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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Timothy 1, 8-11

We are well aware that the Law is good, but only provided it is used legitimately,

on the understanding that laws are not framed for people who are upright. On the contrary, they are for criminals and the insubordinate, for the irreligious and the wicked, for the sacrilegious and the godless; they are for people who kill their fathers or mothers and for murderers,

for the promiscuous, homosexuals, kidnappers, for liars and for perjurers -- and for everything else that is contrary to the sound teaching

that accords with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, the gospel that was entrusted to me.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Paul declares that the law is good because it had been given with the purpose of preparing the way to the Gospel: it was "our disciplinarian until Christ came," he writes to the Galatians (Gal 3:24). But Paul then adds that with the coming of Christ has come "the end of the law" (Rom 10:4). Certainly it is useful to the disciples, but only if understood as an aid for remaining faithful to the Gospel. The disciples of Jesus, in fact, taken away from sin, are received into the community where they live in the "agape", that is, the fulfilment of love. And in this love (agape) they find salvation. It is the "sound teaching" to which Paul refers; in this sense "sound" means that love makes people sound, heals, and makes people justified. Love, differently from the law, is much more radical in defeating evil and sin because it involves the heart and its change, and not merely the observance of some rules, even if righteous ones. The apostle, knowing that the law is for sinners, offers a list of the vices that were widespread in the Hellenic environment of the time: "the lawless and disobedient, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profaner, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers... ." The law was promulgated to stop the instincts that live "naturally" in the hearts of men and women who are wounded by sin. We all know that we are slaves of our own instincts. We should therefore not despise the law. Rather we should practice a severe discipline in order to remove the instinctive hardness, to avoid easy abuse of others, and not fall into the habits of wicked and violent thoughts, and so forth. The Gospel of love itself - far from being a new law - nevertheless requires a discipline of the heart so that we do not suffocate with our opposition the love that the Lord has poured out in our hearts. What saves us is the Lord’s love, but we should let it work in our lives. The Gospel which was entrusted to Paul is, precisely, to proclaim freedom from the law through welcoming the Gospel of love. So that all who think they are righteous and immune from evil, let them beware, for they risk not being able to receive the freedom of love, the only thing that can break our complicity with evil. Those who, on the other hand, acknowledge their sin and feel the need to be saved, will accept agape, that is "the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me." Love introduces us to the "blessed" God, in the blessing of God that is the fullness of love and happiness.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord