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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Corinthians 14, 26-40

Then what should it be like, brothers? When you come together each of you brings a psalm or some instruction or a revelation, or speaks in a tongue or gives an interpretation. Let all these things be done in a way that will build up the community.

If there are to be any people speaking in a tongue, then let there be only two, or at the most three, and those one at a time, and let one of these interpret.

If there is no interpreter, then let each of them be quiet in the assembly, and speak only to himself and God.

Let two prophets, or three, speak while the rest weigh their words;

and if a revelation comes to someone else who is sitting by, the speaker should stop speaking.

You can all prophesy, but one at a time, then all will learn something and all receive encouragement.

The prophetic spirit is to be under the prophets' control,

for God is a God not of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of God's holy people,

women are to remain quiet in the assemblies, since they have no permission to speak: theirs is a subordinate part, as the Law itself says.

If there is anything they want to know, they should ask their husbands at home: it is shameful for a woman to speak in the assembly.

Do you really think that you are the source of the word of God? Or that you are the only people to whom it has come?

Anyone who claims to be a prophet, or to have any spiritual powers must recognise that what I am writing to you is a commandment from the Lord.

If anyone does not recognise this, it is because that person is not recognised himself.

So, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not suppress the gift of speaking in tongues.

But make sure that everything is done in a proper and orderly fashion.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The apostle continues to give instructions about how to behave during the liturgical assemblies. Paul’s insistence demonstrates the great esteem he has for these celebrations. In a certain sense, they are the moments in which the community shows its highest face. That is why he is so concerned that everything be done in an organized manner. It is far from the apostle to want to coerce the liberty that comes from the gifts of the Spirit. Nonetheless, he does remind the Corinthians to be orderly in their assemblies. He justifies this by affirming that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” Thus he underlines, once again, the supreme importance of the unity of community and the ability of the brothers and sisters to live together in an “orderly” way. In this context, he feels the responsibility to urge Christians to be prophets - that is, witnesses who know how to communicate the Gospel to the world clearly. This exhortation is particularly appropriate in our time, when everyone (every individual, group, ethnic group, and nation) is strongly tempted to close itself off in its own individualism, even religiously. The communities of disciples have the task of communicating the one word, the Gospel, so that it can bring a leavening of unity to the entire world. Nonetheless, the life of the community should not be false unanimity. The apostle urges his readers to express all of the charisms, not to smother or block them. Even the question about the behaviour of women in the assembly (Paul is probably referring to married women) should be understood in light of what he already said - that women can speak, but not with their heads uncovered because that would be improper (1 Corinthians 11:5-12). The next set of instructions (v. 14:34-35), which are about not starting a debate in public, comes from an attitude of prudence. The apostle is very aware that the charismatic dimension is an essential element of life in the Church. What counts is for everything to happen for common edification.

Sunday Vigil