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The Everyday Prayer

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

Prayer for the unity of the Churches.  Particular memory of the ancient Churches of the Orient (Syrian Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian, Assyrian).

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

Tobit 1,3-9

I, Tobit, have walked in paths of truth and in good works all the days of my life. I have given much in alms to my brothers and fellow country-folk, exiled like me to Nineveh in the country of Assyria.

In my young days, when I was still at home in the land of Israel, the whole tribe of Naphtali my ancestor broke away from the House of David and from Jerusalem, though this was the city chosen out of all the tribes of Israel for their sacrifices; here, the Temple -- God's dwelling-place -- had been built and hallowed for all generations to come.

All my brothers and the House of Naphtali sacrificed on every hill-top in Galilee to the calf that Jeroboam king of Israel had made at Dan.

Often I was quite alone in making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, fulfilling the Law that binds all Israel perpetually. I would hurry to Jerusalem with the first yield of fruits and beasts, the tithe of cattle and the sheep's first shearings.

I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, for the altar. To the Levites ministering at Jerusalem I would give my tithe of wine and corn, olives, pomegranates and other fruits. Six years in succession I took the second tithe in money and went and paid it annually at Jerusalem.

I gave the third to orphans and widows and to the strangers who live among the Israelites; I brought it them as a gift every three years. When we ate, we obeyed both the ordinances of the law of Moses and the exhortations of Deborah the mother of our ancestor Ananiel; for my father had died and left me an orphan.

When I came to man's estate, I married a woman from our kinsfolk whose name was Anna; she bore me a son whom I called Tobias.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today we start the continued reading of the book of Tobit, a wisdom-type narrative told by a believer who has deeply reflected on Hebrew scripture. After a brief introduction (vv.1-2), the book of Tobit begins with the story of Tobit, the father of Tobias. He himself begins to tell the story: "I, Tobit, walked in the ways of truth and righteousness all the days of my life..." (v. 3). He is speaking from exile, far from his land, together with the people of Israel in Nineveh, the enemy city par excellence. Tobit is suffering the same fate as everyone else, but he has not shared their religious experiences. The majority of the people of Israel were living in religious apostasy, participating in idolatrous religious practices contrary to the one cult performed in the temple in Jerusalem. But Tobit remains rooted in the faith of his ancestors, taught to him by his grandmother Deborah (note that this reference of his grandmother’s role in the transmission of faith is important), and faithful to Jerusalem: "I was mindful of God with all my heart" (1:12). His memory reaches back to the years when he lived in his homeland, and he says that he was an observant believer, as he "walked in the ways of truth and righteousness." He recalls his faithfulness to the law, right down to the minutest instructions, like the practice of tithing, which he describes in detail (v. 6-8). Moreover, Tobit notes: "I performed many acts of charity for my kindred and my people" (v. 3), and, following the example of the great patriarchs, he chose for himself a wife from his own family. The law of the Lord occupies the first place in Tobit’s life, and from it emerge three priorities that we will find throughout the rest of the book: charity for his countrymen, true worship (highlighted by the special emphasis on Jerusalem and the temple), and family values. He gives his son the name "Tobias," which means "the Lord is my good," even though his current situation seems to indicate the contrary. But it is precisely this lesson that emerges from these pages: those who are faithful to the Lord will be accompanied by the angel of God throughout their lives and receive their reward.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 15 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 16 October
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 17 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 18 October
Memory of the Apostles
Thursday, 19 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 20 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 21 October
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday