Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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February 7, 1968 commemorates the beginning of the Community of Sant’Egidio. A group of students from a Roman high school started gathering around the Gospel and loving the poor. Thanksgiving to the Lord for the forty-one years of life of the Community.

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

Proverbs 15, 1-33

A mild answer turns away wrath, sharp words stir up anger.

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge welcome, the mouth of a fool spews folly.

The eyes of Yahweh are everywhere: observing the wicked and the good.

The tongue that soothes is a tree of life; the perverse tongue, a breaker of hearts.

Only a fool spurns a father's discipline, whoever accepts correction is discreet.

In the house of the upright there is no lack of treasure, the earnings of the wicked are fraught with anxiety.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge, not so the hearts of fools.

The sacrifice of the wicked is abhorrent to Yahweh, dear to him is the prayer of the honest.

The conduct of the wicked is abhorrent to Yahweh, but he loves the person whose goal is uprightness.

Correction is severe for one who leaves the way; whoever hates being reprimanded will die.

Sheol and Perdition lie open to Yahweh; how much more the human heart!

The mocker does not care to be reprimanded, and will not choose the wise as companions.

Glad heart means happy face, where the heart is sad the spirit is broken.

The heart of the wise seeks knowledge, a fool's mouth feeds on folly.

For the poor every day is evil, for the joyous heart it is always festival time.

Better to have little and with it fear of Yahweh than immense wealth and with it anxiety.

Better a dish of herbs when love is there than a fattened ox and hatred to go with it.

The hot-headed provokes disputes, the equable allays dissension.

The way of the lazy is like a thorny hedge, the path of the honest is a broad highway.

A wise child is a father's joy; only a brute despises his mother.

Folly appeals to someone without sense, a person of understanding goes straight forward.

Without deliberation plans come to nothing. Plans succeed where counsellors are many.

Anyone who has a ready answer has joy too: how satisfying is the apt reply!

For the prudent, the path of life leads upwards thus avoiding Sheol below.

Yahweh pulls down the house of the proud, but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact.

Wicked scheming is abhorrent to Yahweh, but words that are kind are pure.

Craving for dishonest gain brings trouble on a house, hatred of bribery earns life.

The heart of the upright reflects before answering, the mouth of the wicked spews out wickedness.

Yahweh keeps his distance from the wicked, but he listens to the prayers of the upright.

A kindly glance gives joy to the heart, good news lends strength to the bones.

The ear attentive to wholesome correction finds itself at home in the company of the wise.

Whoever rejects correction lacks self-respect, whoever accepts reproof grows in understanding.

The fear of Yahweh is a school of wisdom, before there can be glory, there must be humility.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

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

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

One recurrent theme in this chapter again refers to words. Words, mouth, lips, response all help us reflect on the importance the text is giving to words. Words can do a lot of harm and good. We must pay attention to what we say and how we say it. We tend to live too much captives of our nature and becoming anxious without any real reason; we talk badly of others without realizing the consequences and we speak according to our instincts. On two occasions even if with different expressions, the author shows the benefits of using good words which have the power to bring life: "A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit... Evil plans are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure" (v. 4, 26). The words of the wise dispense wisdom; they communicate a knowledge that helps people understand how to live: "The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge... The lips of the wise spread knowledge" (v. 2, 7). With a wise word, we can help others to grow in the knowledge of the reality around us and understand history more profoundly. This is why even our responses to others' words must be thought through and not hard, mean, careless, or destructive: "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger... To make an apt answer is a joy to anyone, and a word in season, how good it is!" (v. 1, 23). How many times each of us has experienced the truth of these words. Truly, a kind response to someone who speaks to us in anger or in rudeness often does calm his or her temper down. And how many times do we not see contentious conversations grow because people do not know how to speak calmly, kindly and with patience. We have all seen how it has become difficult to talk without raising our voices and asserting only our way of thinking, at any cost, without even listening to the words of the other person. So much violence arises from this very incapacity to speak to each other in a cordial or at least civil way. We read at verse 18, "Those who are hot-tempered stir up strife, but those who are slow to anger calm contention." We see and experience this every day, and it renders living together difficult and complicated. Indeed, "The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil" (v. 28). We can express ill will not only in our manner of speaking but also in our behaviour. Finally, this chapter has several times commented on correction (v. 10. 12. 31. 32.). It highlights the relationship between accepting admonition and wisdom. Being able to accept admonition is a sign of wisdom because people will "die for lack of discipline."