Embark on a healing journey accompanied by the Holy Family this Advent| National Catholic Register

This season “in a way invites us to reflect on the recovery of the family,” Sister Miriam James Heidland writes in a new journal.

Sister Miriam James Heidland’s latest book, See: A Guided Advent Journal for Prayer and Meditation, invites readers to transform this season of Advent. Like her prayer and meditation diary during Lent To recover (released January 2022), See takes readers on a journey of inner healing, this time with a special emphasis on members of the Holy Family.

As Sister Miriam notes in her introduction to the book, “Advent in a way invites us to reflect on the restoration of the family. … The more we can allow God to heal us as children and parents, the more our families will take on the likeness of the Holy Family.”

With beautiful illustrations by Josiah Henley to introduce each week of Advent, the book leads readers to meditate on our relationship with our mothers besides Mary as Healer, our relationship with our fathers besides Joseph as Protector, our childhood with the Child Jesus, and on the restoration of our families with the Holy Family.

The format of See is simple: Each day begins with a prayer or Bible verse from the daily readings, moves into a short meditation, provides space for readers to answer a reflection question based on the meditations, and ends with a prayer. Drawing on the deep well of her spiritual motherhood as a member of the sisters of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and her involvement in the healing work, Sister Miriam is not afraid to ask thought-provoking questions. For example, in the St. Joseph section, one of her questions is, “Where do you need the gift of male perseverance in your life today?” How have you experienced male perseverance in the past?” In the Child Jesus section, she asks, “What is your experience playing as a child and now? In what ways are you connecting with and out of your playfulness today? What does Jesus want to say to you with this?”

In the “How to Use This Journal” section after the “Introduction,” Sister Miriam explains that “See is for anyone who wants to experience Advent as a healing journey that leads you to explore the crevices of your heart. The season of Advent is the ideal time to step back from your life and evaluate where you stand against God, yourself and others.”

Most inspiring to this reviewer was Sister Miriam’s intention See to be used in groups. “There’s something special about taking this Advent journey with a community, whether that community is your entire parish, a small group, or your family,” she says. While sharing in a group certainly requires vulnerability, it is nice that readers are invited to mirror the Holy Family by gathering with others whose presence reminds us that we are part of the Body of Christ. Sister Miriam also notes that the book works well as a tool for personal reflection and prayer.

To fill in See, Sister Miriam has created a series of videos to accompany the four weeks of Advent and Christmas, which can be found on the Ave Maria Press website. She points out that this time of year when we get together with family and friends can be difficult for some. Family is precious; it is also where some of us have been hurt, because families are made up of fallible people.

“Each of us this side of heaven has places in our hearts where we need to be brought into wholeness and fellowship, and honestly where we long for it,” Sister Miriam reflects in the introductory video. “And so the Lord wants to bring us home.” By resting with the Holy Family and meditating on our own families this Advent, the hope is that our relationships with both our families and the Holy Family will be strengthened, healed and restored.

Advent is a time when space is made for Jesus. What better way to prepare our beloved Lord’s room than to come into deeper fellowship with those God has placed in our lives? This path to deeper community may require our fiat for healing. Let the joyful, tender Sister Miriam be your guide on this journey, that your heart may be stretched, grown and opened more fully in preparation for his arrival at Christmas.
Lindsey Weishar writes from Kansas City.

Embark on a healing journey accompanied by the Holy Family this Advent| National Catholic Register

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