Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advent and Christmas Devotion: The Prayer of Desire – Si semper desideras, semper oras

Christ the King Retreat Center

Advent is a season of desire. When Jesus was born, the nation of Israel was waiting, longing and desiring the coming of Messiah. For us, is it a time to kindle anew our inner desire for more of Jesus in our lives, our minds, our busy schedules, and our hearts.

That desire during Advent is what continually draws us to Bethlehem. While Mary and Joseph journeyed to the City of David for very practical reasons, fulfilling the census of Caesar Augustus, we journey there for a spiritual purpose to see afresh the Heir of David!

Just as the shepherds came down from the hills, filled with awe and wonder at the message of the angels, we descend to the lowly manger with deep desire to worship him who lowered himself and emptied himself beyond our comprehension.

As the magi were invited to glimpse the fulfillment of the great sign in the stars that they saw, we come to adore Emmanuel with all our longing, love and desire.

Desire Itself is Prayer
Sometimes we do not know how to pray. That is okay, because our desire for the Lord is itself prayer. St. Augustine said, “Si semper desideras, semper oras”—“If we are always desiring, we are always praying!” How true that is, and how comforting to know that our heart prays, even when our mouth cannot articulate that inner longing!

This season let our hearts reach out in the wordless prayer of desire as we sit silently by the fireplace or candles late at night or early in the morning when everyone else in the house is asleep. Let our prayer of desire ascend as we read again Luke’s account of the very first Christmas.

As the pilgrimage of Advent reaches its culmination in the celebration of Christmas Day, let us cultivate the inner prayer of desire. Let us allow that desire to come to full blossom as we gather with the faithful on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning to worship Christ the King. O come, let us indeed adore him!

© 2013 Glenn E. Myers

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