After talking about preparation for a few days now I don’t want you to think that we are only preparing ourselves for specific moments of prayer. We are actually doing something much bigger. We are laying the foundation for a lifelong relationship with God. We are preparing the way to deeper and fuller communion with our God who made us.
One of the great Advent cries comes from John the Baptist, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!” (Mark 1:3). Why do we need to straighten the pathways? Because through sin and separation from God, the ways to our hearts have become twisted, overgrown and rocky. By daily coming to God in prayer, we slowly erode away the obstacles in the way. We trim back the thorns and plant flowers in their place. We reorient ourselves toward God rather than seeking fulfillment in other places. We become better able to seek God and receive what God is constantly desiring to give us – His complete, undivided and everlasting love.
Getting beyond the metaphor, I’m sure each one of us knows of a part of our path that presents an obstacle to our relationship with God. Maybe we enjoy to gossip. Perhaps we indulge in shopping or an overabundance of food. We might prioritize recreational activities over weekly Mass. We could lie to ourselves, believing we are too busy to pray, when in reality we mismanage or are wasteful with our time.
Choose one thing today that you want to work on for the rest of Advent. You can use your prayer time to reflect on what God is calling you to let go of or change. Remember, part of being prepared is being flexible enough to work with change rather than against it.
Another way you might focus your efforts today is through music. Regardless of how you feel about the musical Godspell, there is one simple song that is perfect for today’s experience. At the very start of the musical, John the Baptist enters and sings a simple song that is 7 words long: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” That’s it, over and over again. It can become mantra-like in your head if you let it (you probably have to slow the tempo down a little bit, but you’ll get it). Use those words, let them reverberate through your whole self during the day and see where God leads you in them.
***Have you paused yet today to pray the Sign of the Cross? If you have, awesome! If not, that’s OK. Maybe your best time of day hasn’t come yet. If it has come and gone, take a moment right now and reconnect with God. Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.