Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 8 December

Claudelice stands in the Amazon

Claudelice Silva dos Santos works to protect the Amazon forest where she lives

“Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour.” 

Luke 1:30

On this feast day of the Immaculate Conception, we are reminded of how Mary is chosen from the very beginning of her existence to be the Mother of our Lord.

But this does not mean that Mary’s life is easy. She must have courage to say “yes” to what it is that God is asking of her.

Claudelice Silva dos Santos lives in the Brazilian Amazon. When she was a child the forest covered much more of the land, but illegal logging and deforestation for cattle ranching have destroyed vast areas.

Claudelice’s brother, José Claudio, and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo were murdered after years of standing up for their rights and trying to protect the land from deforestation. After she continued her brother’s work to protect the forest, Claudelice also started to receive death threats.

She says, “The Amazon is our life. People ask if I want to move away. But this is my home. My ancestors are here. Although I’m afraid, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. Our rights are being taken away.

“Jose Claudio and Maria were brave. I have to be brave. We keep their memory alive by fighting for the forest.”

This Advent, let us pray that we may also be willing to follow Our Lady’s example of courage in our own lives, as Claudelice does. Let us ask her to be our guide as we make our way through the challenges that face us.

Let us say “yes” to what God is asking of us. May we be brave and make a change to our own lives and to the lives of others.

Advent prayer

God of life, grant that we may all have the courage to do what it is you ask of us. May we act in solidarity with those who risk everything to stand up for what is right. Watch over them and protect them. Amen.  

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.  

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Send a Message to the Brave this Christmas and let someone like Claudelice know that they aren’t alone in their struggles.

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