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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 19, 1-29

Better the poor living an honest life than the adept at double-talk who is a fool.

Where knowledge is wanting, zeal is not good; whoever goes too quickly stumbles.

Folly leads conduct astray, yet it is against Yahweh that the heart rages.

Wealth multiplies friends, but the one friend the poor has is taken away.

The false witness will not go unpunished, no one who utters lies will go free.

The nobleman has many to court his favour, to a giver of gifts, everyone is friend.

The poor man's brothers hate him, every one; his friends -- how much the more do these desert him! He goes in search of words, but there are none to be had.

Whoever acquires sense wins profit from it, whoever treasures understanding finds happiness.

The false witness will not go unpunished, whoever utters lies will be destroyed.

It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, still less for a slave to govern princes.

Good sense makes for self-control, and for pride in overlooking an offence.

Like the roaring of a lion, the anger of a king, but like dew on the grass his favour.

A foolish child is a disaster for the father, the bickerings of a wife are like an ever-dripping gutter.

From fathers comes inheritance of house and wealth, from Yahweh a wife who is discreet.

Idleness lulls to sleep, the feckless soul will go hungry.

Keeping the commandment is self-preservation, but whoever despises these ways will die.

Whoever is kind to the poor is lending to Yahweh who will repay him the kindness done.

While there is hope for him, chastise your child, but do not get so angry as to kill him.

The violent lays himself open to a penalty; spare him, and you aggravate his crime.

Listen to advice, accept correction, to be the wiser in the time to come.

Many are the plans in the human heart, but the purpose of Yahweh -- that stands firm.

Faithful love is what people look for in a person; they prefer the poor to a liar.

The fear of Yahweh leads to life, it brings food and shelter, without fear of evil.

Into the dish the idler dips his hand, but bring it back to his mouth he cannot.

Strike a cynic, and simpletons will be more wary; reprove the intelligent and he will understand your meaning.

He who ill-treats his father and drives out his mother is a child both worthless and depraved.

Give up listening to instruction, my child, if you mean to stray from words of knowledge.

A perjured witness holds the law in scorn; the mouth of the wicked feasts on evil-doing.

Punishments were made for mockers, and beating for the backs of fools.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the beginning of this chapter for the first time the author dedicates space to the poor, "Better the poor walking in integrity than one perverse of speech who is a fool." The author’s observation is simple: even a poor man or woman, like everyone can be wise or foolish. He then, however, describes the difficulties associated with a poor person’s life, first of all their loneliness, "Wealth brings many friends, but the poor is left friendless" (v. 4). How can we not agree with this observation? It is truly easy to abandon the poor to their fate. This is the condition of so many poor men and women in the world, those near and far, for whom we do so very little. At verse 7, the author revisits this theme, "If the poor are hated even by their kin, how much more are they shunned by their friends! When they call after them, they are not there." Scorn for the poor, foreigners, gypsies and the homeless has become a condoned attitude in our society. How much they have been the object of feelings of disdain and judgment from everyone. Truly, the poor do not find interlocutors or people who actually listen to them. Many times we have been wary of their needs, not only material, but also for friendship. Living without friends is often the lot of the poor. This is why we should become friends of the poor. Every Christian should have at least one friend who is poor. This is part of our faith. As the text observes, "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and will be repaid in full" (v. 17). Being kind to the poor is in a certain sense an act of worship to the Lord that will not go unrecompensed. In the end the text goes back to a very important aspect in wisdom reflection: will words be used for truth or for falsity? "What is desirable in a person is loyalty, and it is better to be poor than a liar" (v. 22). Better is the one to whom even words and friendship are denied than a liar who uses words with deceit. In other verses, the text hints at false testimony, which is a key issue in administrating justice. In a time in which everything was based on verbal and eyewitness accounts, testimonies were decisive in the cause for justice. Naboth was condemned for the false testimony of two men (1 Kings 21). Words have a crucial function in human relationships. Let us too never fail in our words because often the possibility to understand and help each other lies in them.

Memory of the Poor

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