May the Lord be in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts, that worthily we might proclaim the Good News!
In this weekend's reading from Isaiah, the prophet is purified when a seraphim touches a burning ember to his lips; it is the prelude to Isaiah's acceptance of his calling as prophet: Here I am, send me!
This story may come to mind when we hear the Gospel announced and make a small Sign of the Cross on our forehead and mouth and over our heart. Such crosses probably date back to Frankish or Germanic societies of the ninth to eleventh centuries. For a long time, this gesture was reserved for priests, though over the years, probably after the Council of Trent, the assembly began to follow suit. Since 2003, however, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal has extended the privilege to laypeople (Article #134).
And the words we say are significant: May the Lord be in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts, that worthily we might proclaim the Good News! In a sense, we are asking for the same kind of purification experienced by Isaiah, so that God may always be foremost in our thoughts, so that our lips might be devoted to giving witness to Jesus' redemptive Word, and so that our hearts might open in love to the Love that is ours through the Incarnation. It is an eminently appropriate prayer to keep in mind as we enter the Season of Lent.
May the Lord be in your mind, on your lips,
and in your heart, that worthily you might proclaim the Good News!
Image source: Seraphim Purifying the Lips of Isaiah (fresco), Catalan School, 15th c.
Sources: 1 and 2