Riccardi Andrea: on the web

Riccardi Andrea: on social networks

change language
you are in: home - prayer - the everyday prayer contacting usnewsletterlink

Donation Topbar


The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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

Memory of Gigi, a child from Naples who was violently killed. With him we remember all the children who suffer and who die because of human violence. Prayer for all children.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Song of Songs 7, 1-9

CHORUS: Come back, come back, girl from Shulam, come back, come back, where we can look at you! Why are you looking at the girl from Shulam, dancing between two lines of dancers?

LOVER: How beautiful are your feet in their sandals, O prince's daughter! The curve of your thighs is like the curve of a necklace, work of a master hand.

Your navel is a bowl well rounded with no lack of wine, your belly a heap of wheat surrounded with lilies.

Your two breasts are two fawns, twins of a gazelle.

Your neck is an ivory tower. Your eyes, the pools of Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-Rabbim. Your nose, the Tower of Lebanon, sentinel facing Damascus.

Your head is held high like Carmel, and its hair is as dark as purple; a king is held captive in your tresses.

How beautiful you are, how charming, my love, my delight!

In stature like the palm tree, its fruit-clusters your breasts.

I have decided, 'I shall climb the palm tree, I shall seize its clusters of dates!' May your breasts be clusters of grapes, your breath sweet-scented as apples,


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The chorus begs the beloved woman to turn around, "Return, return, that we may look upon you." It is a warm invitation to the "fairest among women" to allow herself to be seen. She is called Shulammite, a symbolic name derived from "Shalom", like the new "Solomon," which is the name of the beloved man. Solomon, the groom, and Shulammite ("the pacified") are bound by "peace", or, if one likes, have the vocation of peace inscribed in their names. Peace is always tied to encounter, dialogue, and festivity. It is remarkable that the Shulammite begins a particularly festive dance, referred to as "a dance before two armies," a sign of completeness and joy. The beloved man watches her dance and praises the beauty of each part of her body. Unlike the preceding description of the woman’s beauty, which began with the head, this time the song starts with her feet, "How graceful are your feet in sandals, O queenly maiden!" This calls to mind the praise given to the feet of those who announce peace in the book of Isaiah: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace" (52:7). The beloved man then passionately and unabashedly sings about nine other parts of the woman’s body, accompanied by easily-identifiable artistic comparisons or references to geographic features of the promised land well-known to the Jewish reader. Her eyes are compared to two pools of water near the city of Heshbon, her nose to the tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus, and her head to Mount Carmel. Her entire body evokes the palm tree, slender and tall, while her intoxicating kisses recall grapes, wine, and perfumes. Each of the ten parts of her body is given particular praise. It is the gaze with which the astonished lover contemplates the body of his beloved. We could say that it is the gaze with which the Lord contemplates his Church. This brings to mind the image of the body used by the apostle Paul to describe the Church in its oneness and its multiplicity. The body is one, but there are many members. The oneness of the beloved’s body is important (the Song reads, "You are stately as a palm tree"), but so is the multiplicity of its members (her rounded thighs, her navel, her belly, her breasts, her neck, her eyes, her nose, and her hair). How can we avoid thinking of the "body of Christ", the Church, which the apostle describes by speaking of the multiplicity of the charisms that make it up? There are many of them, and they are all important. Each one has a task, which it can complete through the strength of the Spirit that gave it to the Church. And all are called to contribute to the unity of the one Body. We are also called to lift our eyes from ourselves and contemplate the Church in all of its richness, in all of its variety, and to rejoice in it with the Lord. Like the bride in verse 11, we will say, "I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me." We if can sing like this, we will love the Lord as he himself loves us.

Prayer for peace