November 29, 2015

Theotokos: Sunday of the First Week of Advent

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Theotokos: Sunday of the First Week of Advent

"The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth” (Luke 1:26)

Nazareth was a small village of Galilee in northern Palestine. To many, it was a town of little or no importance. In fact, in John 1:46, Nathanael scoffs at the village’s insignificance as he asks, “What good can come from Nazareth?”

As an insignificant village tucked away on the outskirts of the Sea of Galilee, there wasn’t much was happening in Nazareth. It was small. It was poor. It was simple. The pace of life in Nazareth was much like the pace of life in any small town. Nazareth escaped the hustle and bustle of the big city.

The city was small. Life was simple. The pace was slower.

Mary, as a native of Nazareth, would have had an inner disposition reflective of the village she grew up in. The outer pace of Nazareth helped create an inner pace within Mary.

The secular Christmas season we find ourselves in is anything but small, simple, and slow. In fact, for many of us, the pace of life quickens as Christmas nears. There are presents to buy, parties to attend, and holidays to plan.

As the world around us accelerates into frenzy, Advent actually invites us to slow down. Just as Nazareth’s pace formed the Theotokos, Mary wants to slow us down so that we can receive as she did.

Slow down. Get quiet. Listen. After all, what’s the rush? What are we really preparing for?

For your prayer

Mary would have often prayed with Psalm 131. Prep your imaginative prayer by slowly reading Psalm 131. Then, imaginatively pray with Luke 1:26 and ask the Holy Spirit to “show” you life in Nazareth.

“Father, regardless of how busy my life is on the outside, I pray that you will help me slow down on the inside.”

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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015