Advent and Prayer

As we near the end of Advent, it seems like a good idea to look into how to tailor our prayer for Advent to prepare for Christmas as well as we can.

Focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary could help a great deal. We could pray the Rosary and meditate on passages of Scripture about the Blessed Virgin Mary. A particular emphasis on Mary before the birth of Jesus might be especially helpful. For instance somebody could meditate on the Annunciation or the Visitation by praying Lectio Divina with relevant passages in the Gospels. Moreover somebody could meditate on mentions or prefigurements of Mary in the Old Testament, as well, using Lectio Divina or by some other means. Esther in the Book of Esther would be an example of a prefigurement of Mary.

Furthermore it is helpful to meditate on the theme of exile and longing for the coming of the Messiah.

How would somebody go about doing that?

It might be helpful to meditate on a passage of the Old Testament about Christ, paying particular attention to how people might have longed for the coming of the Messiah in being aware of this passage. In doing that, they would have been longing for an end to their exile from the Messiah. In addition appropriate passages related to the Babylonian exile (if any) or passages from Isaiah about the suffering and sins of Israel might be helpful as well. It is possible to look at the theme of exile in other contexts as well such as our exile from Heaven and our exile from Christ in His Second Coming. We can even connect this theme of exile across different contexts (comparing exile from Heaven with exile from the Messiah for instance). It is even possible to meditate on “O Come O Come Emmanuel” (the lyrics and/or the music) and the theme of exile there. Meditating on mentions of exile or the coming of the Messiah in literature of mystics like St. John of the Cross or the Saints might be helpful as well. (St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross are helpful for that.)

It might even be possible to meditate on other suitable music for Advent. Moreover it might be helpful to try meditating on a picture related to the Annunciation, the coming of the Messiah, or something else that is pertinent to Advent.

Anyway I hope that you will find these ideas helpful as Advent comes to its conclusion!

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