Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Review -- Advent and Lent

I cannot believe that it is already November. What is harder to believe is that Advent -- you know, that blessedly peaceful time of reflection and preparation -- yea, that Advent -- starts two weeks after this coming Sunday.

It is ok to scream now, but only once. I come bearing help.

I have reviewed an Irish Jesuit website before called Sacred Space. It may be the largest prayer website in the world. The idea behind Sacred Space is to provide a few short ideas to think about and a scripture passage for meditation every day. Millions of people (including lots of non-Catholics) pray there every month. A while ago they started putting out a book with a whole year of their prayers in it. Before that they started posting materials for a one-day, self-directed Lenten retreat. I'm addicted to their Lenten Retreat. I can no longer imagine Good Friday without it.

This year they have done something a little different. At least, I don't recall having seen this before. They have published two small booklets: Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2008 -- 2009 (it actually ends the first Sunday in January, Epiphany, as it should -- these Catholics know the Liturgical Calendar). The second is Sacred Space for Lent 2009. The best part? Each one comes with a prepared one-day, self-directed retreat. Yes, that's right. I can now get addicted to a Lenten retreat and an Advent retreat. Oh, and the price? They are $2.25 a piece. I paid as much in shipping from Amazon as the books cost me.

If you aren't familiar with the website the daily prayers are organized into weeks. Each week starts with a kind of introduction which is used each day of that week. That is followed by the Scripture passages for each day of that week.

The retreats come with a suggested timetable starting at 9:30 in the morning and running through 4:00 in the afternoon. (Yes, there is a lunch break -- in fact, there are several breaks planned in.) Each retreat includes a preparatory period, three hour-long prayer periods with scripture and some useful supplemental material; and finally, a review period at the end.

I will use these for myself. I will do both retreats. I am already trying to figure out which Friday in December I can take off from work. I would love to know if any of you find ways to use these in your churches or a small group.

So, take a deep breath. Need devotional materials, retreat materials, something for a small group, a spot of peace for yourself? You're handled -- right up to Easter.



Gannet Girl said...
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Gannet Girl said...
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Gannet Girl said...

I give up. I was trying to create a link, but I always leave something crucial out. All I wanted to say was that I use either Sacred Space or Pray as You Go, or both, every day, and that the music on Pray as you Go is terrific.

jcaprell said...

I've used Sacred Space for many years now. No every day, but most. The discipline is hard to attain, but worth the effort.

Jody Harrington said...

I didn't know about this, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm going to check it out. Thanks so much for this post!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love these Sacred Space books. The Advent and Lent are perfect to read on-the-go because they're pocket-size. The big prayerbook goes all year and I love it!

Sarahlynn said...

The only downside . . . they're so small that I lost my Advent book the first week of December this year! (I never found it again, so I'm afraid it was recycled with the junk mail. Alas.)