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The Everyday Prayer

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

Remembrance of the historic Meeting in Assisi (1986), when John Paul II invited representatives of all Christian confessions and the great world religions to pray for peace.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Ephesians 6,10-20

Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. Put on the full armour of God so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the principalities and the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world, the spirits of evil in the heavens. That is why you must take up all God's armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance on the evil day, or stand your ground even though you exert yourselves to the full. So stand your ground, with truth a belt round your waist, and uprightness a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to quench the burning arrows of the Evil One. And then you must take salvation as your helmet and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the word of God. In all your prayer and entreaty keep praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God's holy people, and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel of which I am an ambassador in chains; pray that in proclaiming it I may speak as fearlessly as I ought to.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

At the end of the Letter Paul turns again to all the Christians of Ephesus and tells them that Christian life is a struggle. It is true that the Risen Lord definitively eradicated evil and death. But in the present time Christians, together with Christ, must continue to fight an enemy already defeated although not fully eradicated. We are called to complete the victory of love over hatred, of communion over division. Paul reminds us that the devil works through the powers of evil which, although already defeated by Christ, are still active in our old world. The struggle is difficult and hard because it is against threatening and insidious powers, against the multifaceted face of evil that manifests itself in so many ways, in so many events, and in so many historical conditions. Paul speaks of "cosmic powers of this present darkness" and "spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places," forces that dominate human beings in a subtle but strong way. This is why we need "the whole armour of God," fighting in God’s way and with the weapons that come from Him. The Apostle exhorts us to "fasten the belt of truth around your waist," that is to have a strong knowledge of the Gospel, and put on the "breastplate of righteousness" that is, to accept God’s justification. The description continues with the image of military boots to wear in order to be ready to march, to communicate to all the Gospel of peace, which Jesus obtained on the cross and which completes reconciliation between all. The shield that protects the entire body of the soldier is faith in the Lord, as it is written: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts" (Ps 28:7). The helmet means the certainty of salvation. Finally the Christian receives from God the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: it has a power of judgment, a penetrating effectiveness, a creative force, a destructive capacity. And it is the true strength of believers. It is just to think of the "word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation" (1:13) that not only works effectively in the struggle to overcome the enemy, but also that knows, with the power of love, how to establish the Kingdom of God among men and women. Part of the struggle against evil is prayer, particularly insistent prayer. This is a finding that runs through the whole of Scripture, from Abraham interceding to save Sodom from destruction to prayers to defeat the enemy. It is urgent for us, and for all Christian communities to recover the historical, saving power of prayer. If raised to God with confidence, it always has effect, as Jesus also repeatedly pointed out. Paul speaks of "prayer and supplication" to underline indispensable perseverance in it. The prayer for the "saints", to support and defend the life of the community, allows us to remain vigilant and gives strength to communicate the Gospel. Paul asks for prayers for himself so that when he speaks "a message may be given to [him]," meaning that he may communicate the "mystery of the gospel," that is the greatness of God’s love for us. The letter ends with a blessing of peace and grace that come from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The final farewell is wide and solemn: to "peace" is associated "love"; there is not one without the other. And in these two dimensions the strength of Christians rests today.

Memory of the Church

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