Invest just five minutes a day, and your faith will deepen and grow—a day at a time.

Thursday, Jan 20, 2022
MEMORIAL OF SEBASTIAN, MARTYR
Listen to the peoples’ laments

The anguish of physical pain can be a fact of life. In medieval times many artists were fascinated by the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian and created gruesome images of it. For practicing Christianity in the third century, Sebastian was ordered to be executed by arrows. He survived this ordeal, only to later be beaten to death for his faith. Father Robin Ryan, C.P., a Passionist priest, says when he encounters people suffering in any form, he avoids explanations as so much about God and suffering is a mystery. He tries to allow those in pain to lament and share their emotion with God, often using the psalms as a starting point as they "help us to recognize that we belong to a tradition and a community of faith; we are not alone in this experience." Draw solace from the lament tradition the next time you find yourself or others in pain.

TODAY'S READINGS: 1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7; Mark 3:7-12 (314). “He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.”

Friday, Jan 21, 2022
MEMORIAL OF AGNES, MARTYR
I stand with Agnes

The stories of martyrs can make us feel a bit uneasy. They edify us, but they also can—and should—horrify us. Why? Because in every story, we encounter human violence, perhaps even a reflection of the violence we ourselves have suffered, committed, or ignored. While we laud fourth-century martyr Agnes of Rome for her sacred commitment to chastity, we must not overlook the fact that she was martyred for resisting a forced, unwanted relationship and inhumane treatment as mere property. Agnes’ story is particularly relevant today because women continue to face the very real threat of personal as well as systemic violence. Will you stand with Agnes against gender violence in all its forms?

TODAY'S READINGS: 1 Samuel 24:3-21; Mark 3:13-19 (315). “You have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.”

Saturday, Jan 22, 2022
DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE LEGAL PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN
Cradle-to-grave Catholics

To embrace a consistent ethic of life is to not only oppose abortion but also to support and defend the dignity and right to life in all conditions and under all circumstances. The term “the Seamless Garment” was coined by the Catholic activist Eileen Egan to characterize this position, later popularized by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. He said: “Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker.” Learn more about the Seamless Garment ethic and take a stand today for life in all its forms!

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Samuel 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27; Mark 3:20-21 (316). “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.”

Sunday, Jan 23, 2022
THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME / WORD OF GOD SUNDAY
Those aren't fighting words

Most fights don't start with a punch, but with a word. That's because words are among the most powerful forces on the planet. Ideas divide or unite a society. Insults scar, just as kind words can heal. Our sacred story contained in scripture is a word meant to make the world whole. Pope Francis asks us to honor the word of God this Sunday. We begin by symbolically enthroning the Bible in our homes today: putting it in a place of honor. This reminds us of the deeper enthronement of God's word in our hearts. Make room for one Bible verse every day.

TODAY'S READINGS: Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 (69). "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

Monday, Jan 24, 2022
MEMORIAL OF FRANCIS DE SALES, BISHOP, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
God, our shield and our strength

We live in tumultuous times for sure. But the world has been topsy-turvy before. Saint Francis de Sales lived during the religious, political, and social upheaval of the Protestant Reformation. And he became known for his gentleness and patience in the face of it. Leave it to him, the patron saint of writers, to pen a prayer that is timeless balm for troubled souls: “Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations . . .” A balm for these troubled times.

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Samuel 5:1-7, 10; Mark 3:22-30 (317). “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022
FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL, APOSTLE
Harden not your heart

Paul has always been a controversial figure. Before becoming a Christian, he was a persecutor of Jesus’ followers. Paul’s biblical words advising women to be submissive to their husbands have been alternately obeyed, rejected, and reinterpreted. But the word “conversion” on this feast reminds us what Christian life is about. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Saint Ambrose on the “two conversions” in Christian life—one of them a one-time event and the other ongoing. “There are water and tears, the water of Baptism and the tears of repentance.” What parts of your life still require repentance?

TODAY'S READINGS: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Mark 16:15-18 (519). "Jesus . . . appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2022
MEMORIAL OF TIMOTHY AND TITUS, BISHOPS
Stay the course

Evangelizing and living the gospel demands much of us. Saints Timothy and Titus serve as examples to us of holding fast to the faith among difficult circumstances. Friends and companions of Saint Paul, they ended up becoming bishops and leaders of the early church. They helped Paul to spread the gospel during those difficult early years. Timothy paid the ultimate price for encouraging others to embrace the emerging Christian faith. Reflect on the ways you choose to follow Jesus Christ and embrace his mission despite the challenges and difficulties it presents.

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5; Mark 4:1-20 (520; Gospel 319). “[T]hose sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Thursday, Jan 27, 2022
MEMORIAL OF ANGELA MERICI, RELIGIOUS FOUNDER
Wise counsel for the overwhelmed

On this memorial of Saint Angela Merici, 16th-century founder of the Ursuline Sisters, it makes sense to recall one of her many insights into faith-filled living. She advised the overwhelmed thus: “Do not lose heart, even if you should discover that you lack qualities necessary for the work to which you are called. He who called you will not desert you, but the moment you are in need he will stretch out his saving hand.” May you find that saving hand when you reach the end of your rope.

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Samuel 7:18-19, 24-29; Mark 4:21-25 (320). “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?”

Friday, Jan 28, 2022
MEMORIAL OF THOMAS AQUINAS, PRIEST, RELIGIOUS, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Root yourself in honesty

G.K. Chesterton once said of philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, “Being himself resolved to argue, to argue honestly, to answer everybody, to deal with everything, he produced books enough to sink a ship or stock a library.” We could use a little more Thomas in our media, especially social media, because today we’re not always sure if things are actually true or merely “internet true.” For Thomas, honesty was key to communication. He considered it beautiful, honorable, and a reflection of moral goodness itself. May we take to heart his commitment to honesty in all of our communication.

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Samuel 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17; Mark 4:26-34 (321). “Once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

Saturday, Jan 29, 2022
Sea of hope

Alonzo Ketcham Parker, a 19th-century travel writer, called the Sea of Galilee “a fifth gospel” due to the amount of biblical history that occurred on its shores. It is the site where Jesus performed many of his most renowned miracles, such as walking on water, calming the storm, and feeding the multitude. Villages and settlements dotted the shore in Jesus’ day, and most of Jesus’ followers probably gained their livelihood and nourished their families from its bounty. The nourishment continues every time we read the vivid accounts of biblical drama that occur on the holiest of seas. Dive in!

TODAY'S READINGS: 2 Samuel 12:1-7a, 10-17; Mark 4:35-41 (322). “He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ The wind ceased and there was great calm.”

 

 

 

©2022 TrueQuest Communications. TakeFiveForFaith.com; [email protected] All rights reserved. Noncommercial reprints permitted with the following credit: Reprinted with permission from TakeFiveForFaith.com. Scripture citations from the New American Bible Revised Edition. For more information about TAKE FIVE and our regular contributors, go to PrepareTheWord.com.Free daily email and app available online at TakeFiveForFaith.com/subscribe.