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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the innocent saints. Prayer for all those, from the mother’s womb to the latter years of life, who die as victims of violence.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 2,13-18

After they had left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.' So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I called my son out of Egypt. Herod was furious on realising that he had been fooled by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or less, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. Then were fulfilled the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Both the Eastern and Western Church honour the holy innocents, killed by Herod in his attempt to eliminate Jesus. "O marvellous gift of grace! What merit did these children have? They cannot speak yet and already they confess Christ! They are not yet able to face the struggle...but they already triumphantly carry the palms of martyrdom," sings an ancient Church Father. Herod’s cruelty is shocking. The fear of losing power, even when only threatened by a child, pushes him to unheard of cruelty. He truly seems to personify the violent force of evil. In his heart lies the homicidal fury that unleashes pain, tears, wailing, and lamentation. Herod wants to protect his power at any cost, even that of perpetrating an inconceivable and unjustifiable massacre. The ferocity of Evil is contrasted with Joseph, who is completely lacking in power and strong only in his faith. Once again he listens to the angel who speaks to him and obeys his word: "Take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt." This Gospel passage is not relegated to the past; massacres of children and the unarmed still continue today in many parts of the world. Millions of infants are decimated by hunger and disease; many are the objects of violence, kidnapping and exploitation. It is a terrible scourge that hits the entire world. Today the world needs men and women who can listen, like Joseph, to the Lord’s angel. The world needs people who will take the little ones - the weak ones - with them to save them from the murderous slavery of the Prince of Evil who continues to have foolish servants that let themselves be caught up in his murderous cruelty.

Prayer of the Christmas season

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 22 October
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 23 October
Memory of the Poor
Tuesday, 24 October
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 25 October
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 26 October
Memory of the Church
Friday, 27 October
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 28 October
Memory of the Apostles
Sunday, 29 October
Liturgy of the Sunday