Friday, December 21, 2007

Come to Bethlehem

Intercessors Of The Lamb

Bethlehem is a contemplative type of prayer. There are not any words really; it’s an experience. Anytime we go there, the experience will be different. So St. Ignatius says to try to just let go of the thinking process in these meditations this coming week and become totally immersed in the scene—be there. This is where we want to use all five senses. Try to see the scene and the persons. Try to hear. You’re going to hear Mary and Joseph speaking. Are you going to hear the angels singing? Are you going to hear a baby’s noises? Are you coming to hear the animals? See what you hear. Are you going to hear the wind at night? Try to smell. It had to be very odorous there. Try to smell the smells because it makes it real. You’re there then. Try to smell the hay in the manger. Try to taste the sweetness of the moment of the mystery, of this tremendous gift of God in flesh—not only in flesh, but in baby flesh. You might find that the Spirit’s going to let you to experience the tremendous poverty of this child. Jesus was extremely rich. He’s God. He had everything in Heaven. He left it all when He descended. The last sense to use is touch. Try to touch something in the mysteries that you’ll be gazing upon. Maybe touch the straw at Bethlehem. Maybe hold the Baby, maybe touch Mary’s hand, maybe experience how hard the ground that Mary and Joseph were on was.

To conclude, this whole scene might lead you to an awareness that this is actually taking place within me. There’s a new birthing now within me. The child Jesus is being born now within me. The beautiful mystery of the rosary, “Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple”, might be your experience as you find them deep within yourself. So the week will be one of quietness. It will be one of revelation. It will primarily be one of experience. Contemplation is an experience. It’s the experience of the truth. It might be the experience more of the Incarnation itself

Teresa of Avila said one of the greatest mystical graces a soul can receive is the experience of Incarnational spirituality—to really know that that Child now lives within me, that Child now has taken on my flesh. This is where it will ultimately lead me. That’s Incarnational spirituality: we become one with Jesus. He became one with me. The Word now has become enfleshed in me. So you want to have the experience. The Spirit will lead, and ultimately your prayer might end up just being lost in the mystery and wonderment because it’s so beyond the human mind. This is what contemplation ultimately comes to: being lost in the mystery, gazing at the beauty, and being lost in the goodness of God and that He has done this for me.

Excerpt from Mother Nadine’s “Heart- to-heart Listening: Experiencing Jesus Intimately,”March 13, 2000.

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