Yesterday was the first session of the three-session Advent Retreat in Daily Living I am offering at the University of St. Thomas School of Law this year. As I’ve shared before, Advent is my favorite time of the liturgical year, and it is an important season that often gets slighted as so many seem to move directly from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Thus, I always offer some kind of Advent reflection series at the law school, even if it is a busy time of the semester for students. (End of classes, reading period, exams.)
The subject of our first session was Creation and Fall. In my reflection, I talked about the creation story, the entry of sin into the world (including how we might understand the nature of that first sin), and God’s plan for salvation. We ended with a guided meditation on creation.
You can access a recording of my talk, which includes the guided meditation at the end, here or stream it from the icon below. (The podcast runs for 27:09.) You can find a copy of the prayer materials I distributed to participants here. Note that before I began the recording, I asked the participants to introduce themselves and say a few words about what Advent means to them; that is what I am referring to in the opening lines of the podcast.
I opened the session with Henri Nouwen’s Advent Prayer. Since it is not on the podcast, I share it here:
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
Thank you Susan for sharing such a wonderful and contrasting description of how sin entered the world (your reference to Joseph Tetlow in the Ignatian Exercises – the Sin of Adam and Eve)
Aware that most of us likely ‘transgresses the Law’ multiple times daily (though seldom mortally) speaks to the ‘blessings’ of our humanity which in itself is a lifelong evolutionary process of discernment and growth best built upon the gratitude of graces received.
Your first advent session speaks to a process of spiritual growth to embrace that can help dispel the label ‘sinner’ too many shepherds often use liberally to describe the desires and behavior of the members of their flock.
Thank you once again . . .