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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 John 4, 17-21

Love comes to its perfection in us when we can face the Day of Judgement fearlessly, because even in this world we have become as he is.

In love there is no room for fear, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear implies punishment and no one who is afraid has come to perfection in love.

Let us love, then, because he first loved us.

Anyone who says 'I love God' and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Indeed this is the commandment we have received from him, that whoever loves God, must also love his brother.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The audacity of the apostle in saying that love among Christians is perfect underscores the originality of evangelic love (agape), which is not the work of humans, but the love of God poured out in the heart of the believers. It is a love that indivisibly binds the Christian with God and his or her brothers and sisters. Christian love creates a circular relationship between God and Christian brothers and sisters that begins with God’s "abiding" in us. It is Jesus who gives us the example, "Because as he is, so are we in this world." The words recall those of Paul, "It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me." The perfect love of Christians is not the work of men and women. It is a gift that Christians receive from on high that should neither bind nor sadden us, but instead allows us to work in its liberating strength. Once again the apostle insists that we can love because God loved us first. And, as every page of the Bible shows clearly, this is never an abstract or empty love. On the contrary, this love is always made real by loving men and women, beginning with the weakest. And if God’s love is like this, it is impossible to maintain that we love God without loving our brothers and sisters. Only a liar could say such a thing. The apostle is quite clear on the matter, "Those who do not love a brother or a sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen." Love for God is indivisible from love for man and woman. This conviction, which reaches its fullness in Jesus Christ, runs through the whole of Scripture: we must not only love those who love us, but we must also love our enemies. Then love will reach perfection.

Memory of the Poor