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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of Mary of Clopas who stood near the cross of the Lord with the other women. Prayer for all women in every part of the world who follow the Lord in difficulties and with courage. We remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was killed by the Nazis in the concentration camp of Flossenbürg.

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

2 Corinthians 3, 1-18

Are we beginning to commend ourselves to you afresh -- as though we needed, like some others, to have letters of commendation either to you or from you?

You yourselves are our letter, written in our hearts, that everyone can read and understand;

and it is plain that you are a letter from Christ, entrusted to our care, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not on stone tablets but on the tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence we have through Christ in facing God;

it is not that we are so competent that we can claim any credit for ourselves; all our competence comes from God.

He has given us the competence to be ministers of a new covenant, a covenant which is not of written letters, but of the Spirit; for the written letters kill, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the administering of death, engraved in letters on stone, occurred in such glory that the Israelites could not look Moses steadily in the face, because of its glory, transitory though this glory was,

how much more will the ministry of the Spirit occur in glory!

For if it is glorious to administer condemnation, to administer saving justice is far richer in glory.

Indeed, what was once considered glorious has lost all claim to glory, by contrast with the glory which transcends it.

For if what was transitory had any glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts for ever.

With a hope like this, we can speak with complete fearlessness;

not like Moses who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites should not watch the end of what was transitory.

But their minds were closed; indeed, until this very day, the same veil remains over the reading of the Old Testament: it is not lifted, for only in Christ is it done away with.

As it is, to this day, whenever Moses is read, their hearts are covered with a veil,

and this veil will not be taken away till they turn to the Lord.

Now this Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

And all of us, with our unveiled faces like mirrors reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the image that we reflect in brighter and brighter glory; this is the working of the Lord who is the Spirit.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Never, as in this letter, has Paul felt constrained to speak about himself. He does so, however, not to promote himself, but to hold the community of Corinth closely connected to the Gospel. He adds, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all” (v. 2). We may say that the life of the community itself is a clear and strong announcement of the Gospel in which it is rooted. As Gregory the Great has said, “Scripture grows with those who read it.” The “true” Scripture, “the letter of Christ,” is the living community in which, through the preaching of the apostle, appears the power of the Word engraved by the Spirit in the hearts of listeners. The link between the preaching of the word and the heart of the listener is given not by the ability of the preacher of the gospel but by the Spirit present in the heart. Paul had already written in his First Letter to the community: “And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1Cor 2:3-4). The passionate love with which Paul communicated the Word of God so that it might reach all hearts is revealed in his words. For this he has toiled and spent years of his life. He claims paternity of the commun¬ity in order that it might not be distracted from its foundation in the Gospel. The passage ends with a rereading of the revelation made by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. Paul compares the revelation of the law, which was written on tablets of stone, with the revelation of the Gospel. But this latter, which comes from the Spirit, is much more profound than the first, because it is not carved on tablets of stone, but on hearts. He adds, “For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (v. 6). And the spirit of Jesus takes away each veil of ritual religiosity to show that the eternal essence of the Gospel is love.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord