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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memory of St. Ireneus, bishop of Lyon and martyr (130-202); he went to France from Anatolia to preach the Gospel.

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

James 4, 1-6

Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Is it not precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves?

You want something and you lack it; so you kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. It is because you do not pray that you do not receive;

when you do pray and do not receive, it is because you prayed wrongly, wanting to indulge your passions.

Adulterers! Do you not realise that love for the world is hatred for God? Anyone who chooses the world for a friend is constituted an enemy of God.

Can you not see the point of the saying in scripture, 'The longing of the spirit he sent to dwell in us is a jealous longing.'?

But he has given us an even greater grace, as scripture says: God opposes the proud but he accords his favour to the humble.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Where do wars and fights come from? James in the first verses of chapter four of his Letter that deals with enmity, says it well. The author addresses several Christian communities. In doing so, he offers to all Christians an inner exhortation from which he draws important general consequences. The letter deals with violent relationships among people that James describes especially in the first verses by using a language taken from war. His concern is pressing because he claims that violence grows mainly in the heart and consequently is manifested externally. The initial question posed to the community of brothers and sisters is about violence within the members of the same community. The first four verses are directed to the issue and origin of violence. Central to these verses is the reason stated in the sentence: "You engage in disputes and wars." Why is there violence even among brothers and sisters of the same community? This is the great concern of a man who is trying to penetrate the heart of his brothers and sisters in order to identify the origin of feelings and attitudes that are exactly the opposite of fraternal life. The problem of wars and enmities is inner rather exterior: it lies in the "cravings that are at war within you." James refers to very concrete fights and disputes in the communities of his readers and roots them in the cravings of men and women as they disturb them inwardly. Cravings are strong and uncontrollable desires. James unveils an inner fight within the community related probably to a desire to dominate others. James underlines the fact that it is a harsh clash, and compares it to wars fought with weapons. Indeed there are wars that grow in the hearts. These wars, do not have any positive result. Twice the author underlines the total failure of any attempt to impose oneself through violence, even if he does not explain the reason: you desire and "do not have it;" you covet and "cannot obtain." The lust for dominion, command, and role does not lead to any result. No fight, no matter how bitter and determined, leads to the expected result seems to say James, for those who live fighting others do not even know how to ask for good things; those how fight against others do not have acquired the humility to pray, and when they ask, they do not know how to ask: "You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly in order to spend what you get on your pleasures." There is a deep and spiritual unity between humility and prayer that places human beings, in all their weakness, in front of God and gives them the ability to live peacefully without lusting for possession and dominion. Those who do not live in peace should ask themselves whether they truly live in a spiritual way. For those who do live in such a way are friends of the world and enemies of God. We need to purify our hearts and trust the Spirit creator who can generate in humble men and women his renewing grace. Humility belongs to those who are friends of God and do not live fighting others. God will give the final grace to his friends, a grace that is even "greater" than the spirit poured into human beings at the moment of creation: it will be the gift at the end of times as it was the gift at the beginning.

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