At the Red Mass this weekend at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Oklahoma City, the guest homilist—Bishop James S. Wall from Gallup, New Mexico, gave a stirring homily as he “opened the Word” with us, reflecting on Sunday’s readings [25th Sunday of Ordinary Time]. Bishop Wall, by the way, has a great blog titled "Be Doers of the Word" (named after his episcopal motto), which I've linked to his name above.
The Red Mass is a tradition dating back to the 13th Century in Europe when both the bench and bar attended a Mass together at the beginning of each judicial session.
At the Cathedral this weekend, government officials, judges and law professors processed in wearing their robes or academic hoods, and celebrants wore red, signifying the fire of the Holy Spirit's guidance to all who pursue justice in their daily lives.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley prays over
lawyers, government officials, judges, law students
The phrase that I kept hearing, both directly from and implied in Bishop’s Wall’s words is this: be imitators of Christ.
Even with regard to the saints, such as St. Thomas More, patron of all in the law profession, the Bishop emphasized, we follow them inasmuch as they were imitators of Christ and applied that in their lives.
This understanding is for me, ultimately, a prayer of desire—and it was best brought into my heart at the Red Mass with the offertory song, “God Be in My Head,” a short piece by one of my favorite contemporary composers, John Rutter:
God be in my head and in my understanding.
God be in mine eyes and in my looking.
God be in my mouth and in my speaking.
God be in mine heart and in my thinking.
God be at my end and in my departing.
Youtube video of "God Be in My Head"