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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

1 Kings 8,22-23.27-30

Then, in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood facing the altar of Yahweh and, stretching out his hands towards heaven, said, 'Yahweh, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, as loyal to the covenant and faithful in love to your servants as long as they walk wholeheartedly in your way. Yet will God really live with human beings on earth? Why, the heavens, the highest of the heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple built by me! Even so, listen favourably to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, Yahweh my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer which your servant makes to you today: day and night may your eyes watch over this temple, over this place of which you have said, "My name will be there." Listen to the prayer which your servant offers in this place. 'Listen to the entreaty of your servant and of your people Israel; whenever they pray in this place, listen from the place where you reside in heaven; and when you hear, forgive.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This prayer of Solomon is placed at the height of the dedication of the Temple. After blessing the Lord for the election of the House of David as expressed in the prophecy of Nathan (2 Sam 7), Solomon addresses this prayer to Yahweh. It is the same prayer that the Latin liturgy still uses today for the dedication of churches. The king is kneeling before the assembly (v. 54) turned towards the altar with his hands outstretched to the sky. Prayer is not directed towards the void but to God. This is the meaning of Solomon’s position in this prayer. The sky, of course, symbolizes the height of God in comparison with our smallness. Solomon, with eyes and hands lifted upwards, asks the Lord to fulfil the promise made to David. Referring to the construction of the Temple, however, he wonders how it is possible for God to dwell on earth: " Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!" But God had promised his people to accompany them throughout history. This is why Solomon invokes God saying: "Your eyes may be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there’ , that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays towards this place." The Temple becomes the place of God’s presence, the place of mercy, the place where the people can call upon the Lord and are sure to be heard, the place of refuge for seeking protection from the Lord, the place where the stranger is to be protected. In his prayer, Solomon lists seven requests to the Lord as if to welcome in the temple the whole life of the people of Israel. Here indeed the Lord has made his dwelling and everyone who comes there will be saved. This is exactly Jesus’ perspective when he comes as the true and definitive Temple where the Lord dwells with fullness. The construction of Solomon’s temple is the figure of this temple that God himself would realize when "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14). Nathan had told David: " He will build you a house" (1 Chr 17:10). With Jesus comes the fullness of time and God dwells permanently among His people. And the encounter with Jesus is our salvation.


02/09/2016
Memory of the Mother of the Lord


Calendar of the week
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4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday
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5
Monday, 5 December
Prayer for the Sick
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6
Tuesday, 6 December
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
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7
Wednesday, 7 December
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
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8
Thursday, 8 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
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9
Friday, 9 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
10
Saturday, 10 December
Sunday Vigil
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11
Sunday, 11 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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