The season of Advent is my favorite liturgical season. I love the mood, the tempo, the music and the insistence on slowing down while the world is telling us to speed up. Each Advent, I look forward to experiencing unique reflections and powerful homilies that will inspire me for the new liturgical year. And, as a military spouse, I am always on the lookout for ways my husband and I can connect, emotionally and spiritually, when he is away from home. I was so excited to discover Patricia Mackie’s Couples Advent Devotional.
Patricia has crafted a devotional for couples that is specific for our new liturgical year. Each day you are invited to read and reflect on the daily Gospel. Then, there is a brief reflection, followed by 2-3 reflection questions that also serve as discussion starters for you and your spouse. This devotional is intended to be prayed aloud, together.
The reflection questions are really where Patricia shines. She goes right to the heart of marriage, pulling out topics like communication, needs and desires, stress, forgiveness, support and compassion, prayer, and so many more. She also weaves into the devotional a number of traditional Catholic prayers, including the Our Father, Hail Mary, Mary, Undoer of Knots, the Prayer of St. Francis, the Act of Contrition, and a number of others. Each prayer was clearly specifically chosen and it’s placement reinforces the theme being discussed.
I think that one of my favorite things about this devotional is that when prayed to its fullest, it is a dynamic experience. First and foremost, Patricia challenges the couples to pray every single day together. Every day! For 4 whole weeks! For many couples, especially those with children, it is struggle to find time to pray with this kind of intentionality every day. Having a resource like Couples Advent Devotional would help couples prioritize their time together and hopefully deepen their spiritual bond. Also, because the reflections are brief, couples will spend the majority of their prayer time together talking to one another, perhaps discussing things they have never discussed before. Second, Patricia encourages couples from the very beginning to stretch themselves beyond the four walls of their own home. In the first week alone, coupes are asked to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation and to discern some type of service experience their family can participate in during the season. Third, because the devotional is based on this specific liturgical year, couples will be able to connect what they are hearing at Mass with what they are discussing in their home.
I am very excited for Advent to begin this year. Couples that are looking for a way to connect daily on a deeper level and nurture their marriage need look no further. I highly recommend Patricia Mackie’s devotional and I hope that she continues the project for subsequent liturgical years.