Take a deep breath as you remind yourself:
This hour is just for you and for the Lord.
Make a choice now to be fully present,
to be fully attentive.
To do that,
to quiet down,
you need to slow yourself down.
We begin this recollection in Nazareth
with a young girl–
probably no more than fourteen–
and her unexpected visitor.
Read this brief and familiar Gospel passage
as mindfully and prayerfully as you can.
Yes, it is about Mary and the visiting angel Gabriel.
The angel’s greeting said it all.
She didn’t know it then–
in fact, no one else had a clue!–
but that visit from the angel Gabriel
signaled a radical shift in human history.
God’s favor upon Mary
was a favor bestowed upon all of humanity:
The birth of the Messiah gives us all a reason to hope.
How about you?
How have you been?
Take time to take a step back
and think about your life:
How are you feeling?
How has life been treating you–
especially in these extraordinary times?
With all that’s going in the world
and in your own life,
have you managed to remain hopeful?
Spend some time
mulling over your life and yourself.
They’re worth “wasting time” on.
Let the following piece of instrumental music
slow you down and ease you
into your reflection.
It’s only five minutes long.
Close your eyes
if you think it will help.
Feel free to linger here even after the music ends.
Whenever you feel ready, proceed to NEXT.