Gemma Animae (23): De signis et salutatione diaconi

Ch. 23

On the Deacon’s Signs and Greeting


The deacon, when he goes up to the pulpit, first greets the people with the Dominus vobiscum, for the apostles, what house soever they entered in order to preach, first greeted their listeners with the Pax huic domui. When he says Sequentia sancti Evangelii, he makes the sign of the holy cross upon his forehead, in which is the seat of shame: he thereby shows that he is not ashamed of God’s words, for the Son in the judgement before the Father and the angels will be ashamed of him who is ashamed of the words of God (Luke IX). Verily, the cross and the Gospel were scandals of great shame for the incredulous.

Then he signs his lips, for he proclaims that he confesses the words of God with his lips, since with the lips confession is made unto salvation (Rom. X). Thence he signs his heart in order to banish the spirit of pride from himself, and that what he confesses with his lips might be known for justice. Therefore, by the signing of the heart, faith of the word is meant; by the signing of the lips, confession of Christ is understood; by the signing of the forehead, the working of the Gospel is expressed.

Then the clergy and people sign themselves. Gloria tibi Domine, they cry, for they proclaim by their words that they adore and obey Christ crucified. Thus, while the apostles preached the words of God, the people praised the Lord.


De signis et salutatione diaconi
[Note the poetic quality of the original Latin.]

Diaconus, cum ascenderit in analogium,
primum salutat populum per Dominus vobiscum,

quia apostoli, quamcunque domum praedicaturi intraverunt,
primum per pax huic domui auditores salutaverunt.

Cum sequentia sancti Evangelii dicit,
signum sanctae crucis fronti suae, in qua sedes est verecundiae imprimit:
per hoc se de verbis Domini non erubescere innuit.

Qui enim sermones Domini erubuerit, hunc Filius coram Patre et angelis in iudicio erubescet. Crux quippe et Evangelium apud incredulos magnae confusionis fuit opprobrium.

Deinde os signat, quia verba Dei se ore confiteri pronuntiat,
cum ore confessio ad salutem fiat. Exinde cor signat,
ut spiritum elationis a se excludat,
et ea quae ore confitetur ad iustitiam innotescat.

Igitur per cordis signationem, fides verbi accipitur;
per oris signationem, confessio Christi intelligitur;
per frontis signationem, operatio Evangelii exprimitur.

Deinde clerus et populus se signat.
Gloria tibi, Domine, conclamat,
quia Christum crucifixum se adorare, suis verbis obedire se pronuntiat.

Ita, dum apostoli verba Dei praedicaverunt,
populi Dominum laudaverunt.

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