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The Everyday Prayer

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

Remembrance of Athenagoras (1886-1972), patriarch of Constantinople and father of ecumenical dialogue.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 32, 23-33

That same night he got up and, taking his two wives, his two slave-girls and his eleven children, crossed the ford of the Jabbok.

After he had taken them across the stream, he sent all his possessions over too.

And Jacob was left alone. Then someone wrestled with him until daybreak

who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him on the hip socket, and Jacob's hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him.

He said, 'Let me go, for day is breaking.' Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.'

The other said, 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he replied.

He said, 'No longer are you to be called Jacob, but Israel since you have shown your strength against God and men and have prevailed.'

Then Jacob asked, 'Please tell me your name.' He replied, 'Why do you ask my name?' With that, he blessed him there.

Jacob named the place Peniel, 'Because I have seen God face to face,' he said, 'and have survived.'

The sun rose as he passed Peniel, limping from his hip.

That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh sinew which is at the hip socket: because he had struck Jacob at the hip socket on the thigh sinew.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jacob is going through a difficult time. He is on his way back to the promised land, but he is afraid of the impending meeting with his brother Esau, whom he had left on bad terms. He wants to re-establish a peaceful relationship with Esau. In the uncertainty of loneliness a mysterious presence starts to wrestle with him. The text does not immediately identify this figure, as if to help us discover him together with Jacob. In fact, over the course of his journey, Jacob seems to have forgotten about the company of God. But the Lord has not forgotten him, and wrestles with the believer to force him to recognize his presence again. We might say that the life of a believer is always conflictual, because it is a constant struggle against pride, self-sufficiency, and forgetfulness. It is God who fights against our selfishness. The believer must fight without knowing the identity of the opponent in order to win a blessing, not with a trick, but by struggling with his whole being. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, because he fought. Faith is often a struggle in the dark, but it always leads to an encounter that is finally personal, face to face with God. And it leaves a sign, a mark, just as Jacob’s name and story were changed when he became Israel. Being with God means struggling with ourselves and with the evil that holds the world in slavery. But the Lord clothes us with the power of his love.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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