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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the holy prophet David to whom some psalms are attributed. For centuries the psalms have nourished the prayer both of Jews and Christians. Memory of Thomas Becket, defender of justice and the dignity of the Church.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 2,22-35

And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord- observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord- and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said: Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised; for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have made ready in the sight of the nations; a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel. As the child's father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed- and a sword will pierce your soul too -- so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel presents us with the splendid scene of the encounter between the old Simeon and the new-born Jesus. The evangelist tells us that Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to visit the temple where, according to the Mosaic Law, they offered to the Lord their firstborn. But that morning the old Simeon also went to the temple. There was a double pilgrimage to the temple: the one of the small family from Nazareth and the one of the elderly Simeon. Both pilgrimages were motivated from heaven. Mary and Joseph were pushed by the Law while Simeon by the Spirit. The Evangelist using the words "righteous and devout" to describe him let us understand that Simeon allowed the Spirit to lead him. He was not a man who followed his instinct, his habits, and his natural intuition; nor did he simply rely on the performance of outward religious rites. As Luke writes, he was "guided" by the Spirit. Simeon was a spiritual man, a believer who let himself to be guided by God and His will, and who everyday searched through the eyes of the heart the "signs" of God. Simeon was not satisfied with only himself. He awaited the Lord every day and he looked at what happened around him. In his searching for God, he had "perceived" that he would not have died without having seen the Messiah. That day, the eyes of his heart lit up by seeing the little family from Nazareth with a child. Yes, when you are trained to seek God, the moment of the vision arrives. Simeon took in his arms that small creature and recited one of the most beautiful prayers that the Scripture has left to us: "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation." We can imagine the eyes of this elderly man, focused on this baby, and his heart filled with such joy and emotion that amazed both Mary and Joseph. Simeon is among the first who met that child and among the first who understood his extraordinary mission. He is the light to the Gentiles. Simeon, accustomed to the look of faith, was able to see in depth and he announced to Mary that "sword" that pierced her soul. Perhaps Mary remembered those words, when the soldier's lance pierced not only the heart of her child but also hers. We must keep and ponder in our hearts this passage of the Gospel in order to have the feelings of those pilgrims to the temple.

Prayer of the Christmas season