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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Wenceslaus, venerated as a martyr in Bohemia.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Esther 10,3a-3k

And Mordecai the Jew was next in rank to King Ahasuerus. He was a man held in respect among the Jews, esteemed by thousands of his brothers, a man who sought the good of his people and cared for the welfare of his entire race. (a) And Mordecai said, 'All this is God's doing. (b) I remember the dream I had about these matters, nothing of which has failed to come true: (c) the little spring that became a river, the light that shone, the sun, the flood of water. Esther is the river -- she whom the king married and made queen. (d) The two dragons are Haman and myself. (e) The nations are those that banded together to blot out the name of Jew. (f) The single nation, mine, is Israel, those who cried out to God and were saved. Yes, the Lord has saved his people, the Lord has delivered us from all these evils, God has worked such signs and great wonders as have never occurred among the nations. (g) 'Two destinies he appointed, one for his own people, one for the nations at large. (h) And these two destinies were worked out at the hour and time and day laid down by God, involving all the nations. (i) In this way God has remembered his people and vindicated his heritage; (k) and for them these days, the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month of Adar, are to be days of assembly, of joy and of gladness before God, through all generations and for ever among his people Israel.' (l) In the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Dositheus, who affirmed that he was a priest and Levite, and Ptolemy his son brought the foregoing letter concerning Purim. They vouched for its authenticity, the translation having been made by Lysimachus son of Ptolemy, a member of the Jerusalem community.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mordecai, at the end of the event, interprets the dream which opens the book of Esther (see the Greek text), that is, he reads the event as occurring according to God’s own vision: he discovers the truth of the events and that it is He who guides human history. The author shows the outlook of faith of Mordecai, who, from the beginning, shows himself to be a God-fearing believer and defender of all his people. He does not yield to the temptation of concealing his faith, even to the point of kneeling before a human being (Haman), nor does he hide his belonging to the Lord’s people even if this can cost him his life. With no minced words, he reproaches Esther for her timidity, calling her to account on her responsibility towards God and towards her people. His faith is crystal-clear: "The Lord has saved his people; the Lord has rescued us from all these evils; God has done great signs and wonders, wonders that have never happened among the nations." This final page shows the outlook of faith that can read historical events in depth. Everything is guided by God’s hand; indeed, Esther, as he himself, has been an instrument in the hands of the Lord. The believer is never alone; she is accompanied and sustained by the Lord. Mordecai sees the Lord’s breaking forth into human events, judging and distinguishing between his people and the nations. In the initial dream, there are shouts, tumults, earthquakes, and upheaval of the earth, with the two dragons that advance toward each other in confrontation. It is a vision that not only marks out Mordecai’s time, but also the entire course of humanity described in the typical language of apocalyptic. The image of Esther, who at first appeared as the "little spring that became a river," is significant: it is the image of the strength of the believer who appears weak but becomes unstoppable until he or she overwhelms enemies. The sun and the moon in fact appear in the heavens, and ‘the lowly were exalted those held in honour were devoured’ (cf. NRSV 11:11).

Memory of the Mother of the Lord