Moments of Mercy: Prepare For Mercy

moment-mercy-1advent-tPractice “staying awake” to God’s presence and mercy this Advent. Try these three spiritual practices suggested by Bishop Robert Barron: Spend some time in the presence of the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration. As you keep vigil there, bring to Christ some problem or dilemma that you have been fretting over, and pray, “Lord, I’m waiting for you to solve this, to show me the way out, the way forward. I’ve been running, planning, worrying, but now I’m going to let you work.” Then, throughout Advent, watch attentively for signs as patience allows mercy and grace to flow. While praying before the Eucharist, allow your desire for the things of God to intensify; allow your heart and soul to expand. Pray, “Lord, make me ready to receive the gifts you want to give,” or even, “Lord Jesus, surprise me.”

A second—and more offbeat—suggestion: Do a jigsaw puzzle. Find one of those big, complex puzzles with thousands of small pieces; one that requires lots of time and plenty of patience, and make of it an Advent project. As you assemble the puzzle think of each piece as some aspect of your life: a relationship, a loss, a failure, a great joy, an adventure, a place where you lived, something you shouldn’t have said, an act of generosity. So often the events of our lives seem like the thousand pieces of a puzzle lying incoherently disconnected before us. As you patiently put the puzzle together, meditate on the fact that God is slowly, according to his own plan and purpose, ordering the seemingly unrelated and incongruous events of our lives into a picture of great beauty.

Finally, take advantage of traffic jams, annoying lines or anything that makes you wait, and let this truth sink in: “Whatever happens to you in the course of a day, for good or ill, is an expression of God’s will.” Instead of cursing your luck or banging on the steering wheel in frustration, see the wait as a spiritual invitation. Take the moment for a merciful prayer for those who are stressed, exhausted, disappointed or depressed. Use the time to simply be aware of God’s mercy toward you this Advent.

For more Advent practices, try using one of these Advent Calendars from Loyola Press :