Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 22 December

Elisa da Silva, 39, with her six children in Brazil CAFOD

Elisa da Silva, 39, lives a simple life but has great faith

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord… The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.

Luke 1:46–55

Mary’s prayer is full of wonder for the magnificence of God. She praises the Lord, who looks upon her with mercy and saves the poor and humble.

This ancient prayer calls us to live in solidarity with the poorest of our sisters and brothers.

Elisa da Silva, 39, lives in northern Brazil with her six children. Like Mary, Elisa lives a simple life but has great faith.

Elisa and her family are Macuxi, an indigenous people who have struggled for many years to protect their territory from invading rice farmers and mining companies. Despite their land being legally recognised in 2009, they still face many challenges, and are experiencing the impact of climate change.

Elisa’s husband, Denanson, often goes to the river and brings home food for the family to eat. But the river is drying up, and it’s becoming a struggle to find nourishing food, like meat and fish. Many days they depend on just rice or cassava flour.

Prayers for our daily bread

“I worry a lot about not having enough food for my children,” Elisa says, “especially when I wake up in the morning with nothing. I say, ‘Oh dear God, I have nothing to give my children.’” 

Fortunately, Elisa is often given paid work. People in her village knock on her door and ask her to clean clothes or cook. This is a huge relief, because it means she can buy food to feed her children.

Elisa worries about leaving her young children behind when she goes out to work. But she has no choice. “Thankfully we have Our Father in heaven to protect them every day,” she says. “I pray that he looks after them, so that nothing bad happens to them.”

This hard-working mother is close to God. She trusts in the Lord for all her needs.

Pope Francis tells us, “Let us never forget Our Father is the prayer of the poor. Our asking for bread expresses our entrustment to God for our basic needs in life.” (World Day of the Poor 2017)

Let us try, like Elisa, to pray to God throughout the day. Let us not cling to riches, but seek to be filled with God’s goodness, and so live in solidarity with our sisters and brothers.  

Advent prayer

Almighty God, you turn the tables on injustice. Inspire us to bring about a world where the hungry have enough to eat, and the lowly are raised high. Blessed Mary, pray for us.

Act

Pray the Our Father in solidarity with our sisters and brothers by watching this short film.

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