Advent

Fr Peter Gallagher SJ reflects on the first week of AdventThe night is almost over, it will be daylight soon [1].  Advent draws us towards the light.  Let us arm ourselves and appear in the light [2].  What is this light?  It is the light of Christ.  Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ [3].In the holy season of Advent we allow ourselves to be equipped not only to see the light but to live in it.  Let us walk in the light of the Lord [4]. The light of Christ...
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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have dedicated 2020 to be a year of focus on the Bible and ‘The God Who Speaks’. The prologue from John’s Gospel is read on Christmas day and famously speaks about ‘the Word’, and so we will be using these weeks of Advent, which begin the Year of the Word, to prepare to hear John’s familiar text in a new way. How do the scriptures for the Sundays of Advent invite us to a deeper engagement with what John will tell us about ‘the Word’ on...
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Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. On the Sunday before Christmas we are all of us hoping to be filled with the Holy Spirit. What is the Spirit saying to us as we enter the last week of Advent in the year of Our Lord 2018?  The Spirit is urging us, moving us, to recognise our Saviour who is about to be born.  With the help of the Holy Ghost we are to know the One who has been so long promised, so long looked forward to, yet who can somehow, even by his friends, be missed,...
In the final stage of the Examen, having reviewed the recent events of our lives to see how God has already moved us, we imagine, with increased hope, how we might move with God and for God in the time to come. Frances Murphy concludes our Advent Examen by reflecting on how this mirrors our Advent experience.  Read the guide to the Examen on which the format of our Advent Examen is based.Advent Examen: 1. ThanksgivingAdvent Examen: 2. Prayer for the lightAdvent Examen:...
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As we reach the fourth stage of our Advent Examen, the focus is on sorrow, but it is not about wallowing or self-condemnation, as Stephen Hoyland emphasises. The preceding steps of the Examen have created a context of gratitude in which our sorrow, when we engage with it properly, can create space for us to receive God’s love and can lead us to new ways of loving.  Read the guide to the Examen on which the format of our Advent Examen is based.Advent Examen: 1. ThanksgivingAdvent...
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Examining your own experience might sound like a process of which you ought to be in control, but doing so in the Examen is not about trying to tell your own story. Instead, says Rob Marsh SJ, ‘we ask to hear a little of God’s story being woven from the fabric of our life.’ In third stage of our Advent Examen, take up St Ignatius’s invitation to ask an account of your soul.  Read the guide to the Examen on which the format of our Advent Examen is based.Advent Examen: 1. ...
Telling the story of the Christmas Goose
Farm Street Church this week witnessed a joyful start to the Advent season as it hosted the Jesuit Refugee Service's Advent service. The readings, which included both traditional scripture and poetry, read by JRS staff, volunteers and refugees, gave the packed church plenty to reflect upon.The service was led by Fr Damian Howard SJ, who asked in his welcome that we "think of those who are far from home, missing their loved ones, and make ourselves present to them as God makes himself present to...
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The second stage of our Advent Examen is ‘Prayer for the Light’, in which we ask to be able to see what is truly important in our own lives, says Dushan Croos SJ. That prayer can have a particular feel to it in a season that asks us to look backward and forwards. ‘The light for which we wait in Advent illuminates not only the past of the chosen people with their Saving Lord, but also illuminates the new way by which he is about to offer salvation to all women and men as well as to all of...
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Fr Damian Howard SJ preached at the JRS UK Advent Service about refugee wisdom which knows the truth about human life.There was an Advent party recently in the East End of London. Four random locals found themselves in conversation about the dreadful fix the world was in. Prudently they avoided Brexit, but they didn’t hesitate to bemoan the natural catastrophes afflicting so many corners of the globe, the persecution of entire peoples for their religion or their ethnicity, and, of course,...
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St Ignatius of Loyola, in his Spiritual Exercises, encouraged a form of prayerful reflection on our experiences and feelings, known as the Examen, as a way of discovering how God is at work in our lives. Thinking Faith invites you to let this Ignatian way of praying guide you in this season of preparation, as we undertake an Advent Examen. Ruth Holgate helps us to take the first step of the Examen, ‘Thanksgiving’. Why is it important for us to say ‘thank you’ to God?  Read the guide to the...

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