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The Everyday Prayer


 
printable version

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

Psalm 119, 129-135

129 Your decrees are wonderful;
  therefore my soul keeps them.

130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
  it imparts understanding to the simple.

131 With open mouth I pant,
  because I long for your commandments.

132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
  as is your custom towards those who love your name.

133 Keep my steps steady according to your promise,
  and never let iniquity have dominion over me.

134 Redeem me from human oppression,
  that I may keep your precepts.

135 Make your face shine upon your servant,
  and teach me your statutes.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The liturgy places on our lips a few verses from Psalm 118, the longest in the Psalter. The great spiritual thinker of the last century, Bonhoeffer, wrote that this long psalm sings of one thing: love for the Word of God. And he added that, just as this love has no end, the words that sing of it have no end, either. “These words,” he continued, “can accompany us our entire lives and, in their simplicity, become the prayer of the child, the adult, and the elderly person.” There is nothing that can compare to the wisdom we can gain through meditating on the Word of God and putting it into practice. Entrusted to the community of believers, this Word is like the little seed spoken of in the Gospel: it must grow and become a tree of wisdom that makes people faithful to the Lord and able to communicate his love. Just before the verses on which we meditate today, the psalmist signs, “Truly I love your commandments more than gold, more than fine gold. Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts; I hate every false way” (v. 127-128). And today’s passage begins by praising God’s teachings: “Your decrees are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them” (v. 129). The Word of God truly contains insights and understanding that cannot be compared to any other form of wisdom. The word of the Lord – sings the psalmist – makes me wiser “than my enemies…than all my teachers…than the aged.” In fact, humbly listening to the Word makes the Lord’s own wisdom grow in the believer’s heart and makes him or her a light for others. The psalmist sings, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (v. 130). The psalmist presents the Word as the place where God reveals himself; where he reveals his thoughts so that we can understand and communicate them to all. The prophet Amos writes that God “reveals his thoughts to mortals” (Am 4:13). The God of the Bible is not mute. He speaks and makes people speak, as the evangelist Mark has the people say of Jesus: “He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak” (7:37). There is a direct relationship between the Word of God and the word of the believers: just as God is not mute, so the believers cannot remain mute. The psalmist prays, “With open mouth I pant, because I long for your commandments” (v. 131). The Word of God must become flesh, witness, in the lives of believers. Woe to us if we make it empty. That is why the psalmist invokes, “Keep my steps steady according to your promise, and never let iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from human oppression, that I may keep your precepts” (v. 133-134). The Word of God reveals the heart and the very face of the Lord. The believer invokes, “Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes” (v. 135). There is a thread that ties the face of God to his Word. Consequently, those who welcome the Word of God let God’s face shine in their lives. There is a light in the hearts of those who live with the Word. The prayer of Saint Jerome – a great expert of the Bible – is very beautiful. He describes the believer contemplating the Word into a “face-to-face” encounter with the Lord. He writes, “Confirm me with the image of your glory so that what I now see in your word as in a mirror I can contemplate in certainty and fullness.”


06/13/2017
Memory of the Mother of the Lord


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