For almost two months, I have been focusing on what this is like as I reflected on Christ’s coming this Christmas. This mode of silent, almost “passive active-ness” was inspired by a visit from a friend.
Three weeks before the first Sunday of Advent, a good priest-friend of mine came to visit. He shared how he’d been feeling the call to pray to God for an hour a day.
I said, “That’s intense. How do you fill up that hour – do you pray the Rosary? Do a Gospel reflection followed by silent prayer?”
“I do nothing,” he replied, “except be there.”
“But what do you think about? Reflect on? What do you do for a full hour?” I prodded.
“I do nothing. I realize it’s not about me doing. But being. And giving God that space and that time.”
“What do you feel you getting out of it? Do you hear him talking to you?” I kept on.
“Well, for a while, nothing, really. I don’t really hear things or receive lights always. Maybe once something came to mind. But no, it’s not about that. I give God that time.”
I was floored. I’d been neglecting my weekly visits to the adoration chapel in our area because I felt like they weren’t “useful”. I was either too tired or it was too dark after work to visit a chapel. And most of the times, I just thought that if my mind were all over the place that day anyway, I might as well not go and waste God’s time and mine.
But here is my friend telling me, or I guess reminding me, that prayer is about being with God. I don’t have to do anything. In this practical, efficient world where the more you do, the more things you accomplish with your life, I am reminded of this fact: life is about being, not doing. How am I being human? How am I being Christian? How am I being a lover of God? My doing has to spill out of my being, without sacrificing it.
My friend only stayed for a few hours with me and my husband for dinner, but he left me with a renewed spirit and love for God.
God just wants me. And God just wants each one of us to be with Him this Christmas season, to give him that time. We don’t have to do anything, but be. How comforting is that!
CNS photo/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register: The Christ Child is pictured in a detail of a Nativity scene.