“In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.” - Psalm 23:2-3a
Today we hear what is probably the best known Psalm from the Bible. Easily recognizable by the opening line “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” it is the verses that follow immediately after that line that grabbed my attention.
This week has been all about preparation for the coming of Jesus in the manger and we have been asking ourselves what we can do in order to be ready for Him. Our hearts, our lives, our everything is crying out to be ready to welcome Him into this world at Christmas. But in the midst of us asking how we are supposed to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord, we forget the simplicity of the Psalmist’s message. Psalm 23 clearly states that “he gives me repose… he leads me… he refreshes my soul.”
There is so much to do in order to be ready for the coming of the Lord, but maybe we need to ask ourselves what we need to accept from the Lord to help our preparation. We cannot do this on our own, we will never be ready in time for the coming of Christ if we do not let God work within us. Instead we are called to follow God and obediently entrust ourselves to His goodness and mercy.
And so today, halfway through the first week of Advent, I want to encourage you to let go of all that is holding you back from accepting the Lord’s help in your Advent preparation. Instead of looking for ways to work on yourself through your own means, sit and wait on the Lord. Perhaps this means spending thirty minutes in Adoration in a quiet chapel or church. Perhaps it means taking the 15 minutes before you go to sleep tonight to just sit in silence and be patient. No matter what you choose to do, allow today to be a day for you to let go of all of your work and allow the Lord to bring you to the restful waters that refresh your soul.
Let us pray,
Lord God, let us not grow so much in our willfulness to prepare our hearts that we forget to allow you to guide that work. May you be at the heart of all we do and may it be your hand that guides us, not our own. Refresh our souls today and every day so we might be able to do what you desire of us. Amen.
This reflection was written by Kevin Effron
Kevin Effron is a first year Master of Divinity student at the University of Notre Dame. He is working at Verso Ministries this year as his ministry placement for his M.Div. and is the proud creator and organizer of Prepare the Way. Kevin hopes that you find this retreat as fruitful to meditate upon as he did while helping to put it all together.