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November 5: Sts. Elizabeth and Zachariah

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Sts. Elizabeth and Zachariah were the parents of John the Baptist.

She was a relative of Mary the Mother of God; no one knows the exact biological relationship between them, but tradition often says that they were cousins.

The Gospel of Luke states that though Elizabeth had committed no evil in the eyes of God, she was barren for most of her life. She was advanced in age when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her husband Zachariah in the temple to promise them a son.

St. Elizabeth is most famous for the words of the “Hail Mary,” which she uttered at feeling her child leap in her womb as Mary, then pregnant with Jesus, came to visit cousin. However, there is no further mention of her in the bible after the birth and circumcision of her son John the Baptist.

Zachariah was in the Temple when the angel Gabriel appeared announcing that Elizabeth would bear a son who would “bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.” When Zachariah expressed doubt at this because of her age, he was struck mute, and upon exiting the Temple it was clear to the people there that he had seen a vision. He remained mute until John’s birth, when he wrote out the newborn’s name.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

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 Saviour,
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 Lord
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.

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