The Presence Class is comprised of a group of contemplative individuals who have been meeting together for several years. Our purpose is to strive to be continually awake to the certain presence of God in us, in others, and in all living things; to live with intention; and to try to discern God’s purpose for our lives. We do this by reading and contemplation of a variety of materials, group discussion and through an active prayer life. We also engage in meditation (both group and individual) to “listen with the heart” for God’s voice. We acknowledge that this is a life-long work, which requires patience and commitment.
On Saturday, December 4, 2010, a group of St. Stephen’s parishioners gathered for a day of prayer in the nave of St. Stephen’s on invitation to the parish by The Presence Group and led by Father Michael Gemignani. He invited those present to write our own Advent Collects. The following are some of those collects and prayers.
Collects and Prayers for The Advent Season
Oh God who exists throughout time yet came to us in human form to comfort and strengthen us in our now. Help us to see your presence in our present and be assured that today is enough. Through Christ our steadfast Savior. Amen
Omnipotent God, help us to always remember your works in our lives. Each day that we spread your works, make our prayers go up to you and to your son, our Lord Jesus Christ. With the gift of your Holy Spirit may every day left to us be a testament of your power in us and for us always. Amen
Generous, transcendent God, grant me, by your mercy, the strength to wait, to still my- self and my spirit, that I may know your continual incarnation. That as you took on my humanity, I might begin to see within me your divinity. Beloved God, thank you that by you and through you transformation is possible. Amen
Gracious Father who knows the depths of our hearts, bestow upon us today the grace to grow in spirit so that all we do in our daily lives reflects your glory. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Loving, patient God, who creates and moves through all with infinite patience and in perfect time, please help me to keep my heart, mind, and spirit awake and open to your will for my one life in your creation. I ask to be still and patient as I listen to discern how I am to be lived each day through you and for you -the only eternal source for all that is, now and forever. Amen
Oh, Bountiful God, you have given me the gift of your Presence in my life, gradually over the years you have revealed your nature through the love & kindness of friends and family and through the abundances of the natural world. I ask that you continue to re- mind me that it is through your generosity and gracious will that I am so fortunate and to help me to share these gifts with all others in my life. I ask this in the name of your son Jesus, born of Mary, who lives with the Holy Spirit within your holy bosom. Amen
Loving & Merciful Mother Creator & Savior, I surrender the need to know the unknow- able and what lies ahead. Grant me patience as I await the unfolding plan you have for my life. May I always be willing to serve your highest purpose. Amen
Oh God, the One, the Light, help me be present to each dawn; for only then do I know your will, for only then will I walk the path of the Anointed One, Christ, the Word. Amen.
Oh merciful Lord, who sent Prophets and Sages to give us knowledge of your plan to send us Christ whose sacrifice removed our sins, in this Season of Preparation open our hearts and minds to receive Christ so we may be witnesses of your Grace. In the Name of Christ we pray. Amen
Heavenly Father, Loving God, Holy and Righteous One of all, open my mind to your spirit and deepen my understanding of your love in my heart, so that I can welcome Advent in a more spiritual way, so to prepare me to be more open to others as you are open to me. Amen
You are the most gracious and merciful God who brought the miracle of light and life to your people in the body of a small child born in a lowly place. We wait and watch during this holy season in our own lowly places. We pray that through your grace we may be filled anew with the wonder of this season. We pray that you work through us so that we may, in turn, give your light to those who live in darkness, your words to whose who have no hearing, and your peace to those who have no rest. Amen.
Carlyn Scott Chuck Luke Lory Garrett