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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Song of Songs 1, 7-8

Tell me then, sweetheart, where will you lead your flock to graze, where will you rest it at noon? That I may no more wander like a vagabond beside the flocks of your companions.

CHORUS: If you do not know this, O loveliest of women, follow the tracks of the flock, and take your kids to graze close by the shepherds' tents.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In two verses, the author presents us with the woman’s search for her beloved who has not yet entered the scene. Nonetheless, she invokes him and says, "Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon." Her inquiry is both sincere and in earnest. The response, however, is not as passion-filled; it doesn’t even seem that cordial, "Follow the tracks of the flock." The woman’s desire is not enough to know the way to her beloved, she needs directions. She is right to ask, for she does not wish to run in vain or follow errant sheep, "for why should I be like one who is veiled beside the flocks of your companions?" The sentiments of this woman call the believer to reflection. They suggest that directions from the Lord are indispensable so that our search may not be in vain.
There is an indispensible bond between the desire for God, the search for his friendship and the directions that he himself must give us. In the Second book of Chronicles, for example, during a difficult moment in the history of Israel, where peace was truly rare, the prophet Azariah says to the crowd of believers, "The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them."(2 Chr 15:2-4). The search for the Lord needs God’s help in order to end well. He knows us more deeply than we know ourselves, and not only will he not abandon us, but He will give us help along the way. At this point, it is not by chance that the author introduces the "chorus" who gently exhorts the "fairest among women" to "follow the tracks of the flock, and pasture [her] kids beside the shepherds’ tents." The believer is invited to "follow the tracks of the flock"; that is, to remain with the people that God has chosen and not to go far from the Community that God himself has built. It is in this Community that the Lord dwells so that no one will go astray. Indeed, as Psalm 121 says: "The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and for evermore" (121:8). God does not abandon his children to a blind destiny or worse, to the mercy of evil. In truth, we are asked to strengthen our search for God so that we do not lose him but rather find him again. Similar to the woman of the Song of Songs, we can see another woman, Mary Magdalene, who never stops looking for Jesus, her beloved, even after his death. Once at the tomb, hurt, she asks the gardener, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away" (Jn 20:15). And the Lord let himself be found.

Memory of the Church

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