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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

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Revelation 9,13-21

The sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a single voice issuing from the four horns of the golden altar in God's presence.

It spoke to the sixth angel with the trumpet, and said, 'Release the four angels that are chained up at the great river Euphrates.'

These four angels had been ready for this hour of this day of this month of this year, and ready to destroy a third of the human race.

I learnt how many there were in their army: twice ten thousand times ten thousand mounted men.

In my vision I saw the horses, and the riders with their breastplates of flame colour, hyacinth-blue and sulphur-yellow; the horses had lions' heads, and fire, smoke and sulphur were coming from their mouths.

It was by these three plagues, the fire, the smoke and the sulphur coming from their mouths, that the one third of the human race was killed.

All the horses' power was in their mouths and their tails: their tails were like snakes, and had heads which inflicted wounds.

But the rest of the human race, who escaped death by these plagues, refused either to abandon their own handiwork or to stop worshipping devils, the idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood that can neither see nor hear nor move.

Nor did they give up their murdering, or witchcraft, or fornication or stealing.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The sixth trumpet reveals the spread of the punishment afflicting the earth. Other disasters had afflicted the earth, but people never stopped worshiping idols or doing evil deeds. The sixth angel unleashes an exterminating army that strikes hard. The four angels bound at the Euphrates represent the danger that always came to Israel from that river; it is from there that the invading armies set out. It is a place that meant ruin (according to later tradition it will also become the homeland of the Antichrist). During the time when the book of Revelation was written, the Euphrates marked the border between the Roman Empire and the Parthians: a place of fear and tension. In the apocryphal book of Enoch, one can read that "on that day the angels returned and rushed towards the East to the Parthians and the Medes...they stirred up the kings until a spirit of uneasiness took hold [of] them. And they went out and trampled the land of the chosen ones under their feet." The exterminating army that marches out from the Euphrates seems to symbolize the innumerable armies (both the organized and efficient armies of the rich world and the tumultuary armies of the poor world) that still provoke violence and shed innocent blood in many parts of the world today. How many conflicts still rage on our planet! It is striking that every time the apostle has to personify the demonic castigation he describes it as an army at war. War brings no advantage to any nation. In war, everyone loses, even those who believe they have won. In reality, seeds of hatred and revenge continue to be sown. Despite the disasters caused by war, men and women continue to bend to the logic of evil: this is what it means for idolatry, murder, sorcery, fornication, and theft to persist (v. 20-21). The affirmation of one’s own "ego" in every dimension of life promotes a climate favourable to war. Peoples, groups, and nations who are concerned with defending their own interests once again choose conflict, forgetful of the disasters that every war brings. More so than in the past, the believers of today have the responsibility of making love and peace grow and cutting out the roots of the evil that develops in people’s hearts.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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