Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent: Prayer as Preparation for the Coming of the Lord

The Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne
We are coming to a close on the first week of Advent.  I thought I would share some insights I had preparing (pun not intended) for an Advent mission focused on learning from Mary how to wait for Jesus.

Most images of the Annunciation have Mary kneeling and praying when the angel Gabriel appears.  This is most curious since Luke never mentions either prayer or kneeling.  He just says, “he came to her,” (Lk. 1:28).  These artists’ imaginations are guided by the Tradition of the Church, which says Mary was a woman who was often in prayer.  From whom do you think Jesus learned how to pray?  Especially in the Gospel of Luke, one can read Jesus going off and praying.  It seems likely that she could have been praying at the time Gabriel appeared. 

Gabriel came to her to deliver the message that she would be the mother of the “Son of the Most High God,” (Lk. 1:32).  She was not prepared for his presence nor his message.  He came to her suddenly and without warning, and startled her so much so he had to say, “Do not be afraid,” (Lk. 1:30).  Yet, in the images the Church has given us she is praying, humbly kneeling before the God she cannot see.  Her prayer prepared her heart to say, “Let it be done unto me according thy will,” (Lk. 1:38).  Prayer prepares our hearts to say yes to God, to answer his call.  I heard my call to the priesthood in prayer, but that is another story.  Indeed, prayer should a great part of our day.  It builds up for us treasure in heaven.  It prepares us for the coming of the Lord, which will come like a thief in the night.


Fides Quarens Intellectum said...

Hey have you guys read or reviewed Dawn of the Messiah? It's a GREAT Advent book by Edward Sri. Short read and very good for meditations.

Colonel4God said...

No, if you would like to let me know. The book is on a long list of I own but have not yet read.