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The Everyday Prayer

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

Memorial of Saint Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death, brought to Rome where he died a martyr (†107).

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

Acts 16,27-40

When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, 'Do yourself no harm; we are all here.' He called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They told him, 'Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.' Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his household. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them into his house and gave them a meal, and the whole household celebrated their conversion to belief in God. When it was daylight the magistrates sent the lictors with the order: 'Release those men.' The gaoler reported the message to Paul, 'The magistrates have sent an order for your release; you can go now and be on your way.' 'What!' Paul replied. 'Without trial they gave us a public flogging, though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison, and now they want to send us away on the quiet! Oh no! They must come and escort us out themselves.' The lictors reported this to the magistrates, who were terrified when they heard they were Roman citizens. They came and urged them to leave the town. From the prison they went to Lydia's house where they saw all the brothers and gave them some encouragement; then they left.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the early times of Christianity, we often encounter prison. Every time the enemies of the Gospel wanted to silence preaching they would put Jesus’ disciples in jail. We could say that there is a strange connection between the Gospel and prison. And perhaps for this reason Matthew repeats the obligation for everybody, not just for the disciples, to visit the imprisoned. Imprisonment was an experience frequently met by the early Christians. But the same was true more recently, on a massive scale under the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century, in the gulags and extermination camps. It is therefore extremely meaningful that today’s Christians work to bring consolation into the prisons, particularly in the ones where life has been reduced to inhumane conditions. Paul and Silas had not only torn down the walls and undone their chains, but had thrown the heart of the prison guard into upheaval resulting ultimately in his and his family’s conversion to the Gospel. Love changes even the things that seem impossible. And every time we put the Gospel into practice we all become witnesses to miracles once unimaginable. This event that relates to the arrival of the Gospel in Europe reflects Jesus’ story. The Gospel, although it always finds opposition, continuously bears the fruit of liberation. Unamuno used to say that Christianity is always “agony”, in that it always requires a struggle that is above all in our inner self. It is the struggle that starts in everyone’s heart between the Gospel and pride, but then it continues outward. And we realize this link clearly as every time the Gospel wins in our heart, when there are always positive consequences for those who live at our side. Paul’s and Silas’ experience with their jailer and his family can be the experience of each of us.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 November
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 November
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 November
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 November
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 November
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 November
Liturgy of the Sunday