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Wednesday 04 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis of Assisi
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Why society wants you unhappy, but Jesus doesn’t

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 11/26/22

Watching and praying means practicing being in the present, living with awareness of the moment ...

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.”

Let’s face it, our society is founded on the principle of dissipation, distraction, worry, and alienation, and all for a very simple reason: When you live like this you’re unhappy, and only the unhappy consume compulsively. The hidden belief of our culture is that no economy could flourish if it had happy people at its base. 

Jesus seems to be saying exactly the opposite: Namely, that to live our faith we must get rid of all the things that leave us in a situation of alienation, distraction, or unhappiness. The antidote he offers us is, “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Watching and praying means practicing being in the present, living with awareness of the moment and at the same time learning to enter into and cultivate a personal relationship with the Lord. 

Awareness of the present and a relationship with the Lord are the great cure to contemporary unhappiness. But usually we look instead for ways to escape from our responsibilities and our present, and we confuse prayer with tortuous reasoning within our own mind.

A beautiful gift we can ask for today: to have our eyes wide open and our hearts even more so.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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