There is a very important expression in Church formation, “lex orandi, lex credenda, lex vivendi,” meaning, “the law of praying leads to the law of believing, which leads to the law of living.” This essentially means that the way you pray determines the way you believe; and the way you believe determines the way you live.
This expression shows why, for us Catholics, the words of our liturgical prayers are so important! The words we use in prayer inform those who pray them as to what they believe. Then, being more enlightened by grace, each person is more likely to live the faith they both believe and pray.
I bring this up because our parish experienced a unique and beautiful ritual on Oct. 4th, at the 8 a.m. All-School Mass in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Bishop Kemme celebrated the Mass and, before we began, blessed our new doors with a beautiful rite of blessing. The words of this rite are not only poetic in their beauty, but also formative in their content. I want you to see the words used by the Bishop in order to affect you in the manner of “lex orandi, lex credenda, lex vivendi.”
I encourage you to use these words as a source of meditation in prayer. Think deeply about them so that they may shape your belief. By seeing what we believe captured in the words we pray, I sincerely hope you can appreciate walking through our beautiful church doors and be filled with the deep spiritual and theological meaning captured in this ritual.*
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, gathered for the blessing of the new church doors, let us take part in this celebration with reverence and a spirit of devotion. Let us pray fervently to the Lord that all who enter the church through these doors in order to hear the word of God and celebrate the sacraments may heed the voice of Christ: it is Christ who gave himself to us as the true door to eternal life.
Let us pray: O God, you have honored your people with dignity of being called your Church. Grant that this assembly of your faithful may revere and love you, and with you as their leader reach the promised rewards of heaven. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
My brothers and sisters, we have happily gathered here to bless these new church doors. Let us then lift our voices to pray that God will draw near with His grace.
Let us pray: Almighty and merciful Father, you have given us Christ to be the True Door of our salvation. We beseech you, bless and sanctify these doors, so that all who enter the church through them to hear the word of the Lord and to celebrate the sacraments may listen to the voice of Christ and be obedient to him; for it is Christ who gave Himself to us as the true door to eternal life, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
Please, take this Rite of Blessing prayer with you. Think deeply about its words, and let it effect a new way of living faithfully in Jesus Christ, the True Door to eternal life.
*This is not Witchcraft or some New-Age ritual where the belief is that the ritual and the words it uses force an effect beyond the free will of a person. Catholics do not believe that our prayers and blessings force God to do anything, nor do they override free will. Rather they are supplications for God’s freely given divine help, or pleas for the influence of God’s love and care.
Father Jarrod Lies, Pastor