Praying with the Pope in December
For a Life of Prayer
We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.
Pope Francis, December 2020
Three Prayer Proposals for the month
1. Make an Advent mini-retreat, in your own place! Resolve to make time and space gently available, each day, to read and absorb the Mass reading of that day. Allow your heart to be lifted by those inspiring passages from Isaiah, for example, or of Mary and Joseph as we get near to the Nativity. Think about lighting a candle, which can be your Advent candle so that its light accompanies your sacred reading. It might not be possible to do this at the same time each day but, if you can, do so and it will be quickly a special moment that you’ll look forward to each day.
2. Intensify your prayer about the middle of the month by turning to the ancient “O Antiphons”, chants sung or recited at the beginning and end of Mary’s Magnificat during Evening Prayer on each of the days leading up to Christmas Day, from 17-23 December. You do not need to have a breviary to do this as they are easily found online. If you don’t already, consider trying Evening Prayer each of these days. It is, of course, very easy and fruitful to pray with others.
3. As we reach Christmas, follow the guidance of St Ignatius as he suggests a nativity contemplation to us, as shown below. This would probably take a bit longer so give yourself a little more time for this, as a Christmas present to yourself and to the world.
A Contemplation on the Nativity
St. Ignatius suggests that we imagine ourselves with the Holy Family, really present at the Nativity scene as described in Luke’ Gospel. Place yourself there, in the imagination; see the people, the surroundings, sense the cold, even the smell of the farmyard animals. Let Our Lady beckon you to come close to the newborn child. Then, let her say what all proud Mums might say to their friends; she asks you if you would like to hold this little one in your own arms for a moment. Accept her offer. As you imagine yourself holding, with great tenderness, the infant saviour in your arms, what do you notice? What words might you want to say to him, and to her? Give thanks for what you receive in these moments.