The prayer this week dates back to the Fifth Century. It is believed that this prayer was written by Pope Gelasius for the liturgy to be celebrated on January 29, 495. This prayer is still used each year, on the Sunday close to this same date. Sixteen centuries of Christians have been praying this prayer. Now just imagine sixteen centuries of souls in heaven praying it with the Church worldwide this weekend. This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Grant us, Lord our God, that we may honor you with all our mind, and love everyone in truth of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
I’ve been thinking about the first petition of this prayer, that we may honor God with all our mind. Scripture tells us that we should love the Lord our God with all our mind (Matt. 22:36), that we should be renewed by the transforming of our mind (Rom. 12:2), and that we should keep our mind on things that are above (Col. 3:2).
However, when it comes to honoring God with all our mind, it reminded me of a prayer of St. Augustine, “O Lord, my King and my God, for your service be whatever thing I learned as a boy-for your service what I speak, and write, and count.” (Conf. 1.15.24)
I found it interesting that St. Augustine recognized something that we take for granted, learning to speak, write, and count, and he offered those things back to God for His service. St. Augustine is a great example to use for this prayer, because he also offered his mind to God’s service. How can we know that?
St. Augustine used his God-given gifts of intellect, rational thought, and self-awareness to honor God. He gave these gifts back to God after he made the decision to love God with his whole mind, after he chose to transform his mind, and then he chose to keep his mind on things above. St. Augustine did not decide to become a better version of himself, he chose to become the person that God created him to be.
In the prayer, we also ask that we love everyone in truth of heart. In the Latin form of the prayer we find the words rationabili affectu, which is translated as reasonable love.
I found the best explanation of loving with truth of heart in I John 3:18: “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” The Greek word for this love is agape and the word used for truth is alētheia, which means sincere. How the world would change if we all would have a genuine concern for each person we encounter every day.
After I spent no little time meditating on this prayer, I found myself going back to St. Augustine as an example. God has given us so many gifts, among them are the ones we don’t often consider, to be able to learn, to reason, and to sincerely love.
As we use these gifts, we also strengthen them and when we do, like St. Augustine, we don’t become better versions of ourselves, we become the persons God intended us to be.
Thanks for praying with me,