“My Soul in Stillness Waits” – Advent Prayer

At St. Jane House: Ministry of Prayer, Presence

At St. Jane House: Ministry of Prayer, Presence

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

“For you, Oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits.”

It’s Tuesday morning in Advent and I am seated in a circle of prayerful people at St. Jane House. I am here as part of the weekly Centering Prayer experience lead by Visitation Companion Brian Mogren. On this particular day, our circle convenes in special celebration to honor and welcome longtime participant Harriet Oyera’s children from northern Uganda — a family separated by war in that region, and re-united just a week ago.

The coffee is brewed, the treats are laid out, a large sign of welcome has been constructed and posted for this family. Our special guests have not yet arrived, and so after a period of waiting, Brian calls us to be seated and silent. We enter into prayer with the following mantra:

“For you, Oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits.”

I enter into the quiet with a mind full of chatter. Errands to run. Anxiety about holiday plans surfacing. Thoughts of my missing billfold–  including my driver’s license and credit cards– come to mind; “Where did I last put those blessed things?” From my heart arises the latest text about love and life. I think about Harriet, her kids, our friend Dorothy in Ghana.  Thoughts about my deepest desires well in my body; I take a deep breath and try to find calm, center, the quiet. I long for the peaceful emptiness that allows me to recognize God filling me up, renewing my faith, spirit.

“For you, Oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits.”

Mary comes to mind. I see her as a young woman, a teenager, who is unwed and pregnant with Jesus. I breathe in and out and imagine her and the Angel Gabriel in conversation. Mary’s “Yes” to bearing new life resounds in my ears. I wonder, prayerfully, how God is inviting me to fuller life, love, or to be faithful; I wonder how I  am called to say, “Yes”?

I try to get quiet.

“For you, Oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits.”

I breathe in. Out. I empty myself. I am renewed. The Advent song continues in my breathing:  “Truly my hope is in you.” I release. I receive. Over and over again.
And then I hear it. The door opens, and sounds of people quietly entering the space fill the room. Boots are taken off, coats unzipped, items are laid down, I hear the jingling of hangers in the closet.  Four sets of feet creep onto the rug; Harriet and her children take their place among the circle. I continue in my prayer, joyfully, ecstatically, knowing they have arrived.

I smile deeply within myself.

It’s funny what shows up when we have our eyes closed, and our hearts tuned toward God. In this Advent season of waiting, hoping, preparing for a babe to enter, in this circle of quiet meditation,  we literally receive a mother and her children. It feels like the Divine entering and reminding us of Love’s abundance, power, grace, miracle. This experience gives me pause and inspires my further prayer.

What do you hear, notice, when you get quiet and repeat the following:

“For you, Oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits”?

Advent blessings!

4 Responses

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  1. “O, Emmanuel, come to my heart; I still look for the joy your Christmas brings.”

  2. What a blessing that you shared. Beautiful life! Joy. Gratitude. Hope. Life, life, life.

    “For you, Oh Lord, my soul in stillness waits”?

    Question: what is the difference between soul and spirit? that keeps coming up for me this week. Maybe here is will I get my answer.

    nereidag@springisd.org

  3. Hey Neri! Did you find an answer to your question about the difference between soul and spirit? When considering a human being, I think of the soul and spirit within as very much the same thing. I’m not a theologian, so from my own lay perspective I differentiate slightly imagining an animating force of the soul to be the spirit. All flow from and are connected to our God, which we know as a the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. How’s that? My two cents! I hope it’s helpful!

    Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde,
    Visitation Companion

  4. “I wonder, prayerfully, how God is inviting me to fuller life, love, or to be faithful; I wonder how I am called to say, “Yes”?”

    I wonder how/if God may invite you to say YES to sharing the story of Xavi Jean with others. Talk about living through an invitation to fuller life, love, faithfulness and saying yes.
    Whatever the invitation(s) may be, I know that you will step out in faith and say YES.

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