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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

Galatians 5, 13-26

After all, brothers, you were called to be free; do not use your freedom as an opening for self-indulgence, but be servants to one another in love,

since the whole of the Law is summarised in the one commandment: You must love your neighbour as yourself.

If you go snapping at one another and tearing one another to pieces, take care: you will be eaten up by one another.

Instead, I tell you, be guided by the Spirit, and you will no longer yield to self-indulgence.

The desires of self-indulgence are always in opposition to the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are in opposition to self-indulgence: they are opposites, one against the other; that is how you are prevented from doing the things that you want to.

But when you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: sexual vice, impurity, and sensuality,

the worship of false gods and sorcery; antagonisms and rivalry, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels, disagreements,

factions and malice, drunkenness, orgies and all such things. And about these, I tell you now as I have told you in the past, that people who behave in these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God.

On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness,

gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these.

All who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with all its passions and its desires.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let our behaviour be guided by the Spirit

and let us not be conceited or provocative and envious of one another.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul writes that Christians are "called to freedom." This call from God drew them out of the evil age (1:4) and brought them to a new creation (6:15). But if misunderstood, freedom can become an "opportunity for self-indulgence." This is the temptation of those who want to impose themselves on others, those who want everything to revolve around them. Paul instead affirms that freedom is given to us for mutual service, and he writes, "Through love become slaves to one another." Freedom is "for love" and love is the only law for a Christian. Indeed, with incredible clarity, the apostle writes, "For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’" (5:14). Paul urges the Christians of Galatia not to "devour" each other. Disputes lead to the destruction of individuals and the community. The only way to remain in freedom is to love. This is what it means to "live by the Spirit" and to distance oneself from "what the flesh desires" (5:16-17), that is, from the selfish instincts that drive us to turn in on ourselves. Whoever lets him or herself is guided by self-love ends up being its slave and doing what he or she would rather not do. As an example, Paul lists fifteen vices among the "works of the flesh: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these." These works exclude us from the kingdom of God because they are opposed to love. On the contrary, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." The opposition between the "works of the flesh" and the "fruit of the Spirit" is the same as the one found between darkness and light, chaos and order, and multiplicity and unity. Therefore these two planes cannot be mixed, and the believer cannot be torn internally: his or her life should be a service of love. The fruits of love are "joy" (Paul relates to the elders of Ephesus a saying of Jesus’, "There is more joy in giving than receiving."), "peace, patience, kindness, love, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." The believer, who lives by drawing his or her inspiration from love, becomes the yeast of a new world, the world which God inaugurated with Jesus. Christians, acting with love, imitate Jesus because they "have crucified the flesh" and "live by the Spirit," acting with love.

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