In the Hours of Prayer: A Bit of Advent's Kindling

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"In the Hours of Prayer: A Bit of Advent's Kindling" by Kimberly Nettuno (CatholicMom.com)

Fire, by adyna (2004) via Freeimages.com.

I still consider myself a relatively new Catholic, even having found my home in the Church some 13 years ago. The first Mass I ever attended, and the first time I had ever stepped inside a Catholic Church (actually any church except a small Baptist church I participated in a handful of times with my grandparents), was Ash Wednesday.

As I convey this, the listener hesitantly gasps, “Oh my, what did you think?” My response will forever be the same: an instantaneous swooning. I fell in love with the pageantry; there was a fairy tale quality to what I experienced that will linger in the enchanted halls of my heart for the rest of my life.

The romance continues; during the times of Advent and Lent, I seem to fall in love all over again. Likened to that of suddenly recognizing my husband and realizing why I fell in love in the first place, it is a time of rekindling, an opportunity to prepare that internal fire that at times may wane. It is these extended moments, these gifts of time, that replenish the foundation of this blaze, so it burns brightly.

Our relationship with the Lord is like any other relationship; it requires continued care, attention – kindling. During these seasons, with hope, we rekindle the fires ignited by devotion. I am continuously in awe of how others accomplish this cherished task, and I always try to take some tinder with me, to be fed by each encounter.

There are times when I hear or read about the devotion some possess and would be lying if I said I wasn’t at all envious. I find myself wondering who has the time? How do they do all that? These negative thoughts are contrary to God’s desire for us, His children. He speaks to each of us in His way and His time; we can, then simply be available to listen. Advent and Lent are celebrations dedicated to remembering to be attentive by preparing (perhaps even healing) an open heart. However, we can employ this gift repeatedly.

I began this Advent praying the Liturgy of Hours. Now, let me just say, I don’t do so on The Hours, which begs the omission of the word. The reasoning is intentional because it started (and almost ended) with, “How could I possibly be that disciplined?”

This question became extremely apparent at my ambition’s inception when on The Hours, the phone would suddenly unceasingly ring, or my children needed immediate, lengthy help with their studies, and the reasons seemed to continue. In my frustration, I briefly surrendered to the adverse thought.

I think sometimes the Holy Spirit has to clock me upside the head! I imagine God smiling as the knock comes by way of some silly resolution. In this case, a hurling awareness that I don’t have to pray on The Hour – all hours are available for prayer.

Up to this point, I prayed daily, but I desired to give it a bit of a kick in the pants this Advent. I started to pray with a focus on setting aside more than just the morning and evening. Intention began with prayer around lunch and escalated (not quickly, I’m a slow learner) into several prayers daily. My connection to the Lord flourished and what was, at first, desire quickly blossomed into burning passion. Hours pursued opportunity rather than opportunity soliciting hours. I realized how others recover this valuable commodity of time – they allow it to discover them.

The next question I petitioned was the “How,” defined in my head as with what resources would I accomplish this plan. Again, at first, I was quite rigorous, using a guided liturgical prayer, but this quickly matured into letting go and granting the Spirit’s guidance. I became drawn to one prayer or another, one passage or another, one book or another – and it all materialized into poetry and song.

So, this is what I hope to offer, a bit of Advent’s kindling:

Any hours recovered by the Lord and discovered by the Holy Spirit grant the opportunity to rekindle a fire’s hunger to burn brightly. We only need pray.


In the Hours of December 20th

It seems I forever find in

the trivial things I do

to be those places

most often touched by You.

I’ve not been anyone

worthy to proclaim,

for I am no one,

simply a name.

 

Let me see Your face, O God.

Allow me by Your presence to be awed.

Let me rejoice in You, O God.

Allow a burning heart to Your joy respond.

 

Oh, My child,

day unto day

My message conveyed;

night unto night

awaits the knowledge

I wish to relay.

Not one single word

has gone unfulfilled;

in those ordinary tasks

it is I who appeared.

 

Let me see Your face, O God.

Allow me by Your presence to be awed.

Let me rejoice in You, O God.

Allow a burning heart to Your joy respond.

 

Your voice in prayer

be not startling or great,

for the smallest of tears

to This longing well, hydrates.

A spirit must long

for the joy it desires;

know that I will always rejoice

in being what you require.

 

Let me see Your face, O God.

Allow me by Your presence to be awed.

Let me rejoice in You, O God.

Allow a burning heart to Your joy respond.

 

O Lord, I give You

consent to misunderstanding;

I know holding Your hand

I will never feel abandoned.

O Lord, I give You

this open heart to employ;

I know emptied into Your hand,

it will eternally respond to joy.


The Readings That Inspired The hours

A Little Daily Wisdom, St. Theresa of Avila

Jesus Calling: December 20, 2016, Sarah Young

Psalm 19: 2 – 7

1 Kings 8: 56 – 58

Reflection inspired by Origen: Greek theologian (ca. 184-253)

Diary of St. Faustina: # 20 – 21

Our Daily Bread: December 20, 2016: Julie Ackerman Link

 

Copyright 2016 Kimberly Nettuno

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About Author

Kimberly Nettuno posts her poetry and reflections at www.becomingsound.me. When not writing, she enjoys working on her farm in North Georgia where she makes certified organic goodies for her critters and the surrounding, local farms. She shares this life with her husband, three home-schooled daughters, two dogs, two cats, three horses, eight goats, some two dozen chickens, and thousands of bees.

1 Comment

  1. Oh my goodness, Kimberly! You live near me! Maybe we can meet someday! We attend church in Blairsville, GA. I love your writing. You had me with the picture of the fireplace. I wonder if you and I had the same pondering of kindling around our own homes and hearths. I’ve recently discovered sadness when our wood stove fire burns out. It’s better if I retire to bed before it burns out. I become so sad. I see the parallels of God and my relationship to Him and my neighbor in the elements and the changing liturgical seasons.

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