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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 12, 1-28

Whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge, stupid are those who hate correction.

The honest obtains Yahweh's favour, the schemer incurs his condemnation.

No one is made secure by wickedness, but nothing shakes the roots of the upright.

A capable wife, her husband's crown, a shameless wife, a cancer in his bones.

The plans of the upright are honest, the intrigues of the wicked are full of deceit.

The words of the wicked are snares to shed blood, what the honest say keeps them safe.

Once thrown down, the wicked are no more, but the house of the upright stands firm.

Prudence wins praise, but a tortuous heart incurs only contempt.

Better a common fellow who has a slave than someone who gives himself airs and has nothing to eat.

The upright has compassion on his animals, but the heart of the wicked is ruthless.

Whoever works his land shall have bread and to spare, but no one who chases fantasies has any sense.

The godless delights in the snare of the wicked, but the root of the upright bears fruit.

In the sin of the lips lies a disastrous trap, but the upright finds a way out of misfortune.

Abundance of good things is the fruit of the lips; labour brings its own return.

Fools think the way they go is straight, the wise listens to advice.

The fool shows anger straightaway, the discreet conceals dislike.

To tell the truth is to further justice, a false witness is nothing but deceit.

Thoughtless words can wound like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Sincere lips endure for ever, the lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Deceit is in the heart of the schemer, joy with those who give counsels of peace.

No harm can come to the upright, but the wicked are swamped by misfortunes.

Lying lips are abhorrent to Yahweh; dear to him those who make truth their way of life.

The discreet keeps knowledge hidden, the heart of fools proclaims their folly.

For the diligent hand, authority; for the slack hand, forced labour.

Worry makes a heart heavy, a kindly word makes it glad.

The upright shows the way to a friend; the way of the wicked leads them astray.

The idle has no game to roast; diligence is anyone's most precious possession.

In the way of uprightness is life, the ways of the vengeful lead to death.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The beginning of the chapter turns to a theme that is very common in the book, that of discipline, "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but those who hate to be rebuked are stupid." There is a close connection between two loves, discipline and knowledge (or understanding). In general we think and live the opposite. Discipline or correction is seen as a contradiction of our knowledge and convictions, an impediment and a barrier to our free expression and self-realization, and so we instinctively oppose it. But truly foolish are those who hate to be rebuked, who do not accept the help other people offer them to grow and understand. Individualism and subjectivity habituate us to doing, thinking, and deciding on our own, confident that our decisions are the right ones. In truth, the primary characteristic of a Christian is a willingness to listen to God when he speaks and hence the ability to rejoice when disciplined. Being corrected is a great gift that the Lord allows us to experience when our lives grow in communion and harmony with our brothers and sisters. The rest of the chapter continues with a series of various exhortations. The wicked are always opposed to the righteous and the wise. Deceit, anger, lying lips, self-importance, and treachery are some of the attributes ascribed to those who do evil. Their foolishness lies in continuing to listen only to themselves: "Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice." This is the secret of wisdom: not thinking we are righteous, but living righteously by listening to advice and accepting discipline. If "deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil...those who counsel peace have joy." The joy of the righteous and wise comes from building peace and solidarity around themselves with their words and actions. Often interior torment, anxiety, and the lack of peace and serenity are the consequence of a closed life that is incapable of connecting with others, accepting help, or acting with generosity and benevolence. This is why "in the path of righteousness there is life, in walking its path there is no death."

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets