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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Father Aleksandr Men’, Orthodox priest from Moscow, barbarically murdered in 1990.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 9,1-9

Meanwhile Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he might find. It happened that while he was travelling to Damascus and approaching the city, suddenly a light from heaven shone all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' he asked, and the answer came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.' The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight and took neither food nor drink.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The conversion of Paul is one of the most well known episodes of the New Testament. The author of Acts, as if to underline its importance, on three occasions tells how Paul is “turned upside down” and made a witness of the risen Jesus. With a letter from the high priest in hand, Paul is determined to move against the Christians of Damascus with the utmost severity. As he draws near to the city, suddenly he is surrounded by a beam of light, blinded, and falls to the ground and hears a voice which twice calls him by name “Saul, Saul.” He does not see anyone; he only hears the voice calling him. Something similar happened to Moses at the burning bush. Sometimes being called by name can be a decisive and unforgettable experience. Bewildered by all that is happening, Saul asks: “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” “I am”: the same words that Moses heard. Jesus is alive. Paul gets up but he can see nothing; lead by one of his companions, he goes into Damascus just as Jesus’ voice had commanded. What happened to Paul? It was not a “conversion” from one religion to the other: the group of Christians was still entirely within Judaism and did not think of themselves as another religion. The apostle had lived through a deep experience, and it had changed him radically. It had been a true and total rebirth. This event is important for every believer: if a believer does not abandon his own pride and discover his own weakness it will be hard for him to understand what it means to believe. Only by discovering one’s poverty it is possible to know the path of evangelical wisdom. The way of pride leads towards ruin, conflict, and violence. The way of humility renews and leads to greater understanding and deeper solidarity with others. It is not an accident that the future apostle was “ led by hand” to Damascus where, led d by Ananias he was baptized after three days of darkness and began a new life.

Sunday Vigil

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 22 January
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 23 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 24 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 25 January
Memory of the Apostles
Friday, 26 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 27 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 28 January
Liturgy of the Sunday