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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

Exodus 33, 7-11; 34,5-9.28

Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult Yahweh would go out to the Tent of Meeting, outside the camp.

Whenever Moses went out to the Tent, the people would all stand up and every man would stand at the door of his tent and watch Moses until he went into the Tent.

And whenever Moses went into the Tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and station itself at the entrance to the Tent, while Yahweh spoke with Moses.

The people could all see the pillar of cloud stationed at the entrance to the Tent and the people would all stand up and bow low, each at the door of his tent.

Yahweh would talk to Moses face to face, as a man talks to his friend, and afterwards he would come back to the camp, but the young man who was his servant, Joshua son of Nun, never left the inside of the Tent.

And Yahweh descended in a cloud and stood with him there and pronounced the name Yahweh.

Then Yahweh passed before him and called out, 'Yahweh, Yahweh, God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in faithful love and constancy,

maintaining his faithful love to thousands, forgiving fault, crime and sin, yet letting nothing go unchecked, and punishing the parent's fault in the children and in the grandchildren to the third and fourth generation!'

Moses immediately bowed to the ground in worship,

then he said, 'If indeed I do enjoy your favour, please, my Lord, come with us, although they are an obstinate people; and forgive our faults and sins, and adopt us as your heritage.'

He stayed there with Yahweh for forty days and forty nights, eating and drinking nothing, and on the tablets he wrote the words of the covenant -- the Ten Words.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

God can even be encountered amidst the difficulties of the desert. But there needs to be a person of faith like Moses to make it possible for the entire people . Moses lives in a very special communion with God. The cloud that came down over his tent was a sign of the presence of God who was speaking with his prophet. But God did not just come down for his prophet. Through Moses, he spoke to Israel. And Moses had a strength that attracted: everyone looked to him; he was the man of God, the one who spoke to the Lord face to face and who therefore could report God’s thoughts to everyone else. By listening to him, the entire people could take part in the divine conversation that took place in the tent of meeting. But everyone had to come out of his or her own little tent and listen, that is, out of the warmth of daily life and the narrowness of personal horizons. It is not by chance that the sacred author writes that Moses came back to the camp. He is like the Word of God, which descends into our daily lives to make them fertile with love. In every human being there is a desire to see God and His beauty. Moses burns with this desire, and he expresses it in prayer. But who can see the face of God? And yet God does not hide from Moses; he does not deny his wish, and expression of faith and love. Moses will be able to see the glory of God and enjoy the beauty of His presence. He is brought up high on the rock and protected from the Lord by His own merciful hand, so that he might see Him and remain alive. Jesus himself revealed his glory to his disciples on Mount Tabor. They saw his face transfigured. In Jesus we too can contemplate the beauty of God’s face, that face that is always at the centre of the prayer of the community of Sant’Egidio. With the Psalmist we pray: “Let your face shine, that we may be saved” (80:20).

Memory of the Mother of the Lord