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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Deuteronomy 30, 15-20

'Look, today I am offering you life and prosperity, death and disaster.

If you obey the commandments of Yahweh your God, which I am laying down for you today, if you love Yahweh your God and follow his ways, if you keep his commandments, his laws and his customs, you will live and grow numerous, and Yahweh your God will bless you in the country which you are about to enter and make your own.

But if your heart turns away, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn into worshipping other gods and serving them,

I tell you today, you will most certainly perish; you will not live for long in the country which you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

Today, I call heaven and earth to witness against you: I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live,

in the love of Yahweh your God, obeying his voice, holding fast to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends the length of time that you stay in the country which Yahweh swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give them.'


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

At the beginning of Lent we are all presented with a choice: to convert to the Lord and abandon the ways of evil and death to follow the ways of good and life. Deuteronomy shows the possibility of living in peace through the obedience to the Lord’s commandment: love the Lord, walk in his ways, observe his commands. The same call is made again at the end of the passage: “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him.” Above all love. Everything starts from there. Loving the Lord means listening to him, welcoming his word, and therefore “walking in his ways,” that is, following him, “keeping united to him.” No one should put himself or herself before the Lord, as we would love to do, believing ourselves wiser than the Gospel. The disciples—because they are disciples—know well that they must always stay behind to follow and to listen. Even in the Gospels Jesus asks the disciples to follow him. Praying and listening to and reading the Word of God will help us follow Him. Often in life we would like to all stay ahead, to assert ourselves—others should follow us, pay attention to us, give way to our habits and give in to our reasons. To be disciples and to love the Lord is a choice that is renewed every day, above all during Lent, an opportune time for conversion, which helps turn us from ourselves and turn our eyes toward the Lord. In loving and following we learn how to obey his commands, his Word. Deuteronomy shows that in the love of God and in obedience to Him the way of life and longevity is hidden. It is a vision that at times is contested in the same Bible, especially when confronted with the suffering and premature death of a just one, as it happens for example in the book of Job and in the book of Wisdom. In any case, it is without a doubt that communion with the Lord and listening to his Word that render life beautiful and human, and are a great wisdom for the world.

Memory of the Church