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Psalm 50; Isaiah 9: 18-10: 4; Matthew 3: 1-12

Advent is a time of remembrance of God’s faithfulness to us and of our self-transcendent journey into the all-consuming love of God. But, how do we proceed? Our prayer often gives us clues. By committing intentional time to be with God— in whatever form it takes—we open ourselves to God’s presence. And while we may not have any felt-sense of God nor receive any special guidance during our prayer, the fact that we make space to be with God demonstrates our willingness to deepen the relationship we wish to have with God, with our neighbors, and with all of creation. By doing this, we also become more open to recognize and receive that which we most need. And, if we pray the Scriptures—or allow the Scriptures to pray through us—we give ourselves the opportunity to reflect on, and be led by, the time-honored wisdom of our tradition.

Taking today’s readings as a composite, we encounter the theme of our misdeeds and of God as our merciful judge. These Scriptures illumine God’s will for us to be a people of compassion and contrition, and ask us to “offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 50:14, BCP). Thus, these texts invite us into a life of goodness and gratitude and of bearing witness to God’s love as depicted in the birth and life of Jesus. It is often difficult to live the lives to which we aspire. However, our liturgical seasons such as Advent, offer an occasion to pause and reflect on how we may more intentionally live faithfully in response to God’s ever-present faithfulness to us.

Oh, loving and ever-present God, uphold us on our
journeys through this season of Advent. Help us to reach
out to others in love as an act of thanksgiving for the
many ways You nourish and guide our lives. Amen.


Dr. Leslie A. Hay
Adjunct Faculty and Spiritual Director
Seminary of the Southwest




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Leslie has served as a spiritual director for individuals, both lay and ordained, students and seminarians for over 20 years. She helped launch The Seton Cove, an innovative, interfaith spirituality center in Austin, Texas where she served as Director of Spirituality for five years. She serves as a faculty member for “Formation in Direction (FIND),” a spiritual direction training program of the Diocese of Texas since 1998, where she worked with other faculty to write and implement curriculum. Hay is the author of Hospitality: The Heart of Spiritual Direction (Morehouse Publishing, 2006), which was commissioned by Morehouse and endorsed by Spiritual Directors International.
BS and MA, Central Missouri State University; Doctor of Ministry, Graduate Theological Foundation, South Bend, Indiana; Certificate of Completion, Spiritual Direction Internship, Beech Grove Benedictine Center, Indiana, in conjunction with Christian Theological Seminary.