Faith Matters

Advent: Finding refreshment in a lakeshore meditation

In their second Advent reflection, Brendan McManus SJ and Jim Deeds, authors of Finding God in the Mess, challenge us to spend time with Jesus

Brendan McManus SJ and Jim Deeds

TAKE a few minutes in relaxed meditation. You might want to read the Gospel of John, chapter 21, verses 9-14.

"When the disciples landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish you have just caught.'

"So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.

"Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples dared ask him, 'Who are you?' They knew it was the Lord.

"Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead."

But you don't need to catch fish to enjoy this meditation.

Find yourself a place to sit or lie down. Breathe easily for a few minutes. Notice the breath go in and go out again.

Feel what it does to your body as your chest and stomach rise with the breath in and then fall again with the breath out. Feel your body and its rhythm, as you breathe.

As the seconds pass by, you may feel your body get heavier on the chair or bed.

This is good. This is a sign you are relaxing.

Now use the sight of your mind's eye - your imagination.

Compose a scene. You are by the shore of a lake at first light.

The waters are still and the shore is rocky. The sky is clear and the morning sun is shining down. Use your senses to create this place in your mind.

What do you see about you? What do you hear? What do you smell?

By the shore, there is a small charcoal fire burning. There is some bread cooking on the fire, as well as some small fish.

Again, use your senses here. See the flames dance. Hear the fire crackle. Smell the smoke and the food cooking.

Now, see yourself sitting by the heat of the fire. The fire is warming you and creating a sense of safety.

As you sit here, Jesus comes and sits beside you. He has cooked the food and he has come to share it with you. What does his face look like? What does he wear?

Jesus holds you in a loving gaze, the depth and compassion of which you have never experienced before. It is clear that you are the apple of his eye. What do you say to him? What does he say to you?

Spend as much time as you want in the company of Jesus around this fire, talking and listening.

When you are ready, leave the fire by the lake and focus once more on your breathing and on your body.

Take three deep and easy breaths. Open your eyes, refreshed and enlightened by your time with Jesus and ready to go on with your day.

Reflection questions

1. What is the conversation that you need to have with Jesus?

2. What is it that you need to say to him?

3. What is it that you need to hear from him?

  • Finding God in the Mess - Meditations for Mindful Living by Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus SJ is published by Messenger Publications. For more information, or to order a copy, click here 
  • Next week: Living in joy and beyond happiness

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