I stopped by church the other day to sit with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. There was a special handout for the first week of Advent, “Advent Week 1 Meditation.” The reader was guided along an Ignatian-type meditation with a line of scripture. I spent most of my hour on this one line:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:1
There is a danger for some of us in prayer to cross the line from prayer to intellectual contemplation, especially if you are a writer or lover of words and language like me. The intellect is an important part of the human person and so has a place in prayer but can easily lead us to “think” more than “listen.” But the following can be a good exercise of spirit if you make sure to let the Holy Spirit take over and invite Him in first, which is where He belongs.
I asked the Holy Spirit (always begin here) to accompany me as I read this line over a few times, jotting down the words that really popped out at me. Then I journaled what those words depicted in my spirit, not so much concerned with the official meaning.
It was a fruitful and powerful hour spent in scripture. Here are some of the notes I made. I hope they help you this Advent to prepare your heart for the miraculous things that await you this Christmas.
People: families, communities, souls, humans, earthlings, cultures, groups
Walked: journeyed, sojourned, sauntered, traveled easily, traveled casually, experienced, traversed
Darkness: prison, despair, lies, oppression, confusion, entrapment
Seen: witnessed, realized, noticed, understood, accepted, revealed, cleared, opened, looked, taken in, embraced
Light: truth, beauty, love, clarity, joy, hope, freedom
Then I put together phrases using these different versions to frame the many meaningful layers of this scripture.
- The communities who have sojourned through lies have embraced beauty.
- The souls who have been traversed despair have understood hope.
- The cultures who walked casually through lies have witnessed truth.
- The families who journeyed through oppression have embraced freedom.
I give you leave to put together a few yourself or try it with another line of scripture. The important thing is to invite the Holy Spirit and not get overly intellectual about it. It is a spiritual exercise for your heart to open to the many layers of the Living Word of God. After you absorb some ideas, let your heart listen for several minutes to what else God has for you.