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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

2 Corinthians 7, 1-16

Since these promises have been made to us, my dear friends, we should wash ourselves clean of everything that pollutes either body or spirit, bringing our sanctification to completion in the fear of God.

Keep a place for us in your hearts. We have not injured anyone, or ruined anyone, or taken advantage of anyone.

I am not saying this to condemn anybody; as I have already told you, you are in our hearts -- so that together we live and together we die.

I can speak with the greatest frankness to you; and I can speak with the greatest pride about you: in all our hardship, I am filled with encouragement and overflowing with joy.

Even after we had come to Macedonia, there was no rest for this body of ours. Far from it; we were beset by hardship on all sides, there were quarrels all around us and misgivings within us.

But God, who encourages all those who are distressed, encouraged us through the arrival of Titus;

and not simply by his arrival only, but also by means of the encouragement that you had given him, as he told us of your desire to see us, how sorry you were and how concerned for us; so that I was all the more joyful.

So now, though I did distress you with my letter, I do not regret it. Even if I did regret it -- and I realise that the letter distressed you, even though not for long-

I am glad now, not because you were made to feel distress, but because the distress that you were caused led to repentance; your distress was the kind that God approves and so you have come to no kind of harm through us.

For to be distressed in a way that God approves leads to repentance and then to salvation with no regrets; it is the world's kind of distress that ends in death.

Just look at this present case: at what the result has been of your being made to feel distress in the way that God approves -- what concern, what defence, what indignation and what alarm; what yearning, and what enthusiasm, and what justice done. In every way you have cleared yourselves of blame in this matter.

So although I wrote a letter to you, it was not for the sake of the offender, nor for the one offended, but only so that you yourselves should fully realise in the sight of God what concern you have for us.

That is what I have found encouraging. In addition to all this to encourage us, we were made all the more joyful by Titus' joy, now that his spirit has been refreshed by you all.

And if I boasted about you to him in any way, then I have not been made to look foolish; indeed, our boast to Titus has been proved to be as true as anything we said to you.

His personal affection for you is all the stronger when he remembers how obedient you have all been, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling.

I am glad that I have every confidence in you.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

While praising the Christian community of Corinth for its faith, Paul asks them to “make room in [their] hearts” (v. 2). The apostle knows in his conscience that he has “wronged no one,” but is aware that it is not enough to feel at ease with his own conscience; it is necessary that the bond of love between him and his children be reconstructed, as well as that that among brothers and sisters. Being content with one’s own tranquillity means seeing only oneself. Fraternity, that is the good of community, requires re-healing the relationship of love. The apostle asks to be “welcomed in their hearts,” to be loved by his children. This is not a question at the psychological level, which also has its own weight, but above all at the level of gospel love. Paul is well aware that the letter he had sent to them with great sorrow of heart and through many tears (2:4) had saddened them. But it was necessary to correct. If he had not done this there would not have been those changes which indeed were necessary. Paul wants the Corinthians to understand clearly the meaning of correction as an act of love. The words which appeared hard, and which in a certain sense were, have borne the fruits of repentance and of conversion. If Paul dwells on this theme it is because he knows that in every community there is need for the Word of God to be preached so that it may penetrate down into the depths and, as a sharp sword, divide good from evil. It is obvious that this is not a painless operation and it always provokes trouble, but it is momentary and in any case healthy because it eliminates from our hearts all that is linked to sin. Thus we will be able to grow in the love of God and of the brothers and sisters. Paul understood well that the letter was to be accompanied also by the sending of a brother, in this case, Titus, to whom Paul had praised the community. The welcome and acceptance that the community has poured out on him – which was nothing else than obedience to the apostle – facilitated for Titus the pastoral task of reconciling quarrels. The apostle shows his great pastoral wisdom: the life of the community does not grow through cold rules, but within a robust love, which also requires correction and pain, and which cannot work without personal relationships. If love is strong, even correction is welcomed and in the end leads to the joy of fraternity.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord