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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Daniel 2, 31-45

'You have had a vision, Your Majesty; this is what you saw: a statue, a great statue of extreme brightness, stood before you, terrible to see.

The head of this statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

its legs of iron, its feet part iron, part clay.

While you were gazing, a stone broke away, untouched by any hand, and struck the statue, struck its feet of iron and clay and shattered them.

Then, iron and clay, bronze, silver and gold, all broke into pieces as fine as chaff on the threshing-floor in summer. The wind blew them away, leaving not a trace behind. And the stone that had struck the statue grew into a great mountain, filling the whole world.

This was the dream; we shall now explain to the king what it means.

'You, Your Majesty, king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given sovereignty, power, strength and honour-

human beings, wild animals, birds of the air, wherever they live, he has entrusted to your rule, making you king of them all -- you are the golden head.

And, after you, another kingdom will rise, not as great as yours, and then a third, of bronze, which will rule the whole world.

There will be a fourth kingdom, hard as iron, as iron that pulverises and crushes all. Like iron that breaks everything to pieces, it will crush and break all the earlier kingdoms.

The feet you saw, part earthenware, part iron, are a kingdom which will be split in two, but which will retain something of the strength of iron, just as you saw the iron and the clay of the earthenware mixed together.

The feet were part iron, part potter's clay: the kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle.

And just as you saw the iron and the clay of the earthenware mixed together, so the two will be mixed together in human seed; but they will not hold together any more than iron will blend with clay.

In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not pass into the hands of another race: it will shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms and itself last for ever-

just as you saw a stone, untouched by hand, break away from the mountain and reduce iron, bronze, earthenware, silver and gold to powder. The Great God has shown the king what is to take place. The dream is true, the interpretation exact.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The second chapter of Daniel describes the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. In Daniel dreams and visions reveal the secret of history, which is possible to understand only through the Lord. Already, in Joseph’s ordeal in Egypt (Gn 37-41) dreams had become the way through which God revealed to his faithful one the meaning of history; but it is difficult to understand them without being faithful to the Lord, without being one of his own. Even in the Gospel of Matthew a dream will be the conduit through which God reveals to Joseph what will happen to Jesus. The king Nebuchadnezzar dreams of an enormous statue made of various materials: gold, silver, bronze, iron and stone. These represented the different empires that followed each other from the seventh to fourth century before Christ: Babylonians, Medes and Persians, and Greeks. Only the man of God, the wise one who welcomes his word, is able to give an explanation of the king’s dream. In fact wisdom comes from God. His word helps to discern the signs of the times; it penetrates the happenings of history, helping to understand them. In Babylon none of the sages were able to understand the dream. "There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries," Daniel tells the king. Whoever entrusts himself with faith to the Lord is able to understand the unfolding of history and to see into the future. The word of God mysteriously communicated to his people and welcomed with faith gives the capacity to look beyond the present. This same word renders Daniel merciful, so much so that he is able to release the wise men of Babylon from the hands of Arioch who wanted to kill them. We too bless the Lord, because he does not leave us prisoners of the dark powers of the world, but gives us his word which helps us to understand the present and the future--and in faith—not to live in fear.

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