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The Everyday Prayer

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

Prayer for the unity of Christians. Particular memory of the Christian communities in Europe and in the Americas.

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 7, 1-27

My child, keep my words, and treasure my precepts,

keep my precepts and you will live, keep my teaching as the apple of your eye.

Bind these to your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Say to Wisdom, 'You are my sister!' Call Understanding your relation,

to save yourself from the woman that belongs to another, from the stranger, with her seductive words.

While I was at the window of my house, I was looking out through the lattice

and I saw, among the callow youths, I noticed among the lads, one boy who had no sense.

Going along the lane, near the corner where she lives, he reaches the path to her house,

at twilight when day is declining, at dead of night and in the dark.

And look, a woman is coming to meet him, dressed like a prostitute, false of heart.

She is loud and brazen; her feet cannot rest at home.

Once in the street, once in the square, she lurks at every corner.

She catches hold of him, she kisses him, the bold-faced creature says to him,

'I had to offer a communion sacrifice, I have discharged my vows today;

that is why I came out to meet you, to look for you, and now I have found you.

I have spread coverlets over my divan, embroidered stuff, Egyptian material,

I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, with aloes and cinnamon.

Come on, we'll make love as much as we like, till morning. Let us enjoy the delights of love!

For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a very long journey,

taking his moneybags with him; he will not be back till the moon is full.'

With her persistent coaxing she overcomes him, lures him on with her wheedling patter.

Forthwith he follows her, like an ox on its way to the slaughterhouse, like a madman on his way to the stocks,

until an arrow pierces him to the liver, like the bird that dashes into the net without realising that its life is at stake.

And now, son, listen to me, pay attention to the words I have to say:

do not let your heart stray into her ways, or wander into her paths;

she has done so many to death, and the strongest have all been her victims.

Her house is the way to Sheol, the descent to the courts of death.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The author returns to the topic of adultery. After the opening exhortation, which uses the images from the previous chapter to underline the fact that God’s teachings are life, a new portrait of wisdom is introduced: "Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister’, and call insight your intimate friend, that they may keep you from the loose woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words." The ‘loose woman’ is contrasted with wisdom and the ‘adulteress’ is contrasted with ‘insight’, or better, ‘knowledge.’ The term "my sister" is one of the names of the beloved in the Song of Songs (4:9,10,12). As a mother, wisdom taught with her warnings; as the beloved she cautions with her advice and especially protects with her love. We are presented with the opposition between the good love of a legitimate spouse, wisdom, and the bad love of a prostitute or adulteress. Wisdom is presented here for the first time as the wife of youth, who first appeared in chapter 5. The rest of the chapter builds on this opposition, providing a detailed description of the stages of the prostitute’s solicitations, aimed at entrapping "the simple ones", including "a young man without sense." Those who do not take wisdom as the love of their lives when they are young, those who do not spend time with the word of God, loving it in from their youth, will easily be entrapped by easy illusions and will stray from the path of life. Christian life is like the love story of God and his people, nourished by the word of God, which is wisdom, insight, instruction, guidance, orientation, and commandment. Only by loving this treasure of wisdom can we defend ourselves from the easy illusions that are offered to us every day and cause us to lose track of life’s value: "Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death." The house of life, on which we can depend and on which we build, is the rock of the word of God that Jesus spoke of. The rest is sand, which the wind will easily blow away.

Memory of the Poor