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, JULY 22, 2012
SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Attend a divine leadership seminar
A number of years ago, all the talk in the business world was about leadership and the qualities of a good leader (and with the mismanagement and corruption at the top of some corporations recently, you may wonder if maybe they didn’t talk enough!). God’s recipe for good leadership of God’s people is straightforward enough: wisdom, justice, caring for people, overcoming division, and bringing peace. You may not be the head of a large organization, but you exercise leadership in one way or another every day. Are you ready to follow God’s management model?
“The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David . . . he shall do what is just and right in the land.”
MONDAY, JULY 23
FEAST OF BRIDGET, RELIGIOUS
My other friend is a book
Any mother with a brood of eight children may look with longing at the contemplative life. In the early 14th century Bridget and Ulf made a happy couple, married at the ages of 14 and 18 respectively, but later in life with the children grown, the widow Bridget found herself ready for a career change. The contemplative Order of the Most Holy Savior, or Bridgettines, gave any yearly surplus to the poor and kept their facilities simple. The one luxury was books: Each member of the order could have as many as she liked. By library card, e-reader, or bookstore, make a new friend and keep on learning.
“The Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
TUESDAY, JULY 24
FEAST OF SHARBEL MAKHLUF, PRIEST
The saint of sitting
The ancient Maronite Christian community, with its origins in Lebanon and now a 3.5 million-member worldwide church in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, has a strong monastic tradition, and one of its more well-known monks is Saint Sharbel. At 23 he entered the monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq and spent the next 16 years in community life, but in 1874 he withdrew to a hermitage where he lived for the next 23 years. During this time many thousands of people visited him for his spiritual counsel, and after his death both Christians and non-Christians made pilgrimages to his tomb, which became associated with miracles. Simply taking some time to stay prayerfully in one place is something easily lost in the modern world, but, as Saint Sharbel’s life shows, it can have great power.
“Shepherd your people with your staff . . . . show us wonderful signs.”
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25
FEAST OF JAMES, APOSTLE
Willing, ready, and able
How do you put on your game face for the tasks that lie ahead? A healthy supper, a good night’s rest, and your lucky socks? The disciples had the supper and a nap before Jesus was arrested and the situation melted into chaos. Yet not long before, the “Sons of Thunder” James and John had hankered for positions of privilege in the future awaiting Jesus. How could they guess those “seats” would be crosses? James got one thing right: In 42 A.D. he was privileged to be the first apostle martyred. When you’re sure you’re ready, step up to the cup.
“ ‘Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We can.’ ”
THURSDAY, JULY 26
FEAST OF JOACHIM AND ANNE, PARENTS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Ask for something big
Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, have exercised a grasp on the Christian imagination almost since the beginning. Though not mentioned in the New Testament, their story, found in an early Christian document, sounds a lot like some people who do appear in scripture. Joachim, like Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, had a crucial encounter with God in the Temple. Like John’s mother, Elizabeth, Anne was childless and prayed for a child. Mary was God’s answer to their request. These two saints and their predecessors and descendants asked for what looked to be unlikely or even impossible, and God provided. Don’t be afraid to ask God for what you need to help you follow God’s will for you.
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.”
FRIDAY, JULY 27
Can you hear the seed growing?
Jesus said that the person who hears the word of God is like is a seed: Where it falls makes a difference. Seeds on a path are taken away by birds. On rocky ground they wither away. In thorns they are choked. In good soil, however, they bring forth grain. God understands that people do not always understand at first what God is saying in scripture, but if you seek understanding in prayer and study, you will receive the word of God and live by it. Each of us hungers for God’s tremendous word; how that word takes root in you depends on how well you hear it.
The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it.”
SATURDAY, JULY 28
In his book People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, psychologist and best-selling author M. Scott Peck takes up one of the most difficult problems human beings face in this mysterious life: the problem of human evil. Why does it exist, and why does a good God permit it? Peck doesn’t provide any simple answers, but he does caution us not to give into the temptation, when we are harmed, to return evil with evil and exact revenge. Leave the judgment to Jesus. Weeds eventually are separated from wheat, but that is not your job. Hard as it may be, you are called to return evil with love. Do your best.
“Let them grow together until harvest.”
©2012 by TrueQuest Communications, L.L.C. PHONE: 800-942-2811; E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org; WEBSITE: PrepareTheWord.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.