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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of the death of Gandhi. With him we remember all those who, in the name of non-violence, are peacemakers.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 11, 1-19

A false balance is abhorrent to Yahweh, a just weight is pleasing to him.

Pride comes first; disgrace soon follows; with the humble is wisdom found.

The honest have their own honesty for guidance, the treacherous are ruined by their own perfidy.

In the day of retribution riches will be useless, but uprightness delivers from death.

The uprightness of the good makes their way straight, the wicked fall by their own wickedness.

Their uprightness sets the honest free, the treacherous are imprisoned by their own desires.

The hope of the wicked perishes with death, hope placed in riches comes to nothing.

The upright escapes affliction, the wicked incurs it instead.

Through his mouth the godless is the ruin of his neighbour, but by knowledge the upright are safeguarded.

When the upright prosper the city rejoices, when the wicked are ruined there is a shout of joy.

A city is raised on the blessing of the honest, and demolished by the mouth of the wicked.

Whoever looks down on a neighbour lacks good sense; the intelligent keeps a check on the tongue.

A tittle-tattler lets secrets out, the trustworthy keeps things hidden.

For want of leadership a people perishes, safety lies in many advisers.

Whoever goes bail for a stranger does himself harm, but one who shuns going surety is safe.

A gracious woman acquires honour, violent people acquire wealth.

Faithful love brings its own reward, the inflexible injure their own selves.

Disappointment crowns the labours of the wicked, whoever sows uprightness reaps a solid reward.

Whoever establishes uprightness is on the way to life, whoever pursues evil, on the way to death.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Righteousness seems to be by far the most important topic in this chapter too, as it will be in the following chapters. In the Bible the righteous are those who follow God, listen to his word, keep his commandments, and love their neighbours while doing good. Being righteous not only means observing the law scrupulously, it also - and more importantly - means living in friendship with the Lord. Humility, rectitude, righteousness, sincerity, faithfulness, and goodness are the way of life for the righteous person. The first part of the text is a reflection on wealth. Wealth is of no benefit when faced with divine judgment. Indeed,we can be trapped in an excessive desire for material things and this is why honesty and righteousness are needed. The text does not speak of wealth in absolutely black and white terms; in fact it presents it as the result of divine blessing. But when we seek wealth only for our own advantage we risk being dominating by it and becoming unjust and dishonest. It is not difficult to see how relevant this warning is to our society. But if wealth is united to righteousness it can do good for the community: "When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices... By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked." We are not sufficiently aware of how much evil wealth can do if it is only used for oneself and not put into the service of others, especially the poor. The parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus told by Jesus is enough to demonstrate what we read in this passage. The text also focuses on the need for guidance: "Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety." We all know what it means not to have any guidance in our personal and communal life, not to have someone who can help us make sense of our choices and pursue the common good. In the difficulties of modern life it is often easy to wonder why we should be good or honest or why we should practice righteousness or look out for the interests of others, when we see all the selfishness of those who only accumulate for themselves. Our passage gives us a simple but meaningful answer: "Those who are kind reward themselves, but the cruel do themselves harm." If you truly want to do good to yourself be good, because those who are cruel and wicked end up tormenting themselves until they destroy themselves.

Memory of the Poor

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