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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Romuald (950-1027), anchorite and father of Camaldolensis monks.

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

James 1, 9-11

It is right that the brother in humble circumstances should glory in being lifted up,

and the rich in being brought low. For the rich will last no longer than the wild flower;

the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, its flower falls, its beauty is lost. It is the same with the rich: in the middle of a busy life, the rich will wither.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The value of each person does not lie in the things possessed, in the things that one can boast about in front of others, but only in being rich before God. Only what has value in the Lord’s eyes remains forever and can never be taken away or corroded, as the Gospel says (cf. Lk 12:33). The prophet Jeremiah already wrote, "Thus says the LORD: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD" (Jer 9:23-24). Sirach, addressing both rich and poor, also announces what the true riches that they should seek are: "The rich, and the eminent, and the poor - their glory is the fear of the Lord" (Sir 10:22). Drawing from the image of the prophet Isaiah that compares the human person to a "flower in the field" (40:6-7) that in one day withers and fades, James exhorts the disciples of Jesus to consider that they are weak and fragile creatures. Because God chose fragile and weak people to infuse love in their hearts and to render them participants in the project of salvation, the knowledge of this fragility should not induce pessimism and sadness. The truth that believers can boast about, and which even resists death, is the Lord’s love poured out and into our hearts. Every believer can personally make the Apostle Paul’s exhortation his or her own: "The one who boasts, boast in the Lord" (1 Cor 1:31). As we will see, James speaks to a community whose members are from different social backgrounds and that is easily affected by the roles and trends of the world. This is why he reminds those of humble origin to rejoice because they have found the one who raises them; and to the rich he reminds to rejoice of their humiliation, for this helps them to understand that life does not depend on goods or physical appearance. The gift of wisdom allows everyone to find the right measure of life, abandoning the easy pride that puffs us but also the resignation of feeling useless. James reminds the community to allow God the task of raising or lowering people, because we are not the absolute owners of our lives. We will not find protection in things but only in the One who loves the weakness of men and women and prepares for them a place in his house in heaven. The poor and the rich are not two opposing worlds, divided by the gap that in his life, did not allow the rich man to realize and to love the poor Lazarus. For James, poor and rich are brothers and sisters who need to live according to the mind of god and not of the world, being always aware of the smallness and fragility of human condition.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord