Saturday, 3 December 2011

A prayer for Advent, grounded in the spirituality of St John the Baptist: "Illum oportet crescere, me autem minui"

Recently, a friend called Anne sent me this prayer, which she has especially composed for Advent. It is a beautiful prayer, written by a beautiful soul. I hope you like it...

A Prayer In the Cave of My Heart

Illum oportet crescere, me autem minui (Jn 3:30)
O Lord, ever Loving and Faithful God,
help me to be little in your eyes,
and in the eyes of men.
May I shrink until there is nothing left of my will.
Take my wilfulness and admonish it,
reduce it to nothingness, so that I may reside,
with Mary, the most chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit,
and Saint Joseph, her earthly husband, alone in the light
of Your Divine Will.

Our Father, may your Will reign in me as it does in heaven.
By Grace may I be buried in the ocean of Your Will,
so that it is not my life, but Yours.
Not my living, but You living in me.
Not my prayer, but Your prayer in me.
Not my love, but Your love returned to You.
Not the glory You have given me,
as a creature created in your image and likeness,
may Your Glory be returned to You in full.

May I be so little as to no longer count, but
to live only in You, Dear Saviour, Child Jesus,
only-begotten Son of the Father Almighty.

In these days of Advent, as the Church struggles with anxieties
and hopes for the coming celebration of Your Nativity,
may this prayer be pleasing to You,
so that I may be nothing,
and, in my nothingness gain true servitude to You,
one, Holy and True God. Amen

This prayer reminds me of those famous words of St Paul: "And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me" (Gal 2:20).

May this Advent be a time of preparation for all people of good will, for all those who search for the truth, as well as for all us poor sinners who already have the joy of knowing Christ - even if we only know him dimly (cf 1 Cor 13;12). May we also be given the grace to prepare a place in our hearts for Christ's birth by dying to self - so that our knowledge of him, our love for him and our unity with him will grow deeper through the grace of his Incarnation and Nativity. May he be born in all people this Christmas - anew or for the first time - so that all of us may eventually come to share in the fullness of St Paul's joy: "And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me."

Posted by Dylan Parry (A Reluctant Sinner). Prayer composed by Anne C

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