Ordinary Time: January 22nd
Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Other Commemorations: Saints Vincent and Anastasius, martyrs
January 22 is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the day established by the Church of penance for abortion, has been formally named as the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” On this day (or January 23rd when January 22nd falls on a Sunday) your parish, school or religious formation program may celebrate the Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life. This Mass, found in our newly-translated Missal, may now be used on occasions to celebrate the dignity of human life.The relevant change reads: “The liturgical celebrations for this day may be the Mass “For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life? (no. 48/1 of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions), celebrated with white vestments, or the Mass “For the Preservation of Peace and Justice? (no. 30 of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions), celebrated with violet vestments.”In addition to this special Mass on this day, perhaps your parish, school or religious formation program could encourage traditional forms of penance, host pro-life and chastity speakers, lead informative projects that will directly build up the culture of life, show a pro-life film, raise funds for local crisis pregnancy centers or offer additional prayer services. According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Vincent and Anastasius. During the early years of the fourth century, Vincent, a young deacon, was inhumanly tortured by Dacian, Roman governor of Valencia in Spain. Vincent rejoiced in his sufferings until he drew his last breath. More than three hundred years later, Anastasius the Persian, a convert from the priestly caste of Magi, endured a similar martyrdom in distant Assyria. Through all the Christian sacrifices to that of Calvary for the salvation of every man born into the world.
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.