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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 1, 39-45

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.

She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.

Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel we listened to wants to hurry us to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. The evangelist writes that after hearing from the angel that Elizabeth was pregnant, Mary travels to see her "with haste." The Gospel always hurries us. It pushes us to step outside of our habits, maybe even the good ones, but still they are only ours. It exhorts us not to stop in front of the usual concerns and thoughts and to leave the small village of our horizons to hurry towards the day and the place of the birth of Jesus. We can easily imagine how many thoughts Mary must have had just after the Word of God had completely turned her life upside down! Nevertheless, Mary left Nazareth to go to see her old cousin Elizabeth, who was at that time six months pregnant and who certainly was in need of help. It was not easy for the very young and pregnant Mary to cope with a long and uneasy journey. She had to pass through "the mountain," as Luke points out, stressing the seriousness of her enterprise. The Gospel always forces us to leave behind our tired habits and urges us to support those who suffer and those in need. It is not a spontaneous choice, especially for us who, unlike Mary, are often guided by our laziness. We need to rely on the Word of God to go beyond ourselves. However, we often trust only our beliefs, our certainties, which obviously appear to us as always right. The example of Joseph - the figure on whom we meditated a few days ago - is our warning. Mary was touched in the heart by the needs of her cousin; thus, she went to see her without hesitation. As soon as Elizabeth saw her coming into the house, Elizabeth rejoiced in her very womb. This is the same joy that the weak and poor feel when they are visited by the servants, men and women, of the Lord, those "who believe that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to them by the Lord." The benediction for those, who come with their love to help, arises from the mouths of the poor. A real epiphany of the Holy Spirit is then realized. The smile of the poor is the smile of God, and their joy is the joy of God. The believers will feel the beauty and the strength of the joy caused deep in the hearts of the poor. The embrace between the young Mary and the old Elizabeth is the icon of the love that all the Christians are called to give to the world at the beginning of this millennium.

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