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Sunday Micro Retreat – December 18, 2022

As you begin your time of reflection, try to realize that you are standing on holy ground and in the presence of God who wants to talk to you and listen to you.

Make the Sign of the Cross. The Holy Spirit is opening your heart and mind so the Word of God that you are about to read can flourish in you for God's glory. Pray that you continue to work with his grace. Let the words or your prayer flow from your mind through your heart. Try to "feel" what you are saying.

Is there anything you would like to ask God now? What graces does your heart desire?
Talk to God about it.

Today, we ask for the grace of understanding what it means to be a child of God.

Now read the Sunday's Gospel:

The birth of Jesus the Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.

But just when he had resolved to do this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the Prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife. (Matthew 11:18-24)

The Word of God touches everyone differently. If there is anything that really stood out for you in this reading, meditate on it. Go to the depths of your heart and listen to what God is trying to say to you.

Next, let's spend some time with a couple of points that you may consider during this Sunday's Retreat:

1. ... a righteous man ...

Joseph had to have a strong relationship with God in order to be able to have such an understanding and loving heart. As a righteous man, he showed a lot of compassion and mercy in a situation that would call for very harsh justice in the eyes of the world. He made the decision to protect the woman whom he loved, even though he did not fully comprehend Mary's pregnancy.

Thus, let how you respond to challenges be the thermometer that shows how cold/hot your relationship with God is.
What can you say about your reactions to unexpected situations? Especially difficult, unexpected situations? For example, a quarrel, a betrayal of your friendship, or rejection by others? Are the painful events/moments/situations change who you are? Can you still show love and mercy towards those who are the source of your suffering? Or are you ending those relationships trying to hide from other unpleasant situations that may appear in the future? Imagine that you are Joseph. What would you do if you were in his shoes?

2. ... you are to name him ...

In antiquity, by agreeing to name a child, the man was making a public statement that he was the father of the child. Naming a child was a very serious matter, as names were associated with a character or a specific calling of that individual. Keeping this in mind, reflect on another passage from Isaiah 43:1, where God states, "I have called you by name." God is making a public statement that you are his child, and he is your father. How do you feel about it? How do you feel as a child of God? What does it mean for you? How do you feel about the name that you were given? Is there a particular history associated with your name? Is there a specific calling 'hidden' in your name? If you have never looked into it, it may be a good exercise to reflect on why you have this, not another name.

You may end this retreat by reading Isaiah 43:1-7. This passage describes who you are in the eyes of God.

It is good to keep a personal journal in which reflections that stood out for you are recorded. The outcome of those Sunday Micro Retreats is good material that you can talk about in your spiritual direction.

prayer - 4th Sunday of Advent Year A, meditation with Matthew 11:18-24


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