Birds flying from trees
Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Gifts of Advent Day 3: Don’t Forget to Breathe

Nov 30, 2021
The Gifts of Advent Day 3: Don’t Forget to Breathe

Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and the man became a living being.
—Genesis 2:7


I have an Apple watch and one of the built-in apps is called Breathe. It can be set up with notifications to remind you to take time for mindful breathing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled at it, “I don’t have time to breathe right now!” Even when what I mean is “I can’t stop what I’m doing and close my eyes and do one to three minutes of deep breathing.”

But sometimes it hits me that at times I do become so busy and stressed that I don’t take time to breathe. Irony of ironies, while I was lying in the ER last December, my watched pinged and said, “A minute of deep breathing can clear your mind and help you focus.” Yes, thank you, I’m on fourteen liters of oxygen at the moment! My mind should be clear as a bell!

There’s something a little bit crazy about using our technology to remind us of the simplest functions. I joke that my phone and my watch remind me to breathe, stand, and drink water. But it’s a sign of how often we forget to do these things. And the many mindfulness apps available for our smartphones and computers can be a great help in changing our habits and routines.

My watch isn’t wrong. A few minutes of deep breathing is an easy and refreshing way to take a break, clear my mind, check my body for stress-related aches, and get a renewed start on the tasks of the day. Long before we relied on technology, spiritual teachers in all the great religious traditions developed exercises that incorporate breathing into a prayer practice. It clears our spirits and opens a path for God’s loving voice to break through.


Support the friars this Advent!

Take a Deep Breath

Commit yourself to just five minutes to sit silently with God, feeling the breath of the Spirit with each breath you take. You might want to say a prayer with each breath: “Come, Lord Jesus,” “Emmanuel, God with us,” or “Creator of the stars of night” are good reminders of this season of Advent. The traditional Jesus prayer—“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”—is a good way to focus your breathing. In the coming days, we will suggest Scripture passages as well.

A Simple Gift

One of the great blessings of technology is the easy availability of a wide variety of daily prayers. Through email, smartphone apps, and websites, we can find new ways to access the great spiritual riches of our tradition. Spend some time today looking for something that will enhance your prayer time during this Advent season. And if you’re not into technology, there’s no shortage of traditional paper resources.


Did you miss a day so far? Click here to catch up!



Comments

Louise Deutsch
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 08:04 AM
Louise Deutsch
Super reflection. Thanks
Rose Frerick OSF
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 08:40 AM
Rose Frerick OSF
Thanks for sharing and helping us to remember the various ways we do (and can) pray.
Laura
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 08:51 AM
Laura
Beautiful. Just what I needed today. Thank you.
Phil Milan
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 09:11 AM
Phil Milan
Brilliant. Be still and know that I'm God.
Lupe Rosales
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 09:43 AM
Lupe Rosales
Looking forward to taking breaks to just breathe and be with God. Thank you.
Juliette
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 09:48 AM
Juliette
So lovely! Breathing of the Holy Spirit to all the world, and the Creator of the Stars of Night - just look up! God's gift.
Renee
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 10:11 AM
Renee
Love this. It's a great reminder.
Rita
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 11:32 AM
Rita
Such a great way to journey through Advent to stop and just breathe! Thank you!
Samuel
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 11:39 AM
Samuel
Breathe is life. Jesus is life. It's a moment of rethink.
Cindy
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 11:50 AM
Cindy
We make everything complicated in life. Then here is this example of speaking and listening to God that only requires me. No pretentiousness, just me and God, who loves me in spite of my faults! Praise the Lord!
John Seryak
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 03:52 PM
John Seryak
Most excellent reflection. This evening my wife and I will go out for dinner to celebrate our 48th. Wedding Anniversary. We'll sit, eat, and enjoy each other's company in the 'old people's way'. Our good Lord has blessed us greatly on this journey together and we'll find the time to invite G-d into our dining this evening.
Jim Grant
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 07:05 PM
Jim Grant
So glad that I signed up for this Advent gift from Franciscan Media, and was reminded how important it is to take a moment to just breathe!
Bruce
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 08:28 PM
Bruce
Every evening after dinner, my wife and I sit together for 15 minutes of silent, contemplative prayer. A very special, wonderful time alone with God.
mlbird
Wed, 12/01/2021 - 12:10 AM
mlbird
Beautiful
Marcia Smith
Thu, 12/02/2021 - 04:24 AM
Marcia Smith
Excellent reminder! God's breath is in me; I must not forget! God's air is around me, I will breathe in and experience the refreshing!
George
Thu, 12/02/2021 - 10:45 AM
George
Breathe...is a struggle for people who have COPD. Nonetheless, I found this "talk" instructive.
Dcn. Kevin
Thu, 12/02/2021 - 09:49 PM
Dcn. Kevin
Fr. Mark, what a beautiful reflection. God speaks to us sometimes in ways that only I understand...a reminder that each one of us is known to God. As a parent loves a child always, God is there for us. A most blessed Advent to you Fr. Mark. What a wonderful surprise to see you again!

Add new comment