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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of Onesimus, slave of Philemon, a brother in faith of the Apostle Paul.

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, begun in chapter 40, the work of a prophet who lived during the exile in Babylon. The time after the exile, however, was difficult for Israel. The dramatic experience of the exile brought with it doubts and uncertainty. Of course, the return to Jerusalem had given rise to great hope. But there were also serious questions about how to begin life again after the bitter experience of the exile. There was a clear conviction: the Word of God had to become once more the foundation and the root that nourished the people’s faith. Yes, faith in the Lord and his help had to become the strength and hope of the people again, just as it must today for the entire Christian community and for each individual believer. Indeed, the Word of God has an incredible strength to change things - even if we continue to be sceptical. God himself sent the Word so that it would be effective, that is, so that it would change history and hearts. The prophet confirms this: just as rain and snow water the ground and make it fertile, so does 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 bears much fruit. This is why it is good for us to ask ourselves whether we listen to the Lord when He speaks to us. The Apostle Paul clearly states, "So faith comes from what is heard" (Rom 10:17). When we continue to repeat the same old habits, when we have trouble changing our lives on the path to love, when we remain prisoners of our selfishness, or when we fall into the old habit of blaming others, should we not instead ask ourselves: Am I listening to the Lord when He speaks to me? Do I let his Word enter my heart and make it fertile? Am I like Mary, who "kept" the Word of God in her heart? How often instead are our hearts full of worry, anxiety, obstacles, bad feelings, and passions that suffocate the Word of God even when we do listen to it? Should we not let ourselves be guided more by the Gospel and imitate the Lord Jesus? And when we say we listen to the Gospel but are not able to put it into practice, we should ask ourselves whether we really listen to it, whether our hearts are open and attentive to what is preached to us. It is repeated in several places in the Gospel that the seed of the Word is effective. Trusting in this evangelic conviction, we are asked to never neglect to listen to the Word of God, which will certainly have its effect. The prophet affirms that the Word will never return to God "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 ready to listen, so that we can experience the conversion that is asked of us all during this season.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord