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Posted December 2, 2008

Book: Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season: 2008-2009
Author: Jesuit Communication Centre, Ireland
Ave Maria Press. Notre Dame, IN. 2008

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Celebrate the Season with renewed spiritual growth and inspiration from Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2008-2009. Discover the rich, distinctive prayer method that has mad Sacred Space so beloved around the world.

Using six simple steps, the daily reflections offer readings, prayer starters, and weekly Advent themes.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Sunday 30th November, First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19, 64:1-8

You, O Lord, are our father; our Redeemer from of old is your name. Why, O Lord, do you make us stray from your ways and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you? Turn back for the sake of your servants, for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage. We have long been like those whom you do not rule, like those not called by your name. O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence — as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil — to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, lie the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity, et, O Lord, your are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

— There are a lot of mixed emotions expressed in this passage, and strong ones: repentance, regret, yearning, pleading. Do any of them express something of what I am feeling now?

— Most of all, this passage is asking God to make his presence known.

— God is present here now, and listening to me. What do I want to say?

Table of Contents:

How to use this booklet

The first week of Advent to Epiphany

An Advent Retreat Day

Introduction to the Retreat

Welcome to this Advent retreat — a retreat that you can make in your own way and time.

A retreat is the name for putting aside time for God. It involves leaving some things in order to be present to Someone. God is always working with us, gently urging, communicating, and seeking contact, and our job is to give time to listen to the “message,” whatever that message is!

Prayer is simply “being real with God” and letting God “in” to our often messy reality. Listening to the desires of our heart (God is in our deepest desires) means becoming quiet within, taking a step back, allowing things to surface, and listening to the “inner voice.” It is like a pool where the water, when it is agitated and churred up, makes it impossible to see into the depths. Whereas when the water becomes calm and unruffled, it is possible to see. Hence the need for silence “retreat” and time away.