Tag Archives: wait

Wait Patiently, In Expectation!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 30, 2015

PATIENCE God is not absent

Wait Patiently, In Expectation!

How often have I seen a small child (or, even, a not-so-small child) complain, “I want it now!” and, “Are we there yet?” And even, “Is it ever going to be time to go in?”

Ah, how difficult it is to be patient, sometimes.

Fr. Nouwen quotes the author Simone Weil as saying in her notebook, “Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.” I have learned to be wary of expectations. Wishful, pie-in-the-sky expectations, or dreary, down-in-the-dumps expectations. Either way, runaway expectations can be poisonous and completely unhelpful.

Sure, in the short term, expectations can be positive. Even long-term goals, prudently set, can be beneficial, too. Watch for hopeful, helpful expectations. A good thing, certainly, within limits.

But, what if—like a small child—I stamp my foot and just can’t wait through the weeks of Advent for the Christmas holidays? Or, what if an acquaintance of mine is in a snit because of faulty holiday expectations?

Well. Nouwen tells us in this reading that patience comes from a Latin word “patior,” which means “to suffer.” The root of the primary word is a negative one! Yet, Nouwen showed us how this “bad” word can become positive. “What seems a hindrance becomes a way; what seems an obstacle becomes a door; what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone.” [1]

Dear Lord, help me to open my eyes. Help me view the “not-quite-rights” as Your much beloved children. Dear Lord, gracious God, keep my mind focused on things of You. Let me view the challenges and difficulties of life instead as way stations in my journey through life.

@chaplaineliza

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[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 4.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 7, 2013

I must be getting older. (News flash!) No, seriously. Sometimes, I find myself reflecting on the past with some fondness and nostalgia. And then there are the times I reflect on the past with sadness and grief. Like today. I read in the news that today was the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Fifty survivors of the attack gathered there today, along with many other people. Looking back. Remembering. Grieving the deaths of so many, at Pearl Harbor and in the rest of the war. I thank God that my father and his three brothers came back after World War II to their wives. They raised families and led fruitful, productive lives.

Just today, I saw several photos through email and on Facebook, displayed by some friends of mine—all proud grandparents! These photos showed busy toddlers, happy babies, curious children. Almost all of these children are looking forward to the holidays (except for the youngest babies, of course). They and their families are looking ahead. In expectation and excitement.

On the other end of the spectrum are my older teenagers. They are “too old” for the wide-eyed wonder of the coming holiday. Yes, they both acknowledge the coming One. They intellectually realize this season is, indeed, a special time. However, they are more in the “meh” or “whatever” camp, trying to stay outwardly calm and unflappable. (All for outward display purposes, of course.)

So, here I am, in the middle. Looking back, and looking ahead. I need to pray all the more earnestly. I am trying to follow an Advent devotional booklet, with some success. But, outward circumstances are dragging me down. God, please help me to a sense of wonder. Give me a sense of Your presence, each day. Help me follow You.

Let’s pray. Dear God, help me take the necessary and needed time to be with You. As I look back, I remember all those who have lost loved ones in the service of our country. Looking ahead, I remember all those with children (and grandchildren) who are gladly awaiting the holidays. Thank You for this Advent time of waiting. Please, God, be with me as I intentionally set aside time each day to pray and wait upon You. Amen.

Waiting, Praying and the Labyrinth

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Today, I wanted to go to the convent several miles away where they have an outdoor Labyrinth, a replica of the one laid into the floor of the cathedral at Chartres. I wanted to walk the sacred path again.

Today was a temperate day, for December, high 40’s and misty. I never made it, because of work and other urgent matters, but I wanted to.

God, does that count?

I’ve known about this Labyrinth for almost ten years. Now, I walk the Labyrinth several times each year, in different kinds of weather. Sometimes warm, balmy, cool, bracing, or even downright cold. Since it’s out of doors (in the rear, nearby the extensive convent gardens), I can see the changes of the seasons and the beauty of God’s creation. When I walk, I sometimes pray. At times, I halt at each twist and turn of the path. Sometimes I walk steadily. A very few times, I have felt like the walk is plodding—my walk has not been easy. And I pray. Even when my walk is not easy, especially when my heart is troubled.

In this time of Advent, does my want to count? I know I am waiting. I know God is with me, but even still—I am waiting for something just over the horizon. Watching. Wanting. Waiting. I suspect that this is how God desires me to be, the reason God wishes for me to approach. Nearer, deeper. As C.S. Lewis said, “Further up and further in!”

Let’s pray. God, thank You for Your invitation to approach You in prayer. I feel the need to come close to You. Forgive me when I ignore Your repeated promptings to come close. I appreciate the words of Prof. Lewis that urge me to go “further up and further in.” In this Advent time, I watch, I wait. I want more of You. Thank You for Your presence with me, each day. Every day. Amen.

We wait.

matterofprayer blog post for Sunday, December 1, 2013

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. At my church, that means lighting the Advent wreath in a decorated sanctuary, with everything in the service oriented toward the coming One. We celebrate the four-week period that comes before Christmas. In other words, we wait.

I can relate. In terms of prayer, I wait a lot. I wait for God to answer prayer. I wait for God to reveal things to me. I wait for news, for healing, employment. I wait for people. I wait for a lot of things. I am more patient than I used to be, but I still wish God would hurry up!

God, I know I’m griping. But I wish I knew better what God had for me, in this world. In this life. Sure, I know some good ways to approach God in prayer, in meditation, in service. One great way is one my church just used yesterday. They helped provide and serve sloppy joes at a local food kitchen, one that serves homeless people on Saturday afternoons. What a needed way to be the hands and feet of Christ to others.

But, I am coming back to the concept of waiting. God, I almost don’t want to pray for patience, because I know what that will mean—You’ll make me wait even more. But Advent is not only a time of waiting, it’s a time of preparation, too. At least I can prepare my heart to welcome the Christ-child once again. And, I know I can claim the wonderful promises You made.

Let’s pray. God, thank You for this time of preparation and waiting. Help me to get ready. Not in terms of a material way, but internally. It is an inside job. I know I do not reflect on the Christ-child’s birth enough. Forgive me. Help me do better. Help me prepare for the coming of Christmas in real, tangible ways, like serving the homeless. Most importantly, help me prepare my heart for You. Amen.