Advent Prayer and Reconciliation
Thursday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m.
in Saint Mary’s Church
The Advent Season is an appropriate time of year to reflect on our lives in a Sacramental way, and to engage in
special moments of prayer to prepare for a new birth of
Christ in our hearts this Christmas season. It’s a time to
set our course for the New Year!
Let’s come together as a community of faith and give ourselves the gift of time to slow down and ponder the many
ways in which God blesses and sustains each of us in our
daily lives, and longs to grow closer to us with unconditional love.
At the conclusion of the Service, if you choose, you may
receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation privately with a
priest. We hope you will join us for this extraordinary
time of prayer.
We are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus.
Holding people’s faults against them often creates an impenetrable wall. But listen to Paul: “For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old order is gone and a new being is there to see. It is all God’s work” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Indeed, we cannot let go of old hurts, but God can. Paul says: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not holding anyone’s fault against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). It is God’s work, but we are God’s ministers because the God who reconciled the world to God entrusted to us “the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). This message calls us to let go of old hurts in the Name of God. It is the message our world most needs to hear.
– Henri Nouwen
Keep your eyes on the Prince of Peace, the one who doesn’t cling to his divine power; the one who refuses to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights and rule with great power; the one who says, “Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness” (see Matt. 5:3-11); the one who touches the lame, the crippled, and the blind; the one who speaks words of forgiveness and encouragement; the one who dies alone, rejected and despised. Keep your eyes on him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and who is rejected with the rejected. He is the source of all peace.
Where is this peace to be found? The answer is clear. In weakness. First of all, in our own weakness, in those places of our hearts where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid. Why there? Because there our familiar ways of controlling our world are being stripped away; there we are called to let go from doing much, thinking much, and relying on our self-sufficiency. Right there where we are weakest the peace which is not of this world is hidden.
In Adam’s name I say to you, “Claim that peace that remains unknown to so many and make it your own. Because with that peace in your heart you will have new eyes to see and new ears to hear and gradually recognize that same peace in places you would have least expected.”
– An excerpt from “Adam’s Story” by Henri Nouwen
Prayers by Anne Osdieck
Father in heaven,
I ran into you early this morning when I caught a glimpse
of the crescent moon through the kitchen window.
And in the news: everyone was donating food
to feed the hungry
Later I saw you when Al, a homeless man,
taught me once more about gratitude.
––when laughter diffused tension,
doctors and nurses went
without sleep caring
for covid patients.
God, thank you.
Keep me open to them. Amen.
By grace you have been saved.…
No place exists
where there is no grace.
Whether we are alone or with others,
in storms, churches, or beaches,
you are there, O pure love.
Pour that grace
Use us to spread your grace and love
or on deathbeds, or
at all the places in between. Amen.