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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saint Anthony the Abbot. He followed the Lord into the Egyptian desert and was father of many monks. A day of reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.

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

Proverbs 4, 1-9

Listen, my children, to a father's instruction; pay attention, and learn what understanding is.

What I am offering you is sound doctrine: do not forsake my teaching.

I too was once a child with a father, in my mother's eyes a tender child, unique.

This was what he used to teach me, 'Let your heart treasure what I have to say, keep my principles and you will live;

acquire wisdom, acquire understanding, never forget her, never deviate from my words.

Do not desert her, she will keep you safe; love her, she will watch over you.

The first principle of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; at the cost of all you have, acquire understanding!

Hold her close, and she will make you great; embrace her, and she will be your pride;

she will provide a graceful garland for your head, bestow a crown of honour on you.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Again and with insistence we hear: "Listen, children, to a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight." The father-child relationship, as proposed by the wise teacher to the disciple-by God to man-, is explained as natural and familiar, inviting us to enter into it: "When I was a son with my father, tender, and my mother’s favourite, he taught me, and said to me... ." The invitation is insistent: "Get" wisdom and knowledge. "For her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her" (Prov 3:14-15). The inestimable value of wisdom asks that we invest our resources so as to acquire it. In a world disposed towards spending for its own material and physical well-being, the Word of God asks us to invest in things that do not perish. This message is repeated later in an absolute manner: "The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight." Whoever is not afraid to invest his resources and life in wisdom, will begin to see its fruits. Loving and esteeming wisdom lead us to glory. One could ask why there is so much insistence upon this. The passages we have examined up to this point are nothing but a continuous appeal to seek out and acquire wisdom. We need to realize that the author probably found himself in front of a society not at all interested in investing its riches in search of the wisdom and knowledge that come from God; otherwise we cannot comprehend the continual invitation to return to and never forget the Lord’s instruction. In verse 3 the words "tender and favourite" for my mother means, in reality, the "beloved son," the one to whom every mother gives her preferential love. We are also beloved children of God, and as such he wants us to put our energy into the things he reveals to us through his words and teachings. The tender and patient love of God ought to convince us that it is worth listening to his teaching, so as not to get lost in ourselves. Let us acquire God’s word treasure by investing all of ourselves into it, because from this treasure comes joy, peace, goodness and wisdom.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord