Saint of the day: 5th November
Saints Zachariah and Elizabeth
Parents of St John the Baptist. Both were old when the Angel Gabriel came to tell them they were going to have a son. Zachariah was so shocked he lost the power of speech. When Elizabeth went to meet Mary, who was expecting Jesus, the child leapt up in her womb.
When the baby was born, Zachariah wrote the name John on a tablet. His speech returned in the Temple, according to the Gospel of Luke, where Simeon praised God in the words now used daily in the Christian liturgy - in the Benedictus:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
for he has visited his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
in the house of his servant David;
As he promised by the lips of holy men
Those who were his prophets from of old.
A saviour who would free us from our foes
From the hands of all who hate us;
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
And his holy covenant remembered
To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers : and to remember his holy Covenant;
To perform the oath which he swore to our forefather Abraham : that he would give us;
That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies : might serve him without fear;
In holiness and righteousness before him : all the days of our life.
And thou, Child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people : for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God : whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;
To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death : and to guide our feet into the way of peace.