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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Saint Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death, brought to Rome where he died a martyr (†107).

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Chronicles 5, 11-14

Now when the priests came out of the Holy Place -- for all the priests present had sanctified themselves regardless of the orders to which they belonged,

and all the levitical singers, Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun with their sons and brothers, dressed in linen, were standing to the east of the altar with cymbals, lyres and harps and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing the trumpets,

and the harmony between trumpeters and singers was such that only one melody could be heard as they praised and gave thanks to Yahweh -- and the singing began, to the accompaniment of trumpets, cymbals and musical instruments, and they praised Yahweh 'for he is good, for his faithful love is everlasting' -- then the Temple was filled with the cloud of the glory of Yahweh,

and because of the cloud the priests could not stay and perform their duties. For the glory of Yahweh filled the Temple of God.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The text, though having some heaviness of style, emphasizes the grandeur of the moment that is being lived. There is a parallel between the liturgy of the transport of the Ark from Jerusalem to the temple of David and the rite of enthronement of the Ark in the temple of Solomon. From all comes forth a prayer and a song "in unison," notes the author. And this is not without significance, for this concord manifests the fruit of that entrance signified by the union of all in one heart and in one voice. A common praise ascends to God “for he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever.” God responds immediately to the prayer of his people: Then “the temple, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” The cloud of incense that pervades the temple, in biblical language, signifies the visible sign of the presence of God. It happens at the beginning of Israel's history as told in the book of Exodus: “Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain” (Ex 24:15-18). The advent of the cloud indicates always the presence of God among his people. God takes possession of the temple, the place of his dwelling on earth. The tablets of the Law, shrouded in the cloud, are the Word of the living God. One cannot separate the Law from the cloud enveloping it. Because of this, we cannot open the Holy Scriptures and even read it without being enveloped by the cloud, that is, without being under the influence of the Spirit of God. The Holy Scriptures are not the property of anyone, not even the priests who, as the Chronicler noted, are forced to exit as soon as the cloud invades the most holy place. The Word of God calls for a heart that hears in an attitude of prayer. This is an unbroken tradition, sanctioned by Vatican II, when at the very beginning of the Constitution on Revelation one reads: "Religiously hearing the Word of God." The Holy Scripture is the substance of the prayer of the believer. As we open the pages of the Bible we ought to invoke the Holy Spirit so that it surrounds us with its shadow and open our minds to understanding the Words that we are facing. And what happened that day in the temple will become true in us.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets