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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

1 Corinthians 7,25-31

About people remaining virgin, I have no directions from the Lord, but I give my own opinion as a person who has been granted the Lord's mercy to be faithful. Well then, because of the stress which is weighing upon us, the right thing seems to be this: it is good for people to stay as they are. If you are joined to a wife, do not seek to be released; if you are freed of a wife, do not look for a wife. However, if you do get married, that is not a sin, and it is not sinful for a virgin to enter upon marriage. But such people will have the hardships consequent on human nature, and I would like you to be without that. What I mean, brothers, is that the time has become limited, and from now on, those who have spouses should live as though they had none; and those who mourn as though they were not mourning; those who enjoy life as though they did not enjoy it; those who have been buying property as though they had no possessions; and those who are involved with the world as though they were people not engrossed in it. Because this world as we know it is passing away.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After having dealt with the issue of marriage in various contexts, Paul now turns to the young men and women who are about to be married and proposes to them the ideal of virginity as a form of communion with Christ without distractions and as a way of waiting for Christ’s coming at the end of time. Celibacy, Paul says, proclaims that the Kingdom of God is already present, that the Spirit of the Risen one is already at work, and that the leavening of eternity - the eternal time in which no one marries because everyone contemplates the Lord - is already present in the life of the Christian community. The apostle shows great esteem for celibacy chosen out of love for the Kingdom. Choosing not to marry means demonstrating with one’s own life that God is enough. We could say that those who choose celibacy demonstrate that the Church needs no other support or help than God. God alone is the one who sustains. That is what the celibate person, with all his or her limits, demonstrates with his or her choice. However, Paul clearly affirms that this commandment is not given by the Lord to all. But in every situation the apostle proposes to the Christians of Corinth - and this is a commandment from the Gospel - the primacy of the Kingdom of God in their personal lives and in the life of the community. The apostle tells the Corinthians - and our communities of the beginning of this new millennium - that time has grown short. Yes, we are at the beginning of a millennium, but the time to live and share the Gospel of the Kingdom has grown short. We cannot let ourselves be taken in by the slavery of our psychology, or rhythms, or our habits, which make us follow the Lord more slowly. For a Christian, freedom means obeying the Lord’s commands, and hurrying to communicate the Gospel to all, to the ends of the earth. If we obey this command we will please the Lord.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets