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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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Matthew 6,7-15

'In your prayers do not babble as the gentiles do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us. And do not put us to the test, but save us from the Evil One. 'Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The liturgy of this Lenten season gives us some of the most meaningful pages of the Gospel. They help us grow in our lives as disciples. That is why it is necessary for us to let our minds be instructed and our hearts be warmed by the words of the Gospel. Today Jesus gives us his prayer: the Our Father. First he warns us that prayer is not a matter of multiplying our words, as if their number mattered and not the heart that speaks them. He wants to show us the way to pray directly, immediately reaching God’s heart. No one else other than him could have taught us this. Jesus alone is the perfect Son who knows the Father profoundly. And so, loving his disciples with a limitless love, he teaches them the highest prayer, the one that God cannot help but hear. This is clear from its first word: “Abba,” (dad). With this simple word – the one that little children say to their own fathers – Jesus is doing something truly revolutionary with respect to the Jewish tradition, in which the holy name of God would never even be spoken. He is involving us in his own intimacy with the Father. It is not that he is “lowering” God; instead we are the ones who are lifted up to heaven, to the very heart of God “in heaven,” so that we can call him “father.” Even though the Father is still in “the highest heavens,” he is the one who embraces us. And so it is right to do the will of a Father like him: it is right to ask for his kingdom to come soon, the time when God’s holiness will finally be recognized. In the second part of the prayer Jesus has us ask the Father to look over our daily lives: we ask him for bread, for our body and our heart. And then we make a daring demand: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” It is a request that might seem harsh and unrealistic, as if human forgiveness should be the model for the divine (“as we also”). In truth it contains extraordinary human wisdom. We understand this from the following verses: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” These words are incomprehensible for a society, like ours, in which forgiveness is rare, if not forbidden, and where resentment is a weed we cannot uproot. But perhaps this is the very reason we need to learn to pray more with the “Our Father.”

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 14 January
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 15 January
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 16 January
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 17 January
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 18 January
Memory of the Church
Friday, 19 January
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 20 January
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 21 January
Liturgy of the Sunday