A couple of years ago, my wonderful priest, Fr. Rickey Valleroy, suggested that the responsorial psalm sung during Sunday mass become a sort of “mantra” for the entire week; something we can repeat to keep our minds on God and a focus on the Mass continuing long after “Thanks be to God!”
Borrowing the term from our brothers and sisters in the Hindu and Buddhist tradition, the word mantra has two parts: man, which is the root of the Sanskrit word for mind; and tra, which is the root of the word instrument. Basically, a mantra is an instrument for the mind, something we can repeat over and over again in meditation to increase awareness for the Divine. For Catholic Christians, the responsorial psalm said at Sunday Mass can be a great mantra to repeat again and again throughout the week as a simple way to meditate and keep the focus on Jesus during our busy lives. If you forget to write down the responsorial psalm after Mass, just go online to USCCB.org or use the Laudate app on itunes or here for Android to look up the psalm for the current week.
After incorporating the “mantra of the week” in my classroom, my husband and I decided to use it in our home as well. Read below for both ways we have used this great idea!
Use in the Classroom
I took Father Rickey’s advice and turned it into a weekly practice in my classroom. At first, I made “mantra cards”, small business-card sized cards with the responsorial psalm on them. Then, I made a poster by creating a Word document with the words “Mantra of the Week” at the top with space below. I printed it out using the 2 x 2 poster format in the printer settings. Next, I taped a piece of construction paper in the blank space, and laminated it so I can use a dry-erase marker to write a new mantra each week. I would print enough small cards for each student to keep one and share one, but last year I didn’t print the cards anymore to save on paper. However, I feel like sharing the cards is a great evangelizing opportunity, so I am going to re-create them again. This time, I have decided to keep the poster up in the classroom and give the students a card to pass out to a new person each week. What a great way to share praise to our God through the psalms in keeping with the liturgy! Some of my students are quite brave and hand them out to people in the grocery store while others are more comfortable giving them out to family, teachers, or other students outside of the classroom. Either way, they are bringing scripture and a form of prayer to another person, and that is fantastic!
Here is a free download for a Mantra Poster for your classroom on my Teachers Pay Teachers site!
Besides having students share the mantra with a person outside of the classroom, we say it at the end of each prayer we say during the day. Sometimes, we just repeat it when I want to refocus the class, or if we just need some spiritual help! Having a “mantra of the week” has been a great practice in my classroom, and I hope that you decide to introduce it to your students as well.
Use at home
A simple way to incorporate the “mantra of the week” into your home is to get a small whiteboard or chalkboard and simply write it down each Sunday and display it for the whole family to see. We keep ours above our bookcase, but you can hang it on a wall or display it anywhere. Reciting the mantra each week as part of family prayer is a great reminder of previous Mass’s focus, and encourages memorization of scripture. A win-win situation in my book!!