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Theotokos: 4th Week of Advent
“while they were there” (Luke 2:6)
The 90-mile pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have taken about a week and a half. With miles behind them and Bethlehem now just a few days before them, we take great interest in what is not said about their arrival.
Joseph is returning to Bethlehem, the ancestral home of his family; however, there is no mention of his family. There is no mention of a relative, no mention of a family caravan, no mention of his plans to reunite with kinsfolk.
As Mary neared delivery and Joseph led them into Bethlehem they had no idea of what they would do in Bethlehem. They were both utterly dependent on God. But, then again, considering what we have tasted during this Advent retreat, how could it be any other way?
Most of us don’t like to be dependent. In fact, our culture champions those who are independent and who go out make it own their own. However, God loves it when we are dependent because it is there that we most need God to be God.
Where are you most dependent on God? What circumstances in your life are out of your control? What situations will you face this holiday season that will make you feel utterly dependent on God? Where do you feel weak, helpless, or vulnerable?
Now, say this with me, “I can’t” ... “You can” ... “And, you promised.” That’s a great prayer. “God, I can’t, but I know you can. And you know what, you promised.” Whenever you feel dependent and God is the only thing you have, say that prayer—“I can’t, You can, and You promised.” Then, wait with Mary and watch for God to act.
For your prayer
Mary and Joseph would have often prayed with the Book of Genesis. Prep your imaginative prayer by slowly reading Genesis 15:1-6; 16:1-16; 22:1-7. Use your spiritual senses and imaginatively pray with Mary and Joseph in Luke 2:6.
"Father, I yearn to taste your desire, fidelity, and consistency. I beg you to open my heart so that I embrace dependency."
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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015