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The Everyday Prayer

printable version

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

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Chronicles 17, 16-27

King David then went in, sat down in Yahweh's presence and said: 'Who am I, Yahweh God, and what is my lineage, that you have led me as far as this?

Yet, to you, O God, this seemed too little, and now you extend your promises for your servant's family into the distant future, making me see as it were a whole succession of men, and it is Yahweh God himself who raises it up.

What more can David reply to you for the honour you have given to your servant? You yourself have singled out your servant.

For your servant, and since you were so inclined, you have had the generosity to reveal all this greatness to come.

Yahweh, there is no one like you, no God but you alone, as everything that we have heard confirms.

Is there another people on earth like your people Israel, whom a god has proceeded to redeem, to make them his people and to make them famous and do for them great and terrible deeds, by driving out nations before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?-

for you made your people Israel your own people for ever and you, Yahweh, became their God.

'Now, Yahweh, may the promise which you have made for your servant and as regards his family hold good for ever, and do as you have said.

May it hold good, so your name will be exalted for ever and people will say, "Israel's God is Yahweh Sabaoth; he is God for Israel." Your servant David's dynasty will be secure before you

since you, my God, have disclosed to your servant that you are going to build him a dynasty. Hence, your servant has ventured to offer this prayer to you.

Yes, Yahweh, you are God indeed, and you have made this generous promise to your servant.

What is more, you have deigned to bless your servant's dynasty, so that it may remain for ever before you; and since you, Yahweh, have blessed it, blessed will it be for ever.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the end of this splendid prayer, we Christians must ask ourselves: if David addresses these moving words of faith to the Lord for the promise of a house in the future, what should we say, who already have a house? Unfortunately, we note the ease with which we allow ourselves to regard with indifference the "house" that the Lord has given us, namely the Church, the community that has become our family. David, upon hearing the word of the prophet, went immediately before the ark, and thanked the Lord. The first words show that David is conscious of his inadequacy: "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?" (v. 16). Shouldn’t we have the same conscience? And should we not also address these words when we are greeted in the Holy Liturgy and admitted to the presence of the Lord? However, given how we are taken in by a great idea of ourselves, we forget our poverty and, consequently, the need we have to be saved and then to pray, to invoke mercy. The Lord of heaven and earth, however, continues to lean on us. What he has done with his people, Israel, He continues to do with the disciples of his Son. And then we, like David did, should continue to profess our faith in the Lord. His words can be our own: "There is no one like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears" (v. 20). In fact, the heart of prayer is the abandonment of our lives to God, and putting ourselves into his hands, certain that they will protect us from evil and lead us in the ways of his peace. David admits that everything is done as "we have heard with our ears." We could say that the Scriptures continue to remember God’s mercy that never ceases to extend into generations of those who rely on Him. David remembers, "[You drove] out nations before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt. And you made your people Israel to be your people forever; and you, O Lord, became their God" (vv. 21-22). This awareness allows him to be bold in his conversation with the Lord, bold as were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, all friends of God: "And now, O Lord, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, let it be established forever, and do as you have promised" (v. 23). The audacity of David in asking God to be faithful to his word will find a full response when the Father, who is in heaven, gives to men and women his ever higher Word: His Son. Jesus is the definitive Word that God has given to humanity. We are reminded of it at the beginning of the Letter to the Hebrews: "God, who many times and in diverse ways in antiquity had spoken to the fathers through the prophets, ultimately, in these days, has spoken through his Son" (1:1-2). At the end of his prayer, David asks the Lord for benediction; and he knows that this is eternal, because the love of God does not lie. In this page, David rests in front of us and teaches how to come nearer to God, with which words, and above all, with which heart.

Memory of the Church