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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Proverbs 26, 1-28

Snow no more befits the summer, nor rain the harvest-time, than honours befit a fool.

As the sparrow escapes, and the swallow flies away, so the undeserved curse will never hit its mark.

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and for the backs of fools, a stick.

Do not answer a fool in the terms of his folly for fear you grow like him yourself.

Answer a fool in the terms of his folly for fear he imagine himself wise.

He wounds himself, he takes violence for his drink, who sends a message by a fool.

Unreliable as the legs of the lame, so is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

As well tie the stone to the sling as pay honour to a fool.

A thorn branch in a drunkard's hand, such is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

An archer wounding everyone, such is he who hires the passing fool and drunkard.

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool reverts to his folly.

You see someone who thinks himself wise? More to be hoped for from a fool than from him!

'A wild beast on the road!' says the idler, 'a lion in the streets!'

The door turns on its hinges, the idler on his bed.

Into the dish the idler dips his hand, but is too tired to bring it back to his mouth.

The idler thinks himself wiser than seven people who answer with discretion.

He takes a stray dog by the ears, who meddles in someone else's quarrel.

Like a madman hurling firebrands, arrows and death,

so is anyone who lies to a companion and then says, 'Aren't I amusing?'

No wood, and the fire goes out; no slanderer, and quarrelling dies down.

Charcoal for live embers, wood for fire, and the quarrelsome for kindling strife.

The words of a slanderer are tasty morsels that go right down into the belly.

Base silver-plate on top of clay: such are fervent lips and a wicked heart.

Whoever hates may hide it in speech, but deep within lies treachery;

do not trust such a person's pretty speeches, since in the heart lurk seven abominations.

Hatred may disguise itself with guile, to reveal its wickedness later in the assembly.

Whoever digs a pit falls into it, the stone comes back on him that rolls it.

The lying tongue hates its victims, the wheedling mouth causes ruin.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The wise man is opposed to the fool, described in the first part of this chapter, so that erroneously we neither follow his choices nor respond to his behaviour. The Word of God seeks to create a boundary between the wise man and the fool. When faced with life, we cannot be conformists, that is, agreeing with all that we hear or see, based solely on our own convictions. A person of God follows the word of the Lord, and submits on himself/herself to it, whereas the fool follows himself, his instincts and habits. The lazy person falls into the same category as the fool, for out of pride, he resists changing the way he or she lives: "The lazy person is wiser in self-esteem than seven who can answer discreetly" (v.16). The root of foolishness is the refusal to allow oneself to be led by the Lord and to accept the rule that Proverbs gives from the very beginning: listen like children to the voice of the Father. The author then reflects again on the word (v. 17-28) that is so important in our daily lives and relationships. If we understand these verses, we will benefit greatly from reflecting on our daily behaviour. In the soul of our society, we can find, first of all, quarrelling, followed by slander, troublemaking, flattery and deception. These all lead to a world based on division, where individuals affirm only themselves, unaware of the evil that originate from these attitudes "A perverse person spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends" (v. 28) is the bitter conclusion of the text. According to the prophet Jeremiah, "falsehood" is at the root of those who live without God and consider themselves as the principle measure of history. The "devil," in addition to being the spirit of division, is also the spirit of falsehood. In the Bible, division and lies go hand in hand, and are reflected in the lives of those who live for themselves and make the ego their reference point for decision making and behaviour. This is why the chapter begins with a reflection on the fool and ends with a reference to lying and flattery. For the one who lives only for himself, deception is found everywhere and in everything. This is why we must guard the tongue, so that in hearing the Lord, we can express truth by words that do not come from us, but from the Lord.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday