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The Everyday Prayer

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

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

Proverbs 3, 21-35

My child, hold to sound advice and prudence, never let them out of sight;

they will give life to your soul and beauty to your neck.

You will go on your way in safety, your feet will not stumble.

When you go to bed, you will not be afraid; once in bed, your sleep will be sweet.

Have no fear either of sudden terror or of attack mounted by wicked men,

since Yahweh will be your guarantor, he will keep your steps from the snare.

Refuse no kindness to those who have a right to it, if it is in your power to perform it.

Do not say to your neighbour, 'Go away! Come another time! I will give it you tomorrow,' if you can do it now.

Do not plot harm against your neighbour who is living unsuspecting beside you.

Do not pick a groundless quarrel with anyone who has done you no harm.

Do not envy the man of violence, never model your conduct on his;

for the wilful wrong-doer is abhorrent to Yahweh, who confides only in the honest.

Yahweh's curse lies on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright.

He mocks those who mock, but accords his favour to the humble.

Glory is the portion of the wise, all that fools inherit is contempt.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the beginning of this passage we read again "my son" and are reminded that being childlike is the only condition in which to receive wisdom. In the first part, the text describes the happy consequences for those who cultivate wisdom: security, serenity, peace, tranquil dreams, and absence of fear. The Lord, indeed, "will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught," that is, according to the author, from being caught by the snares and dangers of life. In the second part (verses 27-35) for the first time the text gets to the heart of relationships with one’s neighbour. First of all, it invites us to respond generously to requests for help: "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbour, ‘Go, and come again; tomorrow I will give it’-when you have it with you." What follows is a series of problems confronting our ability to live together: plotting evil against whomever lives nearby and trusts in you, fighting, envying violent men for their success. Whoever follows God’s advice has nothing to fear, because God hates evil, and evildoers ultimately will never succeed. For this reason one needs to live generously and do good, without allowing oneself to be overcome by envy and jealousy. The Lord’s friendship is intended for the just and "to the humble he shows favour." Often the Book of Proverbs returns to the theme of violence and arrogance as they contrast with goodness and humility. The daily temptation is to respond to violence with violence, just as the society in which we live habituates us to do, thinking that victory is found in imposing ourselves on others. But we know that, "All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted." Wisdom instructs us in humility and in the capacity to relate to others with benevolence and generosity, because only by giving do we find joy and peace of heart.

Memory of the Poor