By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published April 29, 2022
During Mass we make small crosses upon our foreheads, our lips and over our hearts, while praying silently, “The Lord be in my mind, on my lips and in my heart.” We say this prayer after the priest announces, “The Holy Gospel according to Saint … ” and as we say aloud, “Glory to you, oh Lord.”
“The Lord be in my mind” is a beautiful prayer, which can change our lives during an ordinary day. Imagine keeping God in our mind during every encounter. When we talk to a troubled person, we would listen with compassion. We’d give this person our full attention, rather than waiting for our chance to say something.
One of my nieces, who is 12, writes affirmations on her mirror, so “Jesus loves me” and “I am God’s child” greet her every time she gazes at her reflection. She starts her day mindful that she is God’s beloved, and falls asleep with the same knowledge. I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if more people realized how much God cherishes them.
“The Lord be on my lips” is a poignant way of asking God to bless our words, which sometimes fly from our mouths before we’ve had a chance to reflect. How often do we allow a sarcastic comment to wound another person and then regret it? How often do we descend into gossiping before we’ve even realized it? Or become angry and curse at another person?
The apostle James in his epistle writes about wrongful speech: “And if any man thinks himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” It can be extremely hard to tame our words or remain silent, especially when someone provokes us, but with God’s grace, we can do it.
Negative words spoken to children gradually creep into their hearts, and the children may become whatever was told to them. Telling children they are dumb, clumsy, disappointing or unattractive can make deep, lasting wounds. Many of us walk around with negative self-concepts, because of words spoken to us decades ago.
“The Lord be in my heart” is an invitation for Christ to change us on a deep level. When he lives in our hearts, we can face any situation, knowing we’re not really alone. When he is part of our deepest being, we stop holding grudges and seeking revenge. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” we read in the Book of Revelation, which means Jesus waits for an invitation, rather than breaking down the door to our hearts.
Christ warned, time and again, about having a hardened heart, because this means we can’t treat others compassionately. When Judas was at the Last Supper, the devil entered his heart, which can happen if we’ve turned our backs on God. In his case, he was a thief who stole money reserved for the poor, so he was already on the wrong path.
When we meet someone with a hardened heart, they are often mean-spirited and cruel, and quick with sarcasm and demeaning words. They might have been so wounded in the past that they’ve constructed a barricade around their hearts to fend off more pain.
“The Lord be in my mind, on my lips and in my heart” is a poignant prayer to repeat during the day. It’s a reminder that we can experience a deeper conversion, when we invite Jesus to be part of every moment of our lives. What a world it would be if more people walked around thinking about God, speaking kindly to others and harboring Christ in their hearts!