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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

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 John 4, 7-10

My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.

Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.

This is the revelation of God's love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him.

Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John once again writes, “Let us love one another.” He repeats this idea three times in just a few verses: “love one another.” And he gives the reason: “because love is from God.” In fact, “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” On the contrary, “Whoever does not love does not know God.” And John - with a claim never used anywhere else in the Bible - defines the very mystery of God: “God is love.” Saint Augustine writes: “If nothing else had been written in praise of love in the rest of the letter, or better in the rest of Scripture, and we had heard from the mouth of the Holy Spirit just this assertion, 'God is love', we would not have to look for anything else.” This is not a theoretical statement, no matter how lofty it is. For John, this claim comes from observing God's activity in human history, which reaches its culmination in Jesus Christ. By affirming that “God is love,” John sums up what the whole history of salvation testifies: namely, that God chooses, forgives, and remains faithful to his people, despite their betrayals. Moreover, in Jesus Christ this love reaches the limit, the furthest boundaries of the imaginable, when he gives his life for the salvation of humanity. This is why John continues, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” How then could someone not understand this impassioned argument, meant to convince the hearts and minds of believers? He writes, “Since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” The love of which John is speaking is so sublime that not only can we not live it, we cannot even conceptualize it. It is so sublime and far from the way people usually feel. We can only understand this love because God himself revealed it to us and testified to it in many ways, up to its culmination in Jesus. John can insist to his disciples: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” The love that is laid in the hearts of the disciples is not a romantic feeling; it is God's own love, agape, as is written in the New Testament. The consequences of this are clear: those who do not love are far from God and do not know him, precisely because God is love. But those who welcome love abide in God and already know Him intimately.

Prayer of the Christmas season