NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 12/22

NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 12/22

Advent: a season intended to prepare the Lord’s way into our hearts and minds, into our lives. While we’re spend billions of dollars at this time of year, the heart of Christmas is calling us to the simplicity and poverty of gospel life: to simplify our lives and to identify with and serve those who have so much less than we do.  Saint Oscar Romero wrote about this:

No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor…

The self-sufficient, the proud,
those who, because they have everything,
look down on others,
those who have no need even of God
—for them there will be no Christmas

Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone to come on their behalf,
only they will have that someone…

That someone is God.

Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God….

Oscar Romero

Romero speaks a hard word here, difficult for us to hear and understand in our first world comfort. But his words are true to the season’s spirit. Christmas is for those « who need someone to come on their behalf. »  If we think we need no one or if we don’t believe the « someone » we need most is, indeed, God – then we will have no idea of what Christmas is all about…  Advent is a time for waiting: waiting for the One who comes on our behalf…


    help me know how much I need you…

And if I think I don’t need you, 
    that for days, months, even years at a time
    I can get by on my own, without you,
then help me see my folly
    and lead me home to you…

I need you to be there for me, Lord,

I need you to come on my behalf,

    to be my strength, my guide, my advocate,

    my help, my healing, my hope,

    my Savior…

Teach me to hunger
    for time with you in prayer…
Teach me to thirst 
    for your truth, your wisdom and your counsel…
Teach me to long
    for the peace that only you can give, 
    the peace I so much want and need…
Teach me to be poor: 
    to know your love’s the greatest treasure 
    I might ever find and have…

You hear the cry of the poor, Lord:

    hear the cry of my poor heart

    and help me hear the cry of those in need…

Protect me, Lord, while I’m awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace…
Tonight’s song may be difficult just as Romero’s words
– but that’s because Nikki Mathis also understands what 
the Lord means when he says,
    « Blessed are the poor in spirit 
        for the kingdom of heaven is theirs… » (Matthew 5)