–as God’s people, we are on a journey through this season of expectation. How is your pilgrimage through Advent going? Are you ready to be born anew?

Read The Dialogue here.

For Reflection:

Catherine of Siena - Advent

 

ADVENT PRAYER

An evening hymn for Advent from the 8th century:

Come, Sun and Savior, to embrace
Our gloomy world, its weary race,
As groom to bride, as bride to groom:
The wedding chamber, Mary’s womb.

At your great Name, O Jesus, now
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
All things on earth with one accord,
Like those in heav’n, shall call you Lord.

Come in your holy might, we pray,
Redeem us for eternal day;
Defend us while we dwell below,
From all assaults of our dread foe.

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BOOK OF THE MONTH: PREPARING FOR JESUS BY WALTER WANGERIN, JR.

Week One: What would you say?

Wangering cover 2One of my favorite Advent devotionals is Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom by Walter Wangerin, Jr. I thought I’d share it with you this year. In this book, Wangerin offers thirty-seven reflections for the Advent and Christmas seasons.

In his meditation for December 5, Wangerin leads us to reflect on how Zecharaiah, the father of John the Baptist, reacted when God announced that Zechariah’s wife would soon bear a son. He reacted in disbelief. He did not trust God.

In Zechariah’s doubt is a question for us. For we are expecting a son, too. The Son of Man is coming to us, not just at Christmas, but at the end of time. How do we react to the Lord’s promise that he is coming soon? Wangerin writes:

Friend, unto you the Lord says, “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20).

 

And what do you say to that promise? Do you by your unconscious behavior utter doubt? Does an earthbound vision deny the possibility? Are you scared to consider an end to the world?

 

“Can’t be.”

 

“Prove it.”

 

Sadly, the sign of our mistrust shall be the doubt itself, together with all the anxieties and suspicions and loneliness which doubt engenders. And these will last until we come to trust, or else until his coming comes to pass.

 

Jesus says, “I am coming soon!”

 

And how do you respond? Oh, let it be as a bride responds to the promise of the bridegroom, adorning yourself for his return, joyfully shouting with the Spirit, “Come!” (Rev. 21:2, 9; 22:17). Then your joy, your present beauty, your complete sense of assurance and belonging–these shall be signs of the Lord’s trustworthiness and of our trust, signs of his love until he comes in glory.

 

“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

Read Preparing for Jesus here.

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Friday Favorites are back this week! I hope you enjoy this round-up of posts on prayer, writing, and the contemplative life.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Feeling Frayed? Me Too. That’s Why We Need Advent via Tina Boesch (with the help of Annie Dillard, Tina explores why we need Advent in our wreck of a world)

The Image Advent Calendar via Image Journal (today, Image is launching an interactive Advent calendar!)

Marriage as a Spiritual Practice via Sarah Wells (what is the practice of marriage and how does it help us become more complete followers of Jesus?)

Gaining Me: A Plea for Self-Care via Cara Meredith (sometimes we need to advocate for ourselves as much as we advocate for others)

Rhythms of Gratitude in a Mass-Produced World via Ashley Hales (“how we can recover the simple art of remembering, nurturing small moments of sustained attention?”)

Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘Write What You Know’ Is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard via Emily Temple (lots of hot writing tips from noted author and Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro)

Is It Too Late to Start Writing After 50? via Julie Rosenberg (yes, you can begin a successful writing career later in life)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

ADVENT PRAYER

Advent begins this Sunday, December 3. To prepare, we are praying with the help of Henri Nouwen:

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do
seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things
look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways
long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy
seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness,
yet seeking the light.
To you we say,
“Come Lord Jesus!”

Source

WEEKLY PRAYER

A Thanksgiving Prayer:

This Thanksgiving, let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve one another and to walk together in God’s gracious world. With thankful hearts, we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.

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FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

I really like today’s finds — from walking a labyrinth to being more playful to overcoming doubt in our writing life. I hope you will read them and be enriched.

Friday Favorites will take a break for Thanksgiving next week. We’ll see you again soon!

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The Paradox of Getting Lost to be Found via Karen Gonzalez (what the practice of walking a labyrinth can teach us about our spiritual journey)

A Conversation with Marlena Graves via Anita Lustrea (listen to Marlena talk with Anita about passages from her book, A Beautiful Disaster)

The Lord is my Shepherd, it’s going to be okay (A Psalm for weary women) via Bronwyn Lea (really, I think just about everyone could use this psalm)

What Is Play? via Phil Steer (what does it mean to be more playful in our busy, oh-so-serious lives?)

Walking in Womanhood via Michelle Warren (hear what one woman has to say about the Ruby Woo Pilgrimage that has been going on this week)

What Flannery O’Connor’s College Journal Reveals via Karen Swallow Prior (see what O’Connor’s journal can teach us about doubt and faith in the writing life)

*****

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

WEEKLY PRAYER

A prayer for wholeness from Evelyn Underhill:

O Lord, penetrate those murky corners where we hide memories and tendencies on which we do not care to look, but which we will not disinter and yield freely up to you, that you may purify and transmute them: the persistent buried grudge, the half-acknowledged enmity which is still smouldering; the bitterness of that loss we have not turned into sacrifice; the private comfort we cling to; the secret fear of failure which saps our initiative and is really inverted pride; the pessimism which is an insult to your joy, Lord; we bring all these to you, and we review them with shame and penitence in your steadfast light.

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