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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Proverbs 27, 1-27

Do not congratulate yourself about tomorrow, since you do not know what today will bring forth.

Let someone else sing your praises, but not your own mouth, a stranger, but not your own lips.

Heavy is the stone, weighty is the sand; heavier than both -- a grudge borne by a fool.

Cruel is wrath, overwhelming is anger; but jealousy, who can withstand that?

Better open reproof than feigned love.

Trustworthy are blows from a friend, deceitful are kisses from a foe.

The gorged throat revolts at honey, the hungry throat finds all bitterness sweet.

Like a bird that strays from its nest, so is anyone who strays away from home.

Oil and perfume gladden the heart, and the sweetness of friendship rather than self-reliance.

Do not give up your friend or your father's friend; when trouble comes, do not go off to your brother's house, better a near neighbour than a distant brother.

Learn to be wise, my child, and gladden my heart, that I may have an answer for anyone who insults me.

The discreet sees danger and takes shelter, simpletons go ahead and pay the penalty.

Take the man's clothes! He has gone surety for a stranger. Take a pledge from him, for persons unknown.

Whoever at dawn loudly blesses his neighbour -- it will be reckoned to him as a curse.

The dripping of a gutter on a rainy day and a quarrelsome woman are alike;

whoever can restrain her, can restrain the wind, and take a firm hold on grease.

Iron is sharpened by iron, one person is sharpened by contact with another.

Whoever tends the fig tree eats its figs, whoever looks after his master will be honoured.

As water reflects face back to face, so one human heart reflects another.

Sheol and Perdition are never satisfied, insatiable, too, are human eyes.

A furnace for silver, a foundry for gold: a person is worth what his reputation is worth.

Pound a fool in a mortar, among grain with a pestle, his folly will not leave him.

Know your flocks' condition well, take good care of your herds;

for riches do not last for ever, crowns do not hand themselves on from age to age.

The grass once gone, the aftergrowth appearing, the hay gathered in from the mountains,

you should have lambs to clothe you, goats to buy you a field,

goat's milk sufficient to feed you, to feed your household and provide for your serving girls.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

At first, this chapter seems a bit strange because it juxtaposes very different situations. Nonetheless, there is a thread that connects all people by a fabric of relationships and by the reality that no person is sufficient to him or herself. In this passage, many characters in one’s life and in society appear: friends, siblings, strangers, loved ones, spouses and neighbours. Then come into view the goods that each one possesses: flocks, forage, lambs and goats; this is to say that our lives do not simply end with ourselves. Every day we need to consider many people and things in our lives. Doing this requires that we be wise and not face life foolishly. The chapter begins by putting us on guard about boastful behaviour that we can instinctively engage in: "Do not boast about tomorrow ... Let another praise you, and not your own mouth - a stranger, and not your own lips." Humility is the key to establishing right relationships with our neighbour that begin with friendship. "Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy" (v. 6). It is wise to accept the "wounds," that is, the corrections—sometimes hard—that come from a friend, from someone who loves us, whereas the kisses from an enemy are only deceitful flattery. Certainly correction provokes wounds in our hearts; nevertheless, it helps us to grow. Therefore a true friend takes on the responsibility to correct the other and to offer advice, which can "make [our] heart glad." This is why we shouldn’t abandon our friends but keep them close to us because their closeness is more precious than that of a brother. In everyday life, we are called to help one another because no one is sufficient to himself: "Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits* of another" (v. 17). Indeed, indispensable to our lives is the fact that we complement one another: "Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another, as in water face answers to face, so the mind of man reflects the man" (v. 19). Often we compete in distinguishing ourselves and we become foolish protagonists, forgetting that we share a lot in common with others. This should help us to understand one another and work together so that we can overcome the obvious differences and fruitless conflicts. The Word of God suggests many little ways to build a world in which it is possible to live together in mutual respect.

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