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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Isaiah 55, 10-11

For, as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat,

so it is with the word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

These verses conclude the second part of the book of Isaiah, which begins at chapter 40, about the work of a prophet that lived during the Babylonian exile. The time after the exile was a difficult time for Israel. Many were the doubts and uncertainties after what the people had experienced. They were times of poverty but also of hope. What could the life of the people base itself against after having lived the bitter experience of exile? The Word of God had to return to being the basis of the people’s history and the deep root that nourished their faith. Yes, the faith in the Lord and his help had to return to being the strength and hope of that people, as it must also be today for the entire Christian community and for every single believer. The Word of God, in fact, has an incredible strength to change things—even if we continue to be sceptics. God himself sent this word so that it would have an effect, so that it would change history and hearts. The prophet confirms it: like the rain and snow that irrigate and make the earth fertile, so it is with the Word of God. When it is listened to and welcomed in the heart—this is the meaning of the parable of the sower—it produces much fruit. For this reason we should ask ourselves: do we listen to the Lord who speaks? The apostle Paul affirms with clarity that “faith is born of listening” (Rom 10:17). When we continue to always repeat our habits, when we have a hard time changing our life on the path of love, when we continue to be prisoners of our egocentrism, when we let ourselves be caught by our habit to blame others and justify ourselves, shouldn’t we instead ask ourselves: am I listening to the Lord who is speaking to me? Am I allowing his Word to penetrate my heart and give it life? Am I like Mary that “kept” the Word of God in her heart? How many times, instead, our heart is full of worries, of anxieties, of obstacles, of bad feelings, of passions that suffocate the Word of God that at times we even listen to! Shouldn’t we let ourselves be guided more by the Gospel and imitate the Lord Jesus? And when we say we are listening to the Gospel but we are not able to put it in practice, let’s ask ourselves if we are really listening, if we have an open and attentive heart. Many times in the Gospel it says that the seed of the Word will have its effect in any event. Trusting in this Gospel conviction, what is asked of us is to not ever neglect listening to the Word of God. It will certainly have an effect. The prophet affirms that the Word of God did not return to him, “empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Let us ask the Lord to give us a heart that is ready to listen, so that the conversion God asks each of us in this time may be realized and we may become renewed women and men according to God’s thinking.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord