Second Sunday in Advent
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Prayer is such an important part of who we are and who we are called to be. It is how we communicate with God as Father, God as Brother and God as Friend. It is how we share with God. Prayer from the heart and a mind that has been quieted, enables us to deepen our knowledge of the One who has created us, and to experience the One who has loved us and invited us into profound intimacy. After we had tarnished our sacred image through sin, it was God’s openness to communion and prayer that permitted us to restore what was lost. Through the One who suffered and died for us, we have been recreated into the beloved children of God we are and were meant to be. Faithfulness to prayer encourages and inspires us to go deeper into the scenes of the bible and place ourselves into the sacred story in order to more clearly hear the voice of God speaking to our hearts and illuminating our minds. One of my favorite scenes to visit is the Annunciation. Imagine for a moment placing yourself into the scene. As you sit next to Mary, do you remain silent or do you have something you wish to discuss with her? What do you want to tell her, share with her, ask her to pray for? What is she saying to you, teaching you, asking of you? What does the temperature outside feel like?  Is it hot or cool, windy or breezeless, sunny or raining? Is the air fragrant with flowers, perfumes, fresh baked bread?  Do you hear any sounds of nature? Can you hear birds in the background? What does Gabriel’s wings sound like, what does he look like, did he startle you? Did you pray with him when he said “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” Can you imagine being in Nazareth when God decided to leave his throne in heaven to ask Mary to be his holy vessel and the mother of his beloved Son so that he might enter into our broken humanity, die to make reparation for our sins, and bring God’s children safely back home to heaven? What is God saying to you right now? Does speaking to God frighten you? Say to Mary, “Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

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