Mottos intrigue me, those catchphrases that we often live by or aspire to. A motto is different than a slogan collected by the culture to describe a thought or idea. Take, for instance, the phrase “Flower Power” (I’m dating myself here). That slogan represented the passive resistance of the hippie movement during the 1960s and early 70s in protest against the Vietnam War. The slogan morphed into the use of props like flowers, toys, flags, and candy in anti-war rallies with the hope that it would reduce the fear and anger that usually accompanied protests. Slogans can be effective for a time; however, it can change as quickly as culture does.

Mottos, however, are more like a maxim of a belief system that one wholeheartedly embodies no matter what is going on in the culture around them. We see this in clan mottos that develop over generations of behavior. For instance, my maiden name is Keith, and our clan has the motto “Veritas Vincit” which means “Truth Prevails.” I embrace that motto; it informs how I choose to respond to the culture around me.

The brokenness of the human condition is evident in the way you and I may find ourselves repeating lies to ourselves rather than the truth. Do these sound familiar? I am not good enough. I am too much. I can’t. I won’t. It’s impossible. I will never change. Do any of these lies echo in your thoughts? There is hope! The mottos in Sacred Scripture can work like a telegraph for our mind, constantly repeating the truth until it fixes in our mind. Like a mantra that means “man-think,” repeating the truth of Scripture will change how we think. Easier said than done, I know. Here is where our daily Mass readings come to our aid.

The Sacred Scripture imbues mottos for us to live by no matter the time in history. The Church intentionally worships God that is anchored in the consistent reading through the Scriptures in a three-year cycle. In effect, our very identity as a beloved child of God forms through the worship of God in the Mass. Practicing this identity begins and ends in the worship of God, not just in the Mass but in every moment of our lives. How’s that going for you?

The established pattern of the responsorial psalm in the Mass is necessary to practice our faith and live into our identity as God’s beloved child in daily life. You are familiar with many psalms because we read, chant, or sing them as we respond to the cantor with the antiphonal sentence after each verse. In effect, we are repeating a motto as a reminder of who we are. They encapsulate the Word of God into a rule of life to be embraced and to inform our thinking, transforming our very nature to reveal our identity as a child of God. This type of repetition is a form of meditation, and we can repeat the antiphonal response as prayers throughout our day. In this way, we allow the Holy Spirit to change our minds, returning us to our identity as the beloved children of our Creator God.

Let’s pray together some of the antiphons we have prayed in the last week as we worshipped in the Mass. You may find one to repeat as your prayer throughout today..

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Psalm 95)

LORD, your Word is always speaking to us; forgive us for the times that our heart is hard as a stone against your Spirit’s movement in our life. Teach us to listen to you rather than the “voices” in our heads!

The Lord will remember his covenant forever. (Psalm 111)

LORD, how easily we forget that your love endures forever. You never change your mind about us. We can do nothing to make you love us less, and we can’t do anything to make you love us more. Help us to respond to your covenant love for us with thanksgiving and humility.

Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way. (Psalm 139)

LORD, when we are tempted to allow the culture to guide our thoughts and actions, remind us that you are the way, the truth, and the life. Grant us the courage to choose life with you!

The Lord made us, we belong to him. (Psalm 100)

Our Lord and Creator, we belong to you. You did not create us to belong to anything else! Forgive us for bowing to the over-weaning pride, fear, or anger that can hold us captive, enslaving us in futility and despair. Help us to remember that you want us to remain in your steadfast love that conquers all the enemies of our souls. May we carry your banner into our corners of the world, corners that are full of people who don’t know who they are, why they are here, or what they stand for. May the way we live our lives repeat your love, mercy, and forgiveness to all who observe us.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, world without end.


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The Maiden Warrior

Greetings, friend. "In silence and rest is your salvation" are words from the prophet Isaiah that echo the desire of my life. I've been following that desire my entire life as I seek to live and move and have my being in what the LORD desires for me. I'm still learning the beauty of silence and rest as my salvation, it's a long obedience in the right direction. This is my journey.

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