The season of Advent is a time of anticipation. We should be waiting for the Lord Jesus to return again. Our Nicene Creed tells us: . . . He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead . . . .
When will the Lord return? I don’t know . . . and I refuse to speculate. It tends to get a person in big trouble.
The fact that our Lord will return should be sufficient for us.
Many years ago, my spiritual director in the seminary suggested and encouraged the practice of centering prayer. He was basically trying to teach me how to wait for the Lord in prayer.
What happens with this type of prayer?
Instead of talking, reading or meditating on something, I simply enter into the presence of the Lord and wait. I personally like to do this before the Real Presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I sit quietly trying to empty my mind of thoughts and distractions. I wait and listen for the Lord to speak to me. He is in charge. I submit my will entirely to Him.
What do I hear? Sometimes nothing. Sometimes I get distracted and start thinking about or worrying about various matters. At these times—when I find myself distracted—I simply repeat the name of Jesus slowly and quietly. This practice helps me to return to a quiet, inner place of peace.
There have been times when unbelievable inspiration has come during this prayer. Some powerful homilies and insightful writings have developed when simply waiting for the Lord.
More important than looking for any spectacular results, there needs to be a fidelity to the Lord—a finding quality time for Him—as part of my daily prayer routine. I need to go to prayer even when nothing at all seems to happen. I need to go to prayer especially at those times when I don’t feel like it or I tell myself that I am too busy to pray right now. I need to go to prayer simply because prayer is what I need. The Lord Jesus is who I need.
To many, this waiting for the Lord may seem foolish or even a waste of valuable time. Many actually waste more valuable time in front of the TV, surfing the web on the computer, playing video games, or by any number of unproductive or unrewarding activities. I never see spending my time waiting for the Lord as wasted time. It is valuable time that I spend with the One whom I love and have chosen to serve as a priest. It is His time. He can do whatsoever He wills with my time. I give it to Him.
This Advent, why not try waiting for the Lord in prayer? You might be quite surprised at what happens.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Fr. Ed Namiotka