Monday, September 10, 2012

Lifting our hearts...

Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.  ~ Lamentations 3:41

St Rose of Lima Catholic School - Simi, California

“In the Bible, the heart is the hidden center of the person from which one’s thoughts, emotions and actions originate.  All intentions and commitments flow from the human heart.  Therefore, when the priest at Mass says, “Lift up your hearts,” he is summoning us to give our fullest attention to what is about to unfold.  This is a “wake-up call” to set aside all other concerns and focus our minds, wills and emotions - our hearts - on the sublimity of what is happening in the Eucharistic prayer.  ….

St Cyprian (d. A.D. 258), a North African Church Father, explained how this prayer draws our attention away from worldly distractions and is meant to lead us to ponder the awe-inspiring action taking place in the Eucharistic prayer:

When we stand praying, beloved brethren, we ought to be watchful and earnest with our whole heart, intent on our prayers.  Let all carnal and worldly thoughts pass away, nor let the soul at that time think on anything but the object only of its prayers.  For this reason also the priest by way of preface before his prayer, prepares the minds of the brethren by saying, Lift up your hearts, that so upon the people’s response, We have them before our Lord, he may be reminded that he himself ought to think of nothing but our Lord.

Another Church Father, St Cyril of Jerusalem, made a similar point and warned believers of the seriousness of this moment.

Lift up your hearts:  For in this sublime moment the heart should be lifted up to God, and not be allowed to descend to the earth and to earthly concerns.  With all possible emphasis the sacrificing priest exhorts us in this hour to lay aside all the cares of this life, all domestic worries, and direct our hearts to God in heaven who hath so loved men. … Let there be none among you, who shall confess with his lips:  We have lifted up our hearts, and allow his thoughts to remain with the cares of this life.”

Excerpt:  A Biblical Walk through the Mass - Understanding What We Say and Do in the Liturgy (Pgs 96-97). ~ Edward Sri - 2011 (Ascension Press)

 Sursam Corda

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