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The Everyday Prayer


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

Memory of Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072). Faithful to his monastic vocation, he loved the entire Church and spent his life reforming it. Memory of the monks in every part of the world.


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 23, 15-35

My child, if your heart is wise, then my own heart is glad,

and my inmost self rejoices when from your lips come honest words.

Do not let your heart be envious of sinners but remain steady every day in the fear of Yahweh;

for there is a future, and your hope will not come to nothing.

Listen, my child, and be wise, and guide your heart in the way.

Do not be one of those forever tippling wine nor one of those who gorge themselves with meat;

for the drunkard and glutton impoverish themselves, and sleepiness is clothed in rags.

Listen to your father from whom you are sprung, do not despise your mother in her old age.

Purchase truth -- never sell it-wisdom, discipline, and discernment.

The father of the upright will rejoice indeed, he who fathers a wise child will have joy of it.

Your father and mother will be happy, and she who bore you joyful.

My child, pay attention to me, let your eyes take pleasure in my way:

a prostitute is a deep pit, a narrow well, the woman who belongs to another.

Yes, like a brigand, she lies in wait, increasing the number of law-breakers.

For whom is pity, for whom contempt, for whom is strife, for whom complaint, for whom blows struck at random, for whom the clouded eye?

For those who linger over wine too long, ever on the look-out for the blended liquors.

Do not gaze at wine, how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup! How smoothly it slips down the throat!

In the end its bite is like a serpent's, its sting as sharp as an adder's.

Your eyes will see peculiar things, you will talk nonsense from your heart.

You will be like someone sleeping in mid-ocean, like one asleep at the mast-head.

'Struck me, have they? But I'm not hurt. Beaten me? I don't feel anything. When shall I wake up? . . I'll ask for more of it!'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The wisdom of a child brings joy to a father, but also to those who have the task to teach a wise life, a duty that Proverbs advocates since the beginning; indeed it is joyful when a child, like a disciple, follows the words of a teacher and lets him/herself be corrected and guided. Wisdom comes from listening: "Hear, my child, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way." This invitation, repeated several times in the book of Proverbs, challenges society now as it did then, and clashes with our instinct to listen primarily to ourselves, and to live according to our own inclinations and reasoning. Our world seems to reject, instinctively, the need for having a mother or father who can educate us in the ways of living a good and human life. This is the opposite of wisdom that is acquired by the arduous path of listening: "Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old." Here, father and mother have a double responsibility: first, they are the ones who give us life, and second, together, they become the symbol of those who educate their children to grow in acquiring wisdom. We can think of the many who should who practice this duty everyday in their lives: parents, grandparents, school teachers, catechists, priests and all spiritual fathers and teachers. The temptation to follow false ideas of freedom and self-sufficiency does not lead us to spiritual and human growth. Our annoyance at being corrected and accepting a paternal role in our lives is a sign of a society that daily produces orphans and lost men and women who are incapable of developing humanly because they are prisoners of their own egos. They are poorly disposed to undertake their duty to teach others in the way of wisdom. Because of our desire to be a hero and to want to be self-sufficient, we end up scorning those who are weak, like elderly mothers to whom we no longer feel indebted, or from whom we feel we can no longer receive anything. Yet in our love for the elderly we acquire much wisdom and humanity. We are called to acquire "wisdom, instruction and understanding." These are gifts from God, but also the fruits of the work of men and women who seek them as necessary virtues in their own lives and in society. Only these virtues give true joy. Whoever lives by these virtues will not have the need to succumb to the frenetic search for satisfaction and pleasure. Thus we can understand why the passage ends with a reference to prostitution and drunkenness. Without the profound joy that a wise life begets, one is destined to seek satisfaction and pleasure in transient things that make us dependent on them and enslaves us.


02/21/2012
Memory of the Mother of the Lord


Calendar of the week
NOV
27
Sunday, 27 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
NOV
28
Monday, 28 November
Memory of the Poor
NOV
29
Tuesday, 29 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
NOV
30
Wednesday, 30 November
Memory of the Apostles
DEC
1
Thursday, 1 December
Memory of the Church
DEC
2
Friday, 2 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
3
Saturday, 3 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday