Aurem tuam, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris accommoda:
et mentis nostrae tenebras, gratia tuae visitationis illustra.
The multi-volume Corpus orationum says this prayer was, with variations, in numerous ancient manuscripts. The mickle Lewis & Short Dictionary says accommodo means “to fit or adapt one thing to another, to lay, put, or hang on”. In English “accommodations” are a place suited to our living needs. An “accommodating” person adjusts his world to suit our exigencies. In relation to property accommodo means: “to lend it to one for use”. In Classical Latin it is found, as in today’s prayer, with “ears”. Think of Marc Antony crying out in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (III,ii) , “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”. Mens means “the conscience” as well as “a plan, purpose, design, intention”. Mens points to our heart, mind and soul.
O Lord, lend your ear to our prayers, we beseech you, and by the grace of your visitation, illuminate the shadows of our mind.
God is infinite. Yet it is possible for us to call on a loving God to condescend and adapt to our needs. Our prayers are bound with God’s eternal self-knowledge, plan and providence. In the case of God “hearing” us, He knows what we want better than we know it ourselves. Consider also that the eternal Word, uttered from before time, is in our prayers and good words and deeds, echoing back to the Father.
If we are images of God, especially in our mens, God should be able to hear and recognize Himself in us. Our neighbor should look at us and hear us and see God reflected.
A second image in the prayer is from the contrast of illumination and darkness. Christ, the light to our darkness, moral and intellectual, is coming. With grace He adapts our minds and hearts to receive what is necessary for salvation. He adapts to us, in His incarnation. He adapts us to Him by grace.