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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Feast of the nativity of Mary, mother of the Lord. Today the Franciscan tradition remembers Francis’ visit of peace to Damietta to speak with the sultan Malek-al-Kamel. Prayer so that workers of peace and dialogue may arise.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 6,20-26

Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said: How blessed are you who are poor: the kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are hungry now: you shall have your fill. Blessed are you who are weeping now: you shall laugh.

'Blessed are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of man.

Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, look!-your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have plenty to eat now: you shall go hungry. Alas for you who are laughing now: you shall mourn and weep.

'Alas for you when everyone speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist introduces, at this point, Jesus’ great discourse on the beatitudes. Jesus has before his eyes that enormous crowd which awaits a true word from him. And Jesus speaks immediately. He does not give an abstract talk. He describes to that crowd its path to happiness. It is not the same path which the world suggests to men and women, a path which often reveals itself to be false and deceiving. Jesus does not say many words. Four are enough. Four beatitudes, well circumscribed and clear. He declares to the poor, to the hungry, to the abandoned and to the thirsty for justice that God has chosen to be alongside them. His proximity and that of the disciples will be for them the sign of a great joy. They, up to now excluded from life, will be the privileged ones, the preferred of God. This is why they are "blessed." Their blessedness, in fact, their happiness, does not flow out of their sad and precarious conditions of life. It is not beautiful, in fact, to be poor, nor to be afflicted, nor to be hungry, nor to be insulted. They are blessed because God has chosen to be with them first of all before being with others. This is what Jesus shows. To us believers is entrusted the most heavy and fascinating task of making them feel God’s love which privileges them, as Jesus has done during his whole life. The rich, the satisfied, the strong should be on the alert because it is more difficult for them to be happy. With four "woes" Jesus puts one on guard of seeking blessedness in love for oneself and for riches.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets