Clergy Notes — Advent 3, December 17, 2023

This week’s Reflection is a prayer which has been dear to me for many years. I cannot recall how I came across it, but I do remember the way it impacted me when I first read it. It is so deeply earnest and vulnerable, so achingly beautiful and poetic. The combination of these characteristics, I came to learn later, is common in Jesuit prayers, and indeed in many monastic devotions. These qualities were what drew me into a deeper exploration of religious writings, and – ultimately – awakened my awareness that I was called to a religious vocation myself.

Personal reminiscing aside, the Collect we have for this week is what brought this lovely prayer to mind, as it shares a similarity in its petition, specifically in the line, “Remove those things which hinder love of you.” So many prayers ask God for something to be granted or given; less common are the ones in which we ask for something to be taken away – or, at least not the things we might have attachments to, or the things we enjoy! It feels like a somewhat dangerous petition, to ask God to remove – without abandon! – everything that keeps us from knowing God more intimately.

I think it is fitting this week as we continue to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ anew, to ask what might be removed – in our hearts, our lives, our worlds – to make room for the Christ to enter. Perhaps we might continue our Advent journey this week by asking, what have we crowded our interior space with that might need to be de-cluttered? What might be blocking the door? What might be capturing our attention, our affections, our senses – in ways which keep us from experiencing and – as far as may be – enjoying God?

Mother Amanda

Download the Liturgy at Home booklet for Sunday, December 17, 2023.