“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” – Romans 15:5-6

When I was in grade school, I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Some were young. One who most definitely was not, was Sister Marcellinus. To us, she seemed 100-years-old. We were all a bit afraid of her. More than anything, I remember how every day, with a wrinkled hand fingering her rosary beads, she would ask us to pray for her perseverance. More than 55 years on, her request abides.

As we “prepare the way of the Lord,” anticipating the joyful celebration of the Nativity, we acknowledge there are days when it can be a challenge to endure: the outlook is murky, energy is low, spirits are down. In making a simple prayer for perseverance, we give glory to God who helps us through and makes straight our crooked paths.

Scripture tells us that St. Paul’s companion on his missionary journeys was St. Barnabas. The name means “son of encouragement.” Don’t we all need a friend like Barnabas? Encouragement animates the Brothers’ motto: In harmony, small things grow. Those of us working with young people in the educational ministry of Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools see the incredible power of just a few affirming words. We love being encouraged ourselves. And we see how faces light up when we express to young people our love for who they are and our belief in all they can accomplish.

Holy Father,

In this Advent season, may we offer a daily prayer inspired by Your endurance and encouragement.


Dr. Paul Barker

To view the full Advent 2022 booklet in English, click here.

For Spanish, click here.

For French, click here.

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