Advent calendar reflection for 6 December

Black and white image of nine women

CAFOD's first Family Fast Day collected £6,673 in fundraising for the Dominica mother and baby clinic.

“...they went up on the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles… in front of Jesus.” 

Luke 5:19

It's worth taking a moment to imagine what life would be like for the paralysed man in today’s gospel. He is totally dependent on others to feed, dress, clean and carry him. Nothing medical can be done. His situation looks hopeless.  

What he does have, though, are four very good friends. Their love for him and their faith in Jesus is clear in their imaginative solution as they dismantle the roof to lower him down. This active faith is rewarded, as the paralysed man receives both forgiveness and physical healing. 

Faith in action 

CAFOD was born nearly 60 years ago, after a group of Catholic women came together to show their friendship with their global neighbours and put their faith into action. 

In order to raise money for a mother and baby healthcare scheme in the Caribbean island of Dominica, they organised the first Family Fast Day. Children were asked to give up sweets and adults to make just one main meal for the family and donate what they saved. The generous response of the Catholic community far exceeded the original goal.  

One of the organisers, Elspeth Orchard, said simply: “We weren’t doing anything special; we were just doing what we thought we ought to do, remembering that we are all God’s children.” 

This Advent, as we remember we are all God’s children, let’s look for ways to put our faith into action. 

Advent prayer

Loving God,
help us to be good friends
to our sisters and brothers throughout the world,
remembering we are God’s children.
Inspire us to put our faith into action
and so be instruments of your healing and love.


Join us in giving thanks for the role of women’s organisations in creating CAFOD and for the support they continue to give.

Pray with us

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