Advent Prayers – Dec. 10


Thomas Merton (1915 –1968)

Thomas Merton pursued the ideals of pleasure and freedom in early adulthood only to reject them as an illusion and embrace a life of prayer and silence as a Trappist monk. His 1949 conversion story, The Seven Storey Mountain, was a surprise bestseller, introducing millions of modern people to the gifts of monasticism. A mentor to many activists in the Catholic peace movement, Merton became a prophetic voice for peace and nonviolence in the twentieth century, despite the fact that his “political” writings were censored by his order. Convinced that contemplative life must engage the world, he prepared the way for a new monasticism.

Invitation to worship

O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Song of Praise

Come, let us sing to the LORD: let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Song “Be Thou My Vision”

Behold, God is my helper: it is the Lord who sustains my life.

Psalm 54:1 –6

Save me, O God, by your name: in your might, defend my cause.

Hear my prayer, O God: give ear to the words of my mouth. For the arrogant have risen up against me, and the ruthless have sought my life: those who have no regard for God. Behold, God is my helper: it is the Lord who sustains my life. Render evil to those who spy on me: in your faithfulness, destroy them. I will offer you a freewill sacrifice: and praise your name, O LORD, for it is good.

Call to Discipleship

Behold, God is my helper: it is the Lord who sustains my life.

Isaiah 5:13 –17, 24 –25

13 Therefore, my people go into exile since they didn’t understand—
   their officials are dying of hunger;
   so many of them are dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore, the grave[c] opens wide its jaws,
   opens its mouth beyond all bounds,
   and the splendid multitudes will go down, with all their uproar and cheering.
15 Humanity will be humiliated;
   each person laid low,
   the eyes of the exalted laid low.
16 But the Lord of heavenly forces will be exalted in justice,
   and the holy God will show himself holy in righteousness.
17 Lambs will graze as if in their pasture;
   young goats[d] will feed among the ruins of the rich.[e]

Therefore, as a tongue of fire devours stubble,
   and as hay shrivels in a flame,
       so their roots will rot,
       and their blossoms turn to dust,
   for they have rejected the teaching of the Lord of heavenly forces,
       and have despised the word of Israel’s holy one.
God’s powerful hand
25 This is why the Lord’s anger burned against the people:
   he extended his hand to strike them,
   the mountains trembled,
   and their corpses lay in the middle of the streets like dung.
Even then God’s anger didn’t turn away;
   God’s hand was still extended.

Luke 22:1 –13

22 The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was approaching. 2 The chief priests and the legal experts were looking for a way to kill Jesus, because they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve. 4 He went out and discussed with the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard how he could hand Jesus over to them. 5 They were delighted and arranged payment for him. 6 He agreed and began looking for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them—a time when the crowds would be absent.

7 The Day of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John with this task: “Go and prepare for us to eat the Passover meal.”

9 They said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?”

10 Jesus replied, “When you go into the city, a man carrying a water jar will meet you. Follow him to the house he enters. 11  Say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher says to you, “Where is the guestroom where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?” ’ 12  He will show you a large upstairs room, already furnished. Make preparations there.” 13 They went and found everything just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

Behold, God is my helper: it is the Lord who sustains my life.

Prayers for Others

Thomas Merton wrote, “The monk does not come to the monastery to ‘get’ something which the ordinary Christian cannot have. On the contrary, he comes there in order to realize and to appreciate all that any good Christian already has. He comes to live his Christian life, and thus to appreciate to the full his heritage as a son of God. He comes in order that he might see and understand that he already possesses everything.”

Prayers for Others

Our Father

Walking with Jesus and Community

Lord, teach us to live as contemplative activists, trusting that your Spirit and your word provide all we need to dance with the angels on Jacob’s ladder between heaven and earth. Amen.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you; may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm; may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you; may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.