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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

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Isaiah 10,5-7.13-16

Woe to Assyria, rod of my anger, the club in their hands is my fury! I was sending him against a godless nation, commissioning him against the people who enraged me, to pillage and plunder at will and trample on them like the mud in the streets. But this was not his intention nor did his heart plan it so, for he dreamed of putting an end to them, of liquidating nations without number! For he thinks: 'By the strength of my own arm I have done this and by my own wisdom: how intelligent I have been! I have abolished the frontiers between peoples, I have plundered their treasures, like a hero, I have subjugated their inhabitants. My hand has found, as though a bird's nest, the riches of the peoples. Like someone collecting deserted eggs, I have collected the whole world while no one has fluttered a wing or opened a beak to squawk.' Does the axe claim more credit than the man who wields it, or the saw more strength than the man who handles it? As though a staff controlled those who raise it, or the club could raise what is not made of wood! That is why Yahweh Sabaoth is going to inflict leanness on his stout men, and beneath his glory kindle a fever burning like a fire.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The oracle we just heard is part of Isaiah’s last act, and it is addressed to Assyria, the great empire that had a great influence on the lives of the nations at the time of the prophet. The text is a spiritual reflection on historical events. The Assyrian empire had transformed from an instrument of God’s will into a violent and arrogant force. But its imperialist dreams - as those of every age - will be defeated by history. In order to bring Israel back to faithfulness to the covenant, God’s loving wisdom can even use the powerful Assyrian empire in a certainly punitive, but limited role. These are words that reflect a theological conception of history: it is God who guides it. But those who do not have eyes to read it in depth, that is, those who do not look at world affairs with eyes of faith, do not understand God’s actions and interpret what is happening in a distorted way, thinking that it is the powerful, or those who think they are powerful, who guide history. This proud vision of themselves and their strength leads the Assyrians to prevaricate: they are no longer correcting Israel to lead them away from evil; they are planning on oppressing them and subjugating them to their own power. It is the attitude of everyone, small or great, who imagines him or herself to be the master of another person’s existence, with the goal of affirming him or herself first of all. Denouncing the arrogance and pointing out the foolishness that animates this way of thinking and imagining one’s place in life, Isaiah announces its inevitable failure: "Therefore the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors." Only in God and His strength can salvation be found. In a time like ours, which sees individuals, groups, and nations pursue power to dominate others, the words of Isaiah are a warning but also a hope for those who turn to the Lord with humility and ask for his help.

Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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