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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 2, 18-25

Yahweh God said, 'It is not right that the man should be alone. I shall make him a helper.'

So from the soil Yahweh God fashioned all the wild animals and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it.

The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild animals. But no helper suitable for the man was found for him.

Then, Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And, while he was asleep, he took one of his ribs and closed the flesh up again forthwith.

Yahweh God fashioned the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man.

And the man said: This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh! She is to be called Woman, because she was taken from Man.

This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Now, both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame before each other.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

God created for man “a helper as his partner.” “It is not good that the man should be alone…” God’s statement made at the beginning of human life encapsulates a great secret of wisdom and life that concerns not only man and woman and their union, but all of humanity. No one is meant to be alone and no one is made to be and live by him or herself. Loneliness is always bitter and does not benefit anyone. We might say that God does not like being alone, either. Indeed, he is made of three persons. This mystery is at the heart of Christian faith: God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The communion of the three divine persons is at the heart, if we may say so, of the mystery of their intimacy and the reason for their love for humankind. In other words, God is an entire family that does not remain closed on itself; rather it opens as soon as it sees humanity in need of help: the Father sends forth the Son and then the Holy Spirit is given to men and women. Communion lies at the beginning and end of everything. This is why it is not good to be alone. In the creation story, the author notes that the man sees and names all the animals, but does not have anyone with whom he can relate and who can fill his need for love. The narration explains the creation of woman in a way that is meant to emphasize the original unity and complementarity that exists between men and women: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” These words point towards a unique reality of belonging, be it to a family or a people. They are pronounced in a similar way, for example, when the people of the northern kingdom went to Hebron and called David their king, too: “Look, we are your bone and flesh” (2 Samuel 5:1). They indicate a mutual belonging, a communion, an alliance that requires a commitment. Rightly so, the passage collocates in this context the origin of the family as the first response to loneliness/solitude and individualism, the first nucleus of society on which everything depends. “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Going beyond the simple biblical narration, this text indicates that family irrevocably entails the deep and original unity between women and men that people cannot annul.

Memory of the Church