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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

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 116, 1-9

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard
  my voice and my supplications.

2 Because he inclined his ear to me,
  therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The snares of death encompassed me;
  the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
  I suffered distress and anguish.

4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
  ‘O Lord, I pray, save my life!’

5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
  our God is merciful.

6 The Lord protects the simple;
  when I was brought low, he saved me.

7 Return, O my soul, to your rest,
  for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

8 For you have delivered my soul from death,
  my eyes from tears,
  my feet from stumbling.

9 I walk before the Lord
  in the land of the living.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 116 opens with a profession of love and trust in God on the part of the psalmist, probably a prayer offered in the Temple before the assembly to give thanks to the Lord for a great gift received: “I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people” (v. 13-14). Christian tradition adopted these words to refer to the Eucharist, the apex of Christian prayer in which the community celebrates Easter, the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord. The expressions used by the psalmist are intense; he begins by declaring his love for the Lord for he is always heard: “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplication” (v. 1). His love is strong and passionate, as should be that of every believer for the Lord. There are no alternatives to love when it comes to a relationship with God, because the Lord is the one who first loved and continues to be passionate about humankind. The psalmist recounts his past, but only briefly, so as to stress God’s passionate care for him: God has always heard him and answered his prayers. Moreover, when his life was in danger, or when he was suffering and sad, he turned faithfully to the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, save my life” (v. 4). And the Lord heard him. Also, in moments of interior disorientation or abandonment, when others wanted to deceitfully trap him, he always had faith in the Lord: “I kept my faith, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’; I said in my consternation, everyone is a liar’” (v.10-11). These situations described by the psalmist are not rare. They recur frequently in the lives of men and women as well as in our life. Precisely for this reason, he exhorts believers never to cease lifting up their prayer to the Lord: to those who turn to him, the Lord never tires of listening and delays not in intervening. The psalmist stresses this with an observation of a truth that traverses the entirety of Scripture: “When I was brought low, he saved me” (v. 6). The Lord listens to the cry of the poor and always intervenes to help them. All pages of the Bible urge us to put our trust in the Lord. Only God suffices for the believer. Thus the psalmist exhorts his soul to be calm: “Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (v.7). Enemies can come closer and try to make the just fall and evil prevail, but the Lord does not allow evil to triumph over those who trust in him. This is the experience of the believers of yesterday and today. It is also our experience when we trust in the Lord. Therefore we can sing, “For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling” (v.8). With this trust the psalmist concludes: “I walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (v.9).

Memory of the Church

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