We’ve got an oldie this week! Scholars believe that this prayer was written by Pope Gelasius for the liturgy celebrated on January 29, 495. If so, it was intended to counter upcoming pagen celebrations. While we no longer have the threat of those particular events, the prayer is still used on the Sunday close to the same date each year.
This week we Lecito 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.
The prayer asks God to allow two things: we honor him with all our mind and we love everyone in truth of heart.
How to honor God with all our mind might depend on what “mind” means. To honor is to venerate or adore, to bring glory to. Our mind is another matter. In the Latin translation of the prayer, the word for mind is “mente.” In addition to our thoughts, it means our character, our heart, our soul, even our conscience, and intellect. Our mind includes our way of thinking and feeling. It even includes our desires.
It’s interesting to think about. How do my thoughts about the person who strongly dislikes me, bring honor to God? Another example could be - I don’t - but if I did have a desire for a bigger house, how would a bigger house honor God?
All that we are, all that we think, say, do, desire, and even our being alive should honor God.
About loving everyone in truth of heart - translated directly from the Latin prayer, it means to treat (or influence) everyone with rational (or reasonable) esteem (or love, or value).
To me, to love everyone in truth of heart means to care for them genuinely, like God cares for them. That may sound easier said than done. It’s also a habit I’ve put into practice. About that person who strongly dislikes me? They exist. As God would have it, I do get to see them a few times a week as I drive past them on their walk to work. Strangely, this is a person I have never been involved with socially or even spoken to in the last 20 years, but they really don’t like me. So here’s what I started doing --
Every time I see them or drive past their house, I ask God to bless them. “Lord, give them a successful year, bless their spouse, let them have a joyful day,” - you get the picture. I don’t think any more about them, I don’t question their motives, I only ask God for all good things for them and I move on.
Here’s what happened: I noticed that they started walking a different way to work when I was driving by. My first thought was, “You’d think they’d want me to see them, just so I could ask God to bless them today!” Then I remembered that I could still ask God to bless them whether I saw them or not.
To love everyone in truth of heart sounds like it could be more difficult. However, if we trust that when we ask God to grant something according to his will, we have to trust that he actually does it. That means that we can also trust that he’s given us the grace for it.
Lectio the Liturgy: When we honor Christ with all we are and do, if we truly live and breathe to honor God, we also need to consider the blessings that God has for others that he wants to give them through us. When we live with that mindset, it is second nature to love everyone with truth of heart. This week, strive to be God’s blessing to others.