Some Practical Help for Getting Started This Week

To get started this week, we must be clear about how different this week is from our previous weeks. This is a week to review, remain, and savor. We don’t do this because we aren’t interested in moving on but because we are interested in making sure we take in all that is being offered us. The analogy used here is not that of reading a good book and then pausing to read it all over again. A better analogy is this: A friend is showing me the family photo albums and is passing rather quickly over the early pages. I might slow my friend down and say, “Oh, these are wonderful. Let’s take our time here. I really want to enjoy these pictures. Look at how young your mother looked. Is that the house you grew up in? Oh, my, the strength in your father’s eyes. Oh, this picture just captures who you are, even as a baby.”

Another way to describe what we are doing this week is to say we are praying, not with new material, but with the graces we have received these past weeks. I will take what I have been given and go into the gift more deeply, to remain there, to savor it. We do this because we know that gifts often contain further gifts within them. This week we will pick up the gifts we have received, and we will open them up to discover what more is being offered us.

We will do this deep appreciating of what we have received in the midst of our everyday busy lives. If the graces of these past weeks — call and response, a gifted sense of God’s plan, how God becomes flesh for me — are to be gifts for my real life, then they will have meaning for and within my real life.

• I have said that I want to be with Jesus in his mission. Today I want to simply taste that choice with each and every task and choice of my day.

• I have understood how the Incarnation was God’s prepared-for plan to save us. Today I want to consciously accept being in the flesh — including all its wonder and all the limits and diminishment of being a body person. Concrete moments throughout the day will give me the opportunity to embrace who I am — with the body and identity I have inherited; with the choices I have made; with my physical condition, my health, my illness.

• I have seen and been touched by the Nativity. I have probably entered into this gifted contemplation of how Jesus became one of us, perhaps entering the scene, with those memories still fresh and moving. Today I want to walk around in my life sensing the tension in my culture to resist coming to, being in, a stable-like situation. I will notice — and in the background, chew over — just how much I enter into this world’s efforts to cover over the simple, the naked, the poverty of human existence. Perhaps this week, I will consciously try to be myself, be more transparent. I might try to notice how a day would be if I tried not to impress others with things which are merely external, but to simply be with others with care.

Each day this week, I can find other ways to review, remain with, and savor more deeply the gifts God is offering me during this special journey to see Jesus more clearly, to love him more dearly, and to follow him more nearly, day by day.

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