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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Chronicles 16, 1-43

They brought the ark of God in and put it inside the tent which David had erected for it, and brought burnt offerings and made communion sacrifices in God's presence.

And when David had finished making burnt offerings and communion sacrifices, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh.

To all the Israelites, both men and women, to each, he then distributed a loaf of bread, a portion of meat and a raisin cake.

He appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of Yahweh, to extol, glorify and praise Yahweh, God of Israel;

first Asaph, second Zechariah, then Uzziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel, who played the lyre and harp, while Asaph played the cymbals.

The priests Benaiah and Jahaziel continually blew the trumpet before the ark of the covenant of God.

On that day, David was the first to assign to Asaph and his kinsmen the giving of thanks to Yahweh:

Give thanks to Yahweh, call his name aloud, proclaim his deeds to the peoples.

Chant to him, play to him, sing about all his wonders!

Take pride in his holy name, let your heart rejoice, you seekers of Yahweh!

Seek out Yahweh, seek his strength, continually seek out his presence!

Remember what wonders he has done, what miracles, what rulings he has given,

you offspring of Israel his servant, you children of Jacob his chosen one!

For he is Yahweh our God, his authority extends throughout the world.

For ever remember his covenant, the pact imposed for a thousand generations,

which he concluded with Abraham, which was sworn by him to Isaac,

since he confirmed it as a law for Jacob, as an eternal covenant for Israel,

saying, 'I will give you the country; Canaan is the measure of your inheritance,

'though you are few in number, only a few strangers there!'

As they wandered from nation to nation, from this kingdom to that people,

he would not let anyone oppress them and on their account he admonished kings,

'You are not to touch my anointed ones, my prophets are not to be harmed!'

Sing to Yahweh, all the earth, day after day proclaim his salvation!

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvels to every people!

Great is Yahweh, worthy of all praise, more awesome than any of the gods.

Nothingness, all the gods of the nations. Yahweh it was who made the heavens,

in his presence are splendour and majesty, in his sanctuary strength and joy.

Give Yahweh his due, families of peoples, give Yahweh his due of glory and power,

give Yahweh the glory due to his name! Bring an offering and enter his courts, bow down to Yahweh in his sacred court,

tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firm, it cannot be moved,

let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad! Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king!'

Let the sea thunder and all it holds, the countryside exult and everything that is in it,

and all the trees of the forest cry out for joy at Yahweh's approach, for he is coming to judge the earth.

Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, for his faithful love lasts for ever!

Say, 'Save us, God of our salvation, gather us together and free us from the nations, so that we may give thanks to your holy name -- to be extolled whenever you are praised!'

Blessed be Yahweh, God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! To which all the people said, 'Amen, Alleluia!'

There before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh David left Asaph and his kinsmen to maintain a permanent ministry before the ark as each day's ritual required,

and also Obed-Edom with his sixty-eight kinsmen. Obed-Edom son of Jeduthun, and Hosah were gatekeepers.

Zadok the priest and the priests, his kinsmen, he left before the dwelling of Yahweh on the high place at Gibeon

to bring burnt offerings to Yahweh unfailingly, morning and evening, on the altar of burnt offering, and to carry out all that is written in the Law of Yahweh laid down for Israel.

With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those who were chosen and assigned by name to give thanks to Yahweh, 'for his faithful love lasts for ever'.

With them were Heman and Jeduthun to play trumpets and cymbals, as well as instruments for accompanying sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were in charge of the gates.

Then all the people went back to their homes, and David went back to bless his household.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The text opens with the arrival of the ark in the tent that David had built especially for it. The ark is placed in the centre. Obviously it is not only a physical centre, but the centre of life of the people of Israel, the centre of its concerns. The author of the Chronicles takes up the narrative in the second book of Samuel, Chapter 12, but he makes important adjustments of the literary kind, but most of all relating to the worship and theological aspects. It is in this perspective that one understands the introduction of the Levites as responsible leaders of worship and the splendour of the ceremony that ends with a ritual feast: "When David had finished offering burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD; and he distributed to every person in Israel - man and woman alike- to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins" (v. 2-3). It is a celebration that builds those who participate as a holy people of God: after the sacrifices to the Lord, the people are blessed and then participate in a communal meal with the victims, intended precisely to the participants in the rite. It is easy to think of what happens in the Church - in full respect, as narrated here- with the celebration of the Eucharist. The ritual act involves the entire assembly. David, however, assigns to the Levites the permanent care of worship in front of the ark. They are not only responsible for transporting the ark, but also to guard it and to carry out the assignment of prayer and praise to the Lord, tirelessly. He left them "to minister regularly before the ark as each day required" (v. 37). It should be emphasized, also, the importance given to song and music in the prayer of praise that the Levites were to maintain every day. And even at that day, the Levites were instructed to sing a psalm to praise the Lord before the ark. It is a hymn composed of fragments of various psalms. The Levites urged those present to thank the Lord for all his works and the wonders he has done for them: "O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples...Remember the wonderful works he has done" (vv. 8 e 12). Hence the exhortation to recognize him as their God: "He is the Lord our God... Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded for a thousand generations" (vv. 14-15). The song then becomes a call to Israel to remember the actions of protection and salvation that God has used for them (vv. 16-21). Not only has "he allowed no one to oppress them" (v. 21), but turning to the other peoples he added, "Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm" (v. 22). The author ends the quotation from Psalm 105 and begins that taken from Psalm 96. It is an invitation to Israel because it recounts to the whole world the marvels wrought by the Lord: "Declare his glory among the nations" (v. 24). But the look extends to all people: "Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength... bring an offering, and come before him. Worship the Lord in holy splendour" (vv. 28-29). And the singer closes by praising the love and goodness of God: "O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever" (v. 34). After the prayer of praise, David left to the Levites the task of continuing the worship before the ark at the centre of the tent, while the others returned to their home, including David.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord