A Liturgy for Wearing Masks

First published on .

We are formed by language. Words give meaning to the world around us helping us to make sense of whats happening now, but also shaping our thoughts and even our actions into the future. The poet Malcolm Guite takes this a step further in his poem, O Sapientia where he says “I cannot think unless I have been thought, / Nor can I speak unless I have been spoken.”

It is one thing to read words, it is another to give them voice, to say this is what I believe or even this is what I want to believe. This is what liturgies help us to do. When I pray a liturgy I am admitting that I dont think about things right, that my thoughts are wrong, but I want them to be right or at least be better.

Like so many people this year, my thoughts and attitudes have been shaped by the pandemic and the drastic changes it has brought into each of our lives. Those changes, although good and necessary, have not been easy to implement and bring up many emotions.

For me and many, wearing the mask has been the most visible of those changes. I mourn the loss of closeness, the inability to see smiles, and the extra layer that separates me from friends and family who I love dearly.

This liturgy helps me orient myself towards the reason Im wearing a mask as well as a prayer that the act of putting on a mask will orient my heart to love and care for my neighbor both in how I protect them, but also in how I speak to them.

A Liturgy for Wearing Masks

O Lord who took upon himself a human face
  and wore our glories and our frailties,
be with us as we hide our face,
  protect us and those we speak to from all disease
  and filter every word from all unkindness,
  unmask our insecurities
 and mask us in your righteousness
and when at last we remove all coverings
  and breathe freely,
remind us of the freedom we will have
  when you bring an end to all disease.


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