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SATURDAY, JANUARY 25, 2020
FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE
Be a force for unity
Once he was blinded by light on the road to Damascus, Paul began to see with a clarity that amazed everyone who knew of him. As he preached the Good News, Paul began to speak persuasively against requiring Gentiles to follow Jewish law, while at the same time allowing Jewish Christians to keep their lifelong ritual practices. In the midst of diversity, Paul worked to unite the followers of Jesus. It is fitting that the feast of his conversion has been chosen as the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Today your work is to do something to bring unity in the midst of diversity.
“This man is the instrument I have chosen to bring my name to the Gentiles.”
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2020
Get your fishing license here
A student can only be as good as the teacher offering the lesson. When Jesus walked the shores of Galilee, local fishermen had the chance to learn the gospel by living it. As we begin Catholic Schools Week, we honor all the fine teachers and administrators who sacrifice much to live the gospel with their students. We also salute parents who invest in their children’s religious education. Character can be shaped along with every lesson a child is taught. Make sure children you love are fishing in the richest waters.
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2020
Stop evil in its tracks
It’s hard to imagine 6 million people. It’s the populations of Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and San Diego combined. It was two-thirds of the entire population of Jews living in Europe between 1941 and 1945. It was the Holocaust. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we call to mind the evil that is possible for human hearts to generate. We remember to tell the next generation. And we commit ourselves never again to tolerate the flourishing of racism, nationalism, or antisemitism in our society. Today is a good day to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to bind the evil “strong man” of prejudice and intolerance in our society.
“But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man.”
TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2020
Order your life wisely
Saint Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the greatest mind ever to probe the theological underpinnings of Christianity, wasn’t always so highly regarded. When he first spoke of his desire to become a Dominican friar, his disapproving family kidnapped him and held him in their castle for a year. Then, as a seminary student who was reluctant to talk, he was nicknamed “The Dumb Ox” by classmates. Yet, it’s fitting that Aquinas belonged to the Order of Preachers—the Dominicans—because he authored beautiful prayers. Take to heart his concluding words from “For Ordering a Life Wisely,” which he prayed daily: “Give to me, O Lord my God, understanding of You, diligence in seeking You, wisdom in finding You, discourse ever pleasing to You, perseverance in waiting for You, and confidence in finally embracing You.”
“Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2020
Every heart needs a home
“The Catholic bishops believe decent, safe, and affordable housing is a human right,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As social reformers and commentators draw more attention to the growing problem of homelessness in America, it is important for all of us to do what we can to support the bishops’ position, as they remind “communities and government of their obligation to ensure that the housing needs of all are met, especially poor and vulnerable people and their families.” Take time today to look up or pray with seven themes of Catholic social teaching.
“Thus says the Lord: Should you build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought you out of Egypt . . . but have been going about in a tent under a cloth.”
THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2020
The hidden power of ordinary days
We’re well into what the church’s liturgical calendar calls “Ordinary Time,” the period between sacred seasons. For many in the north, the cold and snow of winter have become a drag. The anticipation of Advent and the excitement of Christmas and Epiphany are long over. Yet this too can be a period of conversion, a time when our faith can quietly grow. “Ordinary Time,” declares the Catechism, “is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ.” If you experience mid-winter blahs, rest assured that God is quite capable of using ordinary, mundane days to foster true discipleship.
“For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.”
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2020
Patience is an inside job
Saint John Bosco was a wonderworker—and not just because he ministered so effectively to troubled youth, transforming the most rambunctious of street kids into young men of virtue, honesty, and skill. He’s become the patron saint of youth ministry, and not just for his method of mixing fun with faith. From a very young age, Don Bosco had visions of the work he would do, leading to his merciful way of dealing with the young lives that society scorned. “It is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys,” he wrote to a colleague. “This was the method Jesus used with the apostles.” Ask Don Bosco to help you be positive and patient today.
“He spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.”
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2020
The miracle worker
Do you believe in miracles? As a Catholic, you must believe in some: the very life of Jesus, for starters, from Annunciation to Ascension, and all the things he did in between. But what about apparitions of Mary, eucharistic miracles, and unexplainable healings attributed to the intercession of saints? While belief in those is not required, the church says miracles do happen and rigorously verifies many. They are works of God, proof that God’s here among us, interacting with us, out of love. Go ahead and ask for one.
“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
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