Invest just five minutes a day, and your faith will deepen and grow - a day at a time.
Look up the daily passages from the New American Bible online at www.usccb.org/nab/bible.
SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2012
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER; WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
For the world’s good—and your own
The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is first of all a day about the power of many people praying together to realize God’s desires for the world. It is also a day for vocations, bringing to the church’s attention the joys of a life dedicated to prayer and service as priests, deacons, religious sisters, and brothers. The best-kept secret about a religious vocation is that in devotion to God and others, people find deep personal satisfaction. What Saint Teresa of Avila said in the 16th century is still true: “[God] gave me such great happiness at being in . . . religious . . . life that it never left me up to this day.” Such a choice and commitment is something to consider and encourage.
“A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
MONDAY, APRIL 30
You are free
The life of Jesus offers a paradoxical set of possibilities. On the one hand there is “a wideness in God’s mercy,” as the old hymn says: Christ had come to save not only his own people but the whole world. Yet there’s also a “narrowness,” for he is the way to God. These two realities point to an even more peculiar situation: While God wants to save all creation, God has also given human beings the terrible freedom to turn away from that salvation. Why? Because God did not want to create machines who performed the divine will perfectly. God has given you great freedom. Choose to use it wisely.
“I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved.”
TUESDAY, MAY 1
FEAST OF JOSEPH THE WORKER
“You’re just like your father”
The 9-to-5 routine of the average workday can be a real grind—until you lose it. With a significant percent of the U.S. population out of work or underemployed, Saint Joseph is swiftly becoming the patron saint of all who seek to enter or return to the workforce. God blessed the idea of labor by engaging in it first: in the activity of Creation. Being made in the divine likeness, God’s creatures, too, desire to offer their contribution to the common good with meaningful and dignified labor. Pray to Joseph the Worker for those who seek, that they may find.
On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day.”
WEDNESDAY, MAY 2
FEAST OF ATHANASIUS, BISHOP, DOCTOR
Help for conflict junkies
You cannot put straight in others what is warped in yourself.” That may sound like a tip from a contemporary self-help program, but the advice actually comes from a much older source: a fourth-century doctor of the church. Saint Athanasius studied under the famous desert father Anthony of Egypt. Such wisdom may have led to his rise in authority, but it couldn’t keep him there: He was exiled no fewer than five times, spending 17 years in disfavor. At least his hermit years gave him plenty of time to write—and to work on “unwarping” himself. Invest in self-improvement, both for yourself and everyone else!
“I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
THURSDAY, MAY 3
FEAST OF PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES
Remember the faith of every James
The name James—the Greek form of “Jacob”—graces four different people in the New Testament. One is James, a member of the 12 apostles whom the church celebrates today along with his fellow apostle Phillip. This first James and his brother John were business partners with Saint Peter. The three fishers also stuck together as a unit when they became the three apostles in Jesus’ inner circle. James was also the first of the apostles to be put to death for his faith, and thus became the second Christian martyr after Saint Stephen. The church does not always know much about the early disciples—sometimes it’s not even clear who is who—but it does remember their faith. Live in such a way that others will know and remember you for the same reason.
“Christ . . . was raised on the third day . . . . After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”
FRIDAY, MAY 4
Find your own path
Modern gurus abound on talk shows and blogs, full of advice about how you should live your life. Some of their suggestions may be helpful; the best ones are borrowed from folk wisdom, good psychology, or even scripture, once or twice removed. Jesus has already issued the invitation to illuminate your path by following his way. Saint Anthony Claret (1807-1870) underscored this invitation with a telling directive: “Choose now what you would wish to have chosen at life’s end.” At every fork in the road, keep this suggestion in mind.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’
SATURDAY, MAY 5
EASTER WEEKDAY; CINCO DE MAYO
All God’s children
In the United States Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that which it has in Mexico, where it is mostly celebrated as a regional holiday in the state of Puebla. In the U.S.—aggressive hype of the beer companies aside—the day is an opportunity to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry, much as St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, and other holidays celebrate other national and ethnic origins. Most of us live in nations of immigrants and cultural melting pots. Occasionally it is good to savor the spices and aromas provided by one or another of our neighbors. Whether at a parade or picnic today or in church tomorrow, extend a hand of greeting and perhaps an “¡Hola!” to those nearby.
“If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
©2012 by TrueQuest Communications, L.L.C. PHONE: 800-942-2811; E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org; WEBSITE: www.takefiveforfaith.com. Licensed for noncommercial use. All rights reserved. Scripture quotes come from the New American Bible.
Contributors: Alice Camille, Daniel Grippo, Caroline Hopkinson, Father Larry Janowski, O.F.M., Ann O'Connor, Joel Schorn, Patrice J. Tuohy, and Sister Julie Vieira, I.H.M.