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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

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Corinthians 7, 1-16

Now for the questions about which you wrote. Yes, it is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman;

yet to avoid immorality every man should have his own wife and every woman her own husband.

The husband must give to his wife what she has a right to expect, and so too the wife to her husband.

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and in the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

You must not deprive each other, except by mutual consent for a limited time, to leave yourselves free for prayer, and to come together again afterwards; otherwise Satan may take advantage of any lack of self-control to put you to the test.

I am telling you this as a concession, not an order.

I should still like everyone to be as I am myself; but everyone has his own gift from God, one this kind and the next something different.

To the unmarried and to widows I say: it is good for them to stay as they are, like me.

But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry, since it is better to be married than to be burnt up.

To the married I give this ruling, and this is not mine but the Lord's: a wife must not be separated from her husband-

or if she has already left him, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband -- and a husband must not divorce his wife.

For other cases these instructions are my own, not the Lord's. If one of the brothers has a wife who is not a believer, and she is willing to stay with him, he should not divorce her;

and if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to stay with her, she should not divorce her husband.

You see, the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through the brother. If this were not so, your children would be unclean, whereas in fact they are holy.

But if the unbeliever chooses to leave, then let the separation take place: in these circumstances, the brother or sister is no longer tied. But God has called you to live in peace:

as a wife, how can you tell whether you are to be the salvation of your husband; as a husband, how can you tell whether you are to be the salvation of your wife?


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

In this passage, the apostle does not intend to present a complete doctrine on marriage but to respond to some questions that had arisen in the community of Corinth and that he had been asked to answer. Paul allows himself to make a declaration in favour of chastity, even if only in a negative way: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” But if this ideal is lived out badly, marriage is certainly preferable, because it allows the union of men and women in such a way that one belongs to the other. With pastoral realism, the apostle advises married couples to avoid extreme behaviour: their common life is an important dimension of their relationship, as long as it does not prevent them from praying. His praise for virginity does not diminish the dignity of marriage: “each has a particular gift from God,” Paul says, “one having one kind and another a different kind.” Marriage and virginity are not life-choices that people should accept forcefully. One could say that people are called to each kind of life, and the Lord does not deny his grace. But both are meant to build up the Church, the community of believers. This emphasis on communion leads the apostle to urge widows and single people to work for the community and married people to remain faithful to their union. Nonetheless, if irregular situations occur, the Church should maternally welcome them and help them. This is a very sensible pastoral position that should be carefully preserved: indeed, “it is to peace that God has called you.”

Memory of the Church

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