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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

Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

 

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

The book of Esther tells the story of a Jewish woman who on account of her beauty was chosen as queen by the king of the great Persian Empire. The sacred author presents the situation of the Jewish people in the great diaspora. They are surrounded by prejudices because of the different and particular faith they practiced. Haman, a royal official, clearly explains the people’s opinion of the Jews: "There is a certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not appropriate for the king to tolerate them" (3:13). We cannot avoid reading in these words traces of the anti-Semitism which has caused so much trouble for the Jewish people through the ages, culminating in the drama of the Shoah. What can a woman like Esther do in front of such great hostility, which is even willing to exterminate the people of Israel? What can a poor woman like her do in front of violence and war? Esther first turns in prayer to her God and the God of her ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the Bible, prayer often takes up the thread of history, because in prayer we can reread our own existence in the light of God’s love and the wonders God has performed. No believer is left alone, overwhelmed by a whirlwind of events. Each of us always has a place in the plan of love which has preceded us and which prayer helps us rediscover. Therefore Esther reminds God how much He had done for her ancestors: "As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O Lord, always free those who are pleasing to you." Her prayer is divided into three parts. In the first she asks for help for herself, because she is aware of her own smallness: "Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you. ...And now, come to help me, an orphan" In prayer we discover our weakness and our need for salvation, but we trust in the strength that comes from God. Next she asks God to help her find the words to speak to the "lion," the enemy who wants to eliminate Israel. And finally she says, "Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness." From the weakness of a woman emerges the strength of prayer, which is capable of defeating evil and freeing the oppressed from the hands of their enemies.


02/18/2016
Memory of the Church


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

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