|Today’s reflection is excerpted from Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2019–20 by the Irish Jesuits.
The Presence of God
“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Here I am, Lord. I come to seek your presence. I long for your healing power.
“In these days, God taught me as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil” (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet, and I ask for the grace to hear those things and let them change me.
Help me, Lord, to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognize your presence in others.
Fill my heart with gratitude for the times your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
God speaks to each of us individually. I listen attentively to hear what he is saying to me. Read the text a few times, then listen.
“What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”
- In God’s view, there are no dispensable people—no people God is willing to lose, even with all the people who are already in the kingdom. Who are the people—or the type of people—I tend not to think about much? Who are the people I would not miss if they were out of the picture? Lord, develop in me a compassionate heart.
- Jesus speaks of the sheep going astray. It’s in the sheep’s nature to get lost without a shepherd to guide them. So, when Jesus refers to us going astray, he speaks of our tendency to go the wrong way without guidance. We need the shepherd, and the shepherd cares for us willingly. Thank you, Lord, for understanding my struggles and wrong turns, my need for help. I receive your help with thanksgiving.
Conversation requires talking and listening.
As I talk to Jesus, may I also learn to be still and listen.
I picture the gentleness in his eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me.
I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell him of my worries and my cares.
I will open my heart to him as I tell him of my fears and my doubts.
I will ask him to help me place myself fully in his care and to abandon myself to him, knowing that he always wants what is best for me.
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I have been given concerning the text.