Friday, November 29, 2013

Aspiration Practice

It is almost Advent.  Time to slow down, settle in for hours of prayer, and wait in hushed anticipation. 

What?  It isn't that way in your world?

It isn't that way in mine, either.

Which makes it an ideal time for aspirations:  those brief prayers that we can lift to God inwardly, wherever we are and whatever we may be doing.  They are an ancient monastic practice, but they can be particularly practical for those of us striving to keep our hearts fixed on God in the midst of a bustling world.  Even as we join crowds of shoppers in the mall, wrap gifts, gather with friends and family, we can lift our hearts to God.  I find the doing of this hard to remember, but it seems the more I practice, the more it becomes habitual.

We are entering the busiest time of the year out here in the world.  If we can remember to offer little prayers even in this kind of hubbub, maybe doing so while we fold laundry on a quiet February morning won't turn out to be so tough. 

Aspiration practice.  I think I'm ready.  Let it begin. 

"These brief ascents of the soul heavenward, these liftings of the mind and heart to God, briefly but frequently: this is what enables the monk… to live a life of prayer and intimate union with God.  As (he) goes about his daily duties, he… gives himself to this practice of terse but frequent prayer.” (Wilfrid Tunink OSB, Vision of Peace, pp. 277-278) 

'My God and my all!'

'Jesus, I trust in You.'

'Lord, have mercy on us.'

'My God, I adore You.' 

'Lord, enclose me in Your Heart.'

BĂ©rard Gloppe painting; in US public domain due to age 

You are invited to share your Advent journey by leaving a comment in the 'Parlor'