Ordinary Time: January 22nd
Optional Memorial of St. Vincent of Saragossa, deacon and martyr;
Other Commemorations: Saints Vincent and Anastasius, martyrs
St. Vincent of Saragossa, one of the greatest deacons of the Church, suffered martyrdom in Valencia in the persecution under Diocletian. He was born in Huesca, Spain. According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the feast of St. Anastasius, a Persian monk who was beheaded in 628.In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when the 22nd falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.
The Love of Life
Love is not merely a feeling, but is rather the desire for the best possible good for those whom we love. Through our natural intelligence and through Divine Revelation we become aware of the value of this most basic of all gifts which is life. Mere reason leads us to comprehend that it is better to be alive than never have had been in existence. The knowledge of the value of life that comes through revelation leads us to understand better this gift and to appreciate it: as a result, we worship and love more and more the Giver of this gift. This love is what moves us to protect the life of the unborn or any who might be unjustly treated. We are also led to protect women that might feel tempted or forced to commit abortion, as we know the devastating consequences that abortion will have in their lives. Last but not least we have to love, even if most of them seem to be utterly unlovable, the many perpetrators of abortion: medical personnel, and pro-abortion activists and politicians. We have to do everything that we can to convince them of their errors so that they repent and change their ways, both for their own benefit and for the benefit of society.
The Roman Martyrology relates: At Bethsaloen in Assyria, St. Anastasius, a Persian monk, who after suffering much at Caesarea in Palestine from imprisonment, stripes, and fetters, had to bear many afflictions from Chosroes, king of Persia, who caused him to be beheaded. He had sent before him to martyrdom seventy of his companions, who were drowned in a river. His head was brought to Rome, at Aquæ Salviæ, together with his revered image, by the sight of which demons are expelled, and diseases cured, as is attested by the Acts of the second Council of Nicea. The saint was venerated highly in Rome.
- Read more about St. Anastasius at St. Anastasios the Persian and about St. Anastasius and St. Vincent here.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Day 5, Guided by the One Lord “Ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising.” (Matthew 2:9)
- Revelation 22:5-9, For the Lord God will be their light.
- Matthew 2:7-10, Ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising.
Again and again the scriptures tell us how the Lord God walks with God’s people, protects them, and watches over them day and night. In all our journeying through life, we can be confident that God, who neither “sleeps nor slumbers," protects us lest our feet slip and we fall.
Even in the greatest darkness, Christ is the guiding light for all nations, the glory of God in the world, the source of divine life, sealing a new covenant in his blood.
The way ahead into unity with one another, and so into closer union with Christ, is not always clear. In our earnest attempts to build unity ourselves, it is all too easy to lose sight of this fundamental message of the scriptures: God does not abandon God’s people even in their failures and divisiveness. As the story of the Magi reminds us, God guides people of all kinds, with the light of the star, to where Christ, the light of the world, is to be found.
God sends the Holy Spirit whose light enables us to see with the eyes of faith the truth of the divine Child, and the call to unity and reconciliation of all things in him. It is this Spirit that leads us from darkness and tragedy into Christ’s light and life.
O Lord God our Father, increase our hope in you and let us know at all times that you are walking with us, watching over your people. Open our eyes to your Spirit, and encourage us in our faith, so that we may confess that Jesus is Lord, and worship and rejoice in him as the Magi did in Bethlehem. We ask you these blessings in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.