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Do you pray when you put on your lipstick? Maybe you should…


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Aleteia - published on 01/31/24

Trying not to gossip? Here's how to make putting on lipstick your indispensable ally for "setting a guard over your mouth," as the psalmist says.

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips,” the psalmist prays in Psalm 141. Since Christ invites his disciples to be watchful and ready in all circumstances, there is no such thing as trivial prayer. Indeed, if St Teresa of Avila liked to say that “the Lord walks among pots and pans,” he just as surely makes his way between the towel and the mirror in the bathroom.

Indeed, nothing is in vain if it pleases God. Claire de Féligonde, from the French podcast Maman prie, suggests a simple daily reminder that will help us keep a careful watch over our words.

We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of Féligonde’s precaution. The apostle James warns that “no one can tame the tongue — a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.” (James 3:8-10)


A concrete gesture that helps form a habit of prayer

So, what is her tip? Lipstick.

Since human beings are made of flesh and blood, we need concrete signs and reminders. So, she suggests that we make a habit of praying silently for this intention every time we put lipstick, gloss, balm on our lips in the morning — or even when we simply rinse our mouths with water.

In terms of the content of the prayer, we can simply repeat that verse from Psalm 141 quoted at the beginning of this article, or some other simple, short prayer.

We can also repeat this gesture every time we’re tempted to speak an evil word. The gesture will then act as a defense against insults, rudeness, gossip, and lies. It will invite us to give every sentence that comes out of our mouth to the Lord. It will also help us remember, along with the disciples, that “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles” (Mt 15:11).

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