Members of the Bourbonnais/Kankakee region gathered for an Advent prayer service last week, and not surprisingly they opened the morning by singing an adaptation of Mary’s Magnificat.

Br. John Eustice and Br. Jhobany put the Advent service together.

Br. John Eustice, CSV, and Br. Jhobany Orduz, CSV, designed the guided meditation around the visitation of the Angel Gabriel, informing Mary that she would be carrying Christ into the world.

What might have been her initial reaction, they asked. We know she said yes, but how long did it take her to answer affirmatively?

“Everyone was encouraged to think about how Mary’s relationship with God was cultivated in order for the ‘yes,’ ” Br. Eustice said.

Members also heard the gospel reading for the first Sunday of Advent, taken from Mark, 13:33-37, which opens with this familiar passage: “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

They went on to reflect on an excerpt from Pope Francis’ homily on the first Sunday of Advent from 2020, where he describes prayer and loving as being watchful.

“When we pray, we light a candle in the darkness,” Pope Francis said. “Prayer rouses us from the tepidity of a purely horizontal existence and makes us lift our gaze to higher things; it makes us attuned to the Lord. Prayer allows God to be close to us; it frees us from our solitude and gives us hope.”

In continuing with their guided meditation, the group asked: What do you do personally do to prepare your heart to say yes to God?  How do you build your relationship with God to be able to hear or understand what God is inviting you to do?

Associate Susan Bourgeois played an adaptation of Mary’s Magnificat.

The themed reflection was particularly moving for the associates and professed Viatorians, with Associate Marilyn Mulcahy saying: “It was a beautiful way to start the liturgical year.”

Associate Paula Wasser agreed, adding: “It was a wonderful time to reflect on Mary’s ‘yes.’ ”

“The morning concluded,” Br. Eustice adds, “with the community offering prayers for the people we serve, the world and the Viatorian Community.”