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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

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Ecclesiastes 7,11-24

Wisdom is as good as a legacy, profitable to those who enjoy the light of the sun.

For as money protects, so does wisdom, and the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom bestows life on those who possess her.

Consider God's creation: who, for instance, can straighten what God has bent?

When things are going well, enjoy yourself, and when they are going badly, consider this: God has designed the one no less than the other so that we should take nothing for granted.

In my futile life, I have seen everything: the upright person perishing in uprightness and the wicked person surviving in wickedness.

Do not be upright to excess and do not make yourself unduly wise: why should you destroy yourself?

Do not be wicked to excess, and do not be a fool: why die before your time?

It is wise to hold on to one and not let go of the other, since the godfearing will find both.

Wisdom makes the wise stronger than a dozen governors in a city.

No one on earth is sufficiently upright to do good without ever sinning.

Again, do not listen to all that people say, then you will not hear your servant abusing you.

For often, as you very well know, you have abused others.

Thanks to wisdom, I have found all this to be true; I resolved to be wise, but this was beyond my reach!

The past is out of reach, buried deep -- who can discover it?


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

According to the wisdom tradition transmitted by Qohelet, wisdom and money are considered to be the most precious treasures one can have (v. 11); they are like two shadows that protect (v. 12a). But Qohelet retorts that truly they are powerless and are not an "advantage" if they can not enjoy what they have. And he invites us to be realistic: if God has made something curvy, not even the wisest can straighten it. Humans cannot establish the succession of good or sad days, change or transform them, or even foresee them; it is not in their power to direct at will the course of history. Human beings are left with nothing but enjoyment of the goods they have, and they must savour the days of joy that are given to them, while during sad days he is invited to "reflect" on the precariousness of human life. The course of life escapes human dominion and "mortals may not find out anything that will come after them" (v. 14). True wisdom is to enjoy whatever good the present has to offer, receiving it from the hand of God, and not to rebel during sad days. Qohelet, who greatly esteems wisdom, urges that we not fashion it as some sort of intangible fetish; it is a virtue to be applied realistically and with detachment. In fact, if wisdom and righteousness are not a sure guaranty of success, it is not worth it to spend one’s whole life only for them (v. 16); though, it is also true that since wickedness and foolishness are themselves not the solution to everything, it is not worth it to abandon oneself to them either (v. 17). The advice however, to not go overboard in righteousness or wickedness, remains paradoxical, for in each case one would head toward ruin: "it is good that you should take hold of the one, without letting go of the other" (v. 18). Qohelet does not, however, propose a sort of doctrine of the just medium, but asks that we live in the "fear of God," putting ourselves totally in his hands, because "God shall succeed" (v. 18).

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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