Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 8 December 2020
In today’s reflection, Waiting in Joyful Hope author Michelle Francl-Donnay reflects on Luke 1:28b, the Merode Altarpiece, Alice Walker’s poetry, and Dorothy Day’s thoughts on making room for Christ.
In the comments section below, share your own response to today’s scripture, Francl-Donnay’s reflection, or the accompanying meditation prompt.
Surprises frightened me as a child. I didn’t trust them as a young adult. I wanted road signs for my life, yet longed to live to do God’s will. Submitting to surprises is mandatory for the latter. But, how to discern God’s will? St. Ignatius of Loyola gave us the Examen. Learning to sense God’s presence at any moment of the day became infinitely easier after I practiced his method of prayer. Not familiar with it? Watch and be surprised! https://youtu.be/KB2BweO8Dto
God surprises me when people in my life go out of their way to show their love for me: when my brother invited a priest from my childhood to my wedding, when my nephew in response to my request for prayers went to my parents graves and prayed with them for me, when Joe my husband each night comes out to dry dishes. If people can love me that much, imagine how much God loves us all.
I reflected on Mary carrying Jesus during her pregnancy. She carried him for us and to us. We also are called to carry Jesus to other people. How do I do that in my life? By my attention to others, my helpfulness, my smile, my prayers. Hopefully people will see Jesus through my actions.
Probably it shouldn’t surprise me anymore that I encounter God while picking up garbage on the street; it’s happened so often over the past few years. Sometimes a message comes in the form of an unusual piece of litter that will be strangely illustrative of something that had just passed through my prayer. Even better, while I’m engaged in this private pilgrimage I have often encountered strangers who tell me a story, ask me for help, or offer help to me. I try to record these encounters in my journal, to bank them against a time of spiritual famine when I might need to remind myself of God’s habit of popping up in the humblest places.