Advent Day 17: Believe He Can

Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,”So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”


Today’s gospel passage opens by giving Zechariah high praise, but he doesn’t comprehend God’s plans. He was a priest, married into the family of Aaron. Both he and his wife were righteous in the eyes of God, and observed all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. Yet, when the angel told him God’s plan, it was as if all of that went out the window. None of it seemed to help him wrap his mind around how God could possibly do what the angel told him. Because of his doubt, the angel Gabriel gave Zechariah a serious form of the silent treatment! Through Zechariah’s story, God gives us a big reminder not to put restrictions on what God can do that cause us to doubt Him.

Doubt is at the heart of so many troubles in our faith today. We can go to Church every Sunday, say our prayers every night, and do amazing things for others in the name of God, but suddenly forget that our God can do the impossible when something difficult happens in life.

Ponder Together:
Think about what God can do in your own life, your marriage, your family, and in the lives of others. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, beyond the power of God and what He can do. No sin is too big, no sinner is too far away from God’s loving and saving arms, and there is no miracle beyond God’s power.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:34

This Advent Season be reminded again to hold onto the hope that God gives you, and to keep your trust in Him. Remember that no matter how dark the day is or how bleak the situation, God is with you, as we reflected on yesterday. He can and will do amazing things for you, for your marriage, your family, and for the world.

Pray Together:
The Canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1: 68-79):
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to His people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of His servant David.
Through His holy prophets He promised of old that He would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant. This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Plan Together:
Christmas is less than a week away – it will be here before we know it. Take a moment today and make a plan to visit the adoration chapel together, go to confession, or make it to a daily Mass. Additionally, at home, make a plan to go through some of the closets and see what items you can donate. As you prepare your hearts and your home for the coming of Jesus, declutter your hearts of sin and bask in the “son.” Allow Him to pave the way for His coming, smoothing out each nook and cranny. Meanwhile, declutter your home and take note of all the extra things that are unnecessary for you but could be useful to others who are in need, and purge your closets giving rightly to those who have not. It feels good to bless others, as you will find yourself doubly blessed.

Advent Day 16: God With Us

Today’s Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.


The Gospel reading for today reminds us of what the Advent Season and Christmas reveal to us: God is with us. God did not abandon us. He did not leave us. He did not forget about us. While the story only begins with the birth of Jesus, we must not rush forward and miss this message: God is with us. We must not forget that we have a God who did not turn His back on His people, but instead came to save them. He came to invite us into a deeper union with Him than we had before the Fall. God is good and God is with us! Emmanuel!

Ponder Together:
When something amazing or profound happened to Our Lady in Sacred Scripture, she “kept these things in her heart” (cf. Lk 2:19, 51). Today let us keep this one thing echoing in your hearts: “God is with us.” And if God is with us…
He will protect us (cf. Heb. 13: 5-6)
He will comfort us (cf. Ps. 23:4)
He will provide for us (cf. Mt 6:33)
He will help us (cf. Is 41:13)
He will strengthen us (cf. Is 41:10)
He will save us (cf. Ps. 18:2)
He will make all things new (cf. Rev. 21:5)

Pray Together:
The Benedictus, Canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1: 68-79)
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to His people and sent them free. He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of His servant David. Through His holy prophets He promised of old that He would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant. This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Plan Together:
A week from now is Christmas day! Just as Advent is a Season, Christmas is a Season. Christmas will begin on December 25th and it ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Just as you have had to be intentional throughout Advent, you must also be intentional in Christmas. What are your plans for Christmas, not just that morning or that day but for the season? How will the two of you celebrate the Season of Christmas?

Click below to find some great ideas that you can do to help you celebrate the Season of Christmas:
USCCB and the Christmas Season
Catholic Icing’s Christmas Crafts and Activities for Kids

Advent Day 15: Testify Together

Today’s Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?”

He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,’make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him,”Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


Just as today’s Gospel begins, we too have been sent from God by virtue of our baptism. We have a God-given mission to “go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel” (Mk 16:15). How that is carried out in our lives will look different from person to person, but the fact remains that we are all called to go out. We must go out of our rooms and into our homes, go out of our homes and into the neighborhood, into our town or city, Church Parish, workplace, store, restaurant, voting booth, and everywhere else carrying the gospel. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we should proclaim the good news in love.

“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

St. John the Baptist teaches us not to be a robot with a rote recorded message. He lived a very devout life. His words are coming out of a life lived for God, and so he brings witness and testimony before he even says a word. While we may not be called to wear what he wore, eat what he ate, or live where he lived, we are called to devote our life to the Lord. We are called to turn away from that which takes us away from God, and do the things that foster our relationship with God and show love to our neighbor.

“Charity and devotion are no more different from one another than flame from fire. Charity is a spiritual fire; when it is embraced it is called ‘devotion’.” – St. Francis de Sales

St. John the Baptist also teaches us about our call to be humble before the Lord. Of all the devotions and strict observances that St. John the Baptist observed, he never felt himself to be justified for anything. He testified that he was not even worthy to untie the sandals of the One who was to come. Compare that with what was said by the Pharisee in Luke 18 – he rattled off all that he had done according to the law, but in the end none of it was worth anything. St. John fasted, sacrificed, prayed, and lived a devout life, but it was from a humble heart. He knew that nothing he had done could undo his need for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” – St. Augustine

Ponder Together:
“No one reaches the kingdom of Heaven except by humility.” – St Augustine

Pray Together:
In light of what we read today about St. John the Baptist, as well as what he said in John 3:30 (“He must increase; I must decrease”), let us pray for the grace to decrease so that Christ our Lord and Savior may increase in us.

Please pray the Litany of Humility by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen

Plan Together:
Make a plan today to reflect again on the above litany during your private prayer time. Was there anything in the litany that was hard to pray for? If there was something that stuck out to you, bring it to God and talk with Him about it. Ask Him for the grace to let go of everything and anything that would prevent His increase in your life and in your marriage.

Advent Day 6: According to Your Word

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today’s Gospel:
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her,”Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.‘


Christianity is not a spectator sport. God wants us all in the game, not on the sidelines. All of us have a very important role to play. Everyday we draw breath we are invited to share in His work of love in the world. No matter how young or old, rich or poor, sick or healthy – we all can love, serve, and carry out God’s will, bringing Christ into the world.  

Consider Mary – the first one to be saved, from the moment of her conception, and the first one to follow Jesus. In her we can see that all of us are called to say “yes” to the Lord and to do His will. In our own fiat, we bring Christ’s love and presence into the world.

Mary is our model of the perfect follower of Christ. Mary was the first to welcome Jesus into her life. She was the first one to love Jesus and to follow Jesus. Her intimacy with the Lord from the moment he was conceived and throughout his life on earth, through his public ministry, and now in heaven, cannot be compared with any other follower of Christ. Let us, with humble hearts, ask Our Lady to help us draw closer to the Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ponder Together:
Do we view our marriage and our family as playing an important role in bringing Christ into the world? In Advent we are not just preparing for welcoming Jesus anew in our hearts, but also to share in the work of Christ. How can we say “yes” to God and help bring Christ into the world in a new way?

Pray Together:
“O my Divine Savior, Transform me into Yourself. May my hands be the hands of Jesus. Grant that every faculty of my body may serve only to glorify You. Above all, Transform my soul and all its powers so that my memory, will and affection may be the memory, will and affections of Jesus. I pray You to destroy in me all that is not of You. Grant that I may live but in You, by You and for You, So that I may truly say, with St. Paul, “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me”. – St. John Gabriel Perboyre

Plan Together:
The goal of marriage is to bring each other closer to God. We must not grow weary nor lack zeal in prayer for each other. Starting today and for the rest of Advent, set an alarm on your phone and pray an extra ‘Our Father’, ‘Hail Mary’, and ‘Glory Be’ for your spouse. Ask your spouse what you would like you to pray for specifically for them.