Monday of Advent II – Prayer of the Week

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Think back to the last time your heart was stirred up. Was it stirred up in love? Was it stirred by fear? Was it anger? Was it excited over some new thing or an opportunity? A stirred-up heart is an emotional and unsettled thing. It usually makes us uncomfortable and it usually portents some change.

She was a study abroad student. He had graduated from the local Catholic high school with high marks. They met in my class the first day of the semester and sat by each other every day thereafter in my class. Their hearts were stirred. You could see it in the way they talked to one another and did not pay enough attention to the professor. Their hearts were stirred up in love and it changed the way they did so many things.

I suppose God could stir up our hearts with fear and trembling. I need a little of that too once in a while. But the prayer goes on to suggest that this stirring up leads to serving God with a pure mind. And that takes love, I think. The two young people in my class were both bright and often provided the spark of insight which carried the conversation forward. They on several occasions did not fold up their notebooks and bolt out of class as soon as the period had ended. They had more questions. I suppose that a purely rational outlook would have attributed this positive contribution to the class to their prior experiences and native intelligence, but I rather think that hearts astir with a little love, even the sort of love you might find in a pair of college students, opened them up to other love, divine love.

Does your heart still skip a beat when someone walks into the room? Do you rejoice in a smile, an embrace, or another’s hand held in your hand? I pray you do, or if that person is gone, that you remember such a stirring of your heart. When you are in love, you perform acts of kindness and courtship. You give gifts just to give them. You speak words just so the other may hear them. It changes the way and motives for the way you live. Stir up our hearts, we pray today, so we may make ready the way of Jesus, so we may serve with a pure mind. Stir us up, O Lord!

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