By Barb Arland-Fye
Six minutes a day. That’s all “The Little Blue Book” asks of me during the 43 days of the Advent and Christmas seasons.
This booklet, which fits perfectly in my purse, offers Scripture readings from Luke’s Gospel, as well as reflections on Advent and the Christmas seasons, the feast of the day and various traditions and customs.
The editors say the booklet also provides the framework for one of the oldest prayer traditions — Lectio Divina, or sacred reading. This involves reading a brief Scripture passage and letting God speak to us through the words and guide us in reflection.
My parish sells these booklets for just $2 apiece, so I always buy one for me and one for my older son, Colin, who loves to read anything about our Catholic faith. I’ll “share” my booklet with my husband, Steve, and our younger son, Patrick, during evening prayer at home whenever possible.
I took a preview of the booklet last weekend, since the Altar and Rosary Society of our parish, Our Lady of the River in LeClaire, was distributing the booklets for sale.
That Sunday afternoon, I opened the booklet to the facing pages for the First Sunday in Advent. The left-hand page advised me to spend that day’s six minutes with the Lord sketching some ideas in writing about how I can spend the next 26 days of Advent well. The editors suggest my plans include spiritual (where and when I will pray), practical (my gift list), personal (send a Christmas card to someone I haven’t been on good terms with) and charitable (do something for the poor).
The right-hand page offered a brief reflection on Luke’s Infancy Narrative, and ended with a suggestion that as I begin to walk through the first part of Luke’s Gospel I might pray: “Help me God, with these six minutes a day. Open my mind and heart to your Spirit. May all my thoughts have their origin in you.”
And then, I promptly dozed off. It was mid-afternoon, following lunch, and I couldn’t help myself.
Maybe God was letting me know it was OK to rest in his spirit. I felt good after the catnap and had an epiphany of sorts about the need to rest, to take time to replenish my spiritual reservoir. That way I can make the Advent and Christmas season this year especially meaningful and focused on the Lord.
I would encourage anyone to pick up a copy of The Little Blue Book Advent and Christmas Seasons 2009-2010 and spend six minutes a day in reflection. The booklets may be available in your parish or by contacting: Little Books, the Diocese of Saginaw, Inc., P.O. Box 6009, Saginaw, Mich. 48608-6009, or call (989) 797-6653, or fax (989) 797-6606, or visit the Web site at www.littlebooks.org