A Blanket Surprise – Ignatian Spirituality

This yr, as Advent started, I wasn’t feeling prepared. I simply couldn’t get into the spirit of Advent.

I talked with my religious director about it. We troubleshooted. I had been sidelined by sickness for 3 months straight and unable to attend Mass or collect with my prayer group. I felt remoted. Yet I nonetheless felt God’s abiding presence. My religious director mentioned to not fear however suggested I preserve praying.

So, I saved praying.

One night, I imaginatively requested St. Ignatius in prayer what I ought to do. Agere contra, or “to act against,” got here to thoughts.

Lord, assist me to work in opposition to it.

The subsequent day, I obtained an e-mail from a good friend inviting me to a weekday Advent retreat. I had means an excessive amount of work to do. Yet I felt tugged. I deliberate to say “no,” however a “yes” rolled off my tongue. I went to the retreat battling that “no” the entire means—a lot in order that I arrived quarter-hour late.

Lord, assist me get into the spirit of Advent.

At the retreat, I imagined Jesus sitting subsequent to me on the sofa. The phrases got here tumbling out. There was extra there than I had realized, and it was taking over house—house the place I wished to be storing up the great issues in my coronary heart. I prayed boldly.

I really need that blanket!

Huh? Had I actually simply requested Jesus for a blanket? Really?

A little backstory: earlier that week I had entered a raffle for a blanket {that a} Benedictine Sister had knitted by hand. I actually like hand-knit blankets.

I put aside ideas of blankets and left the retreat feeling nourished. One of the themes of the retreat, “the God of Surprises,” actually resonated with me. I had discovered the Spirit and was able to enter into Advent.

The subsequent afternoon, as I used to be dusting my windowsill, I seen a field on my entrance step. The return tackle mentioned, “Benedictine Sisters.”

No. It couldn’t be.

I opened the field, and there was the knitted blanket I had requested for once I was praying. Tears of astonishment welled up in my eyes.

I stood there remembering different instances when I’ve prayed boldly, baring my coronary heart to God in unfiltered prayer. Whenever I’ve been in a position to open up, consider, and belief, the God of Surprises has achieved great issues for me, issues that I might by no means accomplish with any quantity of planning. I haven’t at all times acquired precisely what I’ve requested for, however typically I’ve acquired greater than I might have thought to ask!

In his Gospel, Mark tells us to go one step additional in prayer: “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (11:24) That feels like daring prayer to me!

I invite you to wish boldly. Pray your coronary heart; don’t filter it.

And consider expectantly. The God of Surprises doesn’t disappoint.

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