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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of the Holy Innocents. Prayer for all those who, from the mother’s womb to the latter years of life, die as victims of violence

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 2, 13-18

After they had left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.'

So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt,

where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I called my son out of Egypt.

Herod was furious on realising that he had been fooled by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or less, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men.

Then were fulfilled the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Both the Eastern and Western Churches honour the innocent saints - victims of Herod’s attempt to eliminate Jesus. “They cannot speak yet and already they confess Christ! They are not able to take on the struggle…but they already triumphantly carry the palms of martyrdom,” sings an ancient Father of the Church. Herod’s cruelty is shattering. The fear of losing his power, even in front of a baby, pushes him to an unthinkable cruelty. Truly Herod seems to personify the violent and cruel force of evil that hits even innocent children. In his heart lies the homicidal fury that unleashes pain, tears, cries and lamentations. Herod wants to save his power at any cost, even by committing an unthinkable and unjustifiable slaughter. Joseph who is powerless but strong through faith alone opposes the ferocity of Evil. Joseph once again listens to the angel that speaks to him and obeys his word: “Take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt.” This Gospel passage is not relegated to the past; the massacres of children and of the defenceless still continue today in many parts of the world. Millions of infants are decimated by hunger and disease; many are objects of violence, kidnapping and exploitation. It is a terrible plague that has struck across the entire world. Many men and women are needed today to listen, like Joseph, to the Lord’s angel and to take the little ones, the weak ones, away with them so as to save them from the murderous slavery of the Prince of Evil, who continues to have foolish slaves who allow themselves to be involved in his homicidal cruelty.

Prayer of the Christmas season

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