April 1st, 1998, Serial No. 00290

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Liturgy Class

AI Summary: 





God, our Creator, yours is the day, yours is the night, all seasons and all times, every moment, every hour. Let the Spirit of your Son pray in us and reveal in us the sanctity of our daily life. We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord. So, good morning, welcome, we're on our second section of the liturgy class, which I've been waiting to do for quite some time now. I have it in mind that we do three sections, one on the broad, a broad based on liturgy in general with the Eucharist specifically, a second section on the Liturgy of the Hours, and a third on the Sacraments. So, we're finally starting the second part, which is on the Liturgy of the Hours.


I want to give you a little advanced warning how this is going to go. Of course, having not taught this before and not knowing how loquacious I'm going to be in individual class periods, I'm thinking 10 sessions. So, we'll try for that. It may go a little longer, especially if at the end we have some discussions. I hate to cut those off. This first class, I'm not sure that I'll get through the whole introduction, but for sure today and maybe the beginning of the second section, I'm just going to go over an overview, a kind of an introduction, a lot of it taken from the general instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours from Vatican II. And then we're going to swoop headlong into a historical approach. And I have two reasons in mind to do that. One is just to see how the Church has celebrated the Liturgy of the Hours through the centuries and to see some of the shifting of importance.


The second is what I focused on specifically is monastic practices through the centuries. Now, history is not my absolute forte, so I'll have plenty of people around to help me with some of the facts. But I've done as best I could to research how monks celebrated the Liturgy of the Hours through the centuries. And we'll concentrate a lot, especially from early Christian times up to the rule of Saint Benedict. And then we will talk about Cluny and the Cistercian and things like that. It's very interesting to me to find out how monks practiced and what sense of importance it was to different traditions. And we're right there in the middle, of course, in the 11th century with Saint Peter Damian. And then at the end, we'll talk about specifically the reform of Vatican II and what Vatican II did to reshape the Liturgy of the Hours and then get very specific and go through the monastic thesaurus a bit, which Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who was then abbot primate,


had written for the Benedictine Confederation in 1973, early 70s. And then hone in specific. And this is all his expectations of what Benedictine houses should be celebrated for the Liturgy of the Hours. And then specifically look at Archimaudle's Constitution's declarations and then maybe even go through our office and try to understand it in a whole new way. Of course, I'm coming at this from the perspective of having taken the Italian office and put our office together. So I'm obviously somewhat prejudiced, but also this is kind of in my DNA, in a sense, at least how we practice it. And I'll be, as I was telling Mark, I get so excited about some of these things. And if anything I'd like to get across, even if I get the facts wrong, maybe it's to try to get across from my enthusiasm for this. Aidan Kavanaugh makes this, if you recall, I love to quote his pithy little sayings,


from his book Elements of Right, makes the assertion that liturgy generally is not prayer as much as it is ritual in many cases. If you think about the Eucharistic liturgy, the Mass we celebrate, very little of it is really specifically prayer, according to Aidan Kavanaugh's way of looking at it. There's acclamation, there's readings, there's us talking to each other, there's us listening, there's us singing. But the real focus of prayer is only really in the collects and the Eucharistic prayer and the general intercessions. But when we talk about the Liturgy of the Hours, we've taken a step deeper, specifically into Christian prayer. And when anything I read about the Liturgy of the Hours always starts out with a pretty broad introduction about the meaning of Christian prayer.


You'll notice even some of the additions of the breviary were marked not Liturgy of the Hours, but Prayer of Christians. So, this first little section, we'll talk about Christian prayer and how that relates to the Liturgy of the Hours. It shouldn't become as too much of a surprise if I were to tell you that, especially after the last classes we had, and the introduction. Some of these guys have been put through the introductory classes that you guys got two years ago, that whole first section. Public and common prayer by the people of God is considered to be among the primary duties of the Church. Yes, we're called to feed the poor. Yes, we're called to spread the Word. But our real primary duty also lies in this realm of public and common prayer.


From the beginning, if you read through the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that the Christian community began by praying with one accord. Here's Acts chapter 1, verse 14. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. Riddled all throughout the Acts of the Apostles, there's many examples of the Christian community gathering in prayer. One gets the sense right on that it is of the very essence of what it means to be Church for these first Christians, to gather together in prayer. And as we'll see a little more clearly in a class or two down the road, from very early in the Church's history, individual Christians also started devoting themselves to prayer at fixed times during the day.


And customs, very early on, started developing around assigning special times to common prayer. So individuals were celebrating at fixed hours, and groups started to celebrate at fixed hours, very early on. And this kind of common prayer, especially, gradually took shape in the form of an ordered round of hours. As we say, it came to be known as the Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours. Now remember the first thing I said, public and common prayer by the people of God is rightly considered to be among the primary duties of the Church. So you hear us, perhaps, if you're new to the monastic life, you're confused by this word, office. This is our office. What does that mean, office? Well, this is, here's, right in that sentence is what the word office means in that sense, duty. As in, one serves in the office of president.


It's the service, it's a duty. So the monastic office is the monastic duty. It's our duty. It's what we do to serve. It's how we serve. And from the beginning, this prayer of these Christians gathering together has basically always had these two very important elements, praise, petition. You can put that on a little side burner, and we're going to get to it. A lot of what I'm teaching out of today is a broad view of what's called the general instruction on the liturgy of the hours. After the documents came out that sort of redefined liturgy in Vatican II, then very specific instructions came out on exactly how to do it. One was called the general instruction on the Roman Missal, which is at the beginning of the sacramentary. It's one of those documents that I loved to read over and over and over and over again.


There's also a general instruction on the liturgy of the hours, which is printed in the first volume of the four volumes set in the Roman office. In fact, the general instruction on the liturgy of the hours says, it is the prayer of the church with Christ to Christ. So this is where I'm going, right here. Did you happen to catch that reading by Saint Augustine this morning? And I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to this specific class in this course. I'm going to read just a couple parts of it again. It is the one Savior of his body, our Lord Jesus Christ, who prays for us and in us and is himself the object of our prayers. He prays for us as our priest.


He prays in us as our head. He is the object of our prayers as our God. This is a line that I loved so much. Let us then recognize both our voice in his and his voice in ours. Okay, you can go now. That's it. That's the whole thing. Let us recognize our voice in his and his voice in ours. We pray to him as God. He prays for us as servant. So, in fact, what we're talking about in the Liturgy of the Hours, and we're talking about in Christian prayer in general, is it is first and foremost the prayer of Christ. Here's a quote from Sacrosanctum Concilium, that first great document of Vatican II on the liturgy.


Christ Jesus, the new high priest of the new and eternal covenant, took our human nature and introduced into the world of our exile that hymn of praise that is sung in the heavenly places throughout all ages. So there's a song going on in heaven. It's sung throughout all ages. Has always been sung, always will be sung. There's a song going on. And when Christ took our human nature, Christ brought us that song, brought us into the song, taught us how to sing the song. The general instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours then says, from then on, from the time of Christ on, the praise of God wells up from the heart of Christ in human words of adoration, propitiation, intercession, presented to the Father by Christ, the head of the new humanity,


the mediator between God and humankind, in the name of all for the good of all. You can't get more inclusive than that. The praise of God wells up from the heart of Christ in human words, propitiation, intercession, intercession, presented to the Father by Christ, who is the priest, the mediator, in the name of all for the good of all. So we see, first of all, from the life of Jesus, while he was on earth, the Gospels record all kinds of examples of his prayer. But when I stop to think about Jesus praying, I'm moved in a different way. I think of Jesus as divine, but there's at the end, when he says to Mary Magdalene, I have not yet ascended to your God and my God.


This is the whole message. Jesus is praying. Jesus, this divine one, is praying. You get the sense in the Gospels that all of Jesus' work somehow flows from this time of prayer. In Luke, I just wrote a couple examples down. Before he calls his apostles in Luke 6, he spent the night in prayer. Luke 3, too, when his mission has been revealed by the Father, he's been spending time in prayer first. Whenever the stories in all the Gospels of the multiplication of the loaves, first, Jesus is praying. When he heals the deaf mute, Mark 7, first of all, he prays. When he raises Lazarus, he's praying. Now, there's many examples. At the work of his own day, all his ministry flows out of his own prayer. And you also get a pretty clear picture from the Gospel


that Jesus also took part in public prayer, in the public prayer of the Jews of his era, like a good Jew that he was. In the synagogue, which the Gospel tells us he entered on the Sabbath as was his custom. In the temple, where he often taught and preached and got in a lot of trouble. And probably we can assume that he would also be praying the private prayers that the devout Israelites would say regularly. We're going to talk a little bit more about that in another class or two. Also, he used the traditional blessings of God at meals and the multiplication of the loaves at the Last Supper and Emmaus. You always see Jesus using the traditional Barakah prayers. And then, leaving us a command to do as he did, and even giving us a formula for how to pray, certainly in the Our Father. But all throughout the Gospels, you get these little hints,


these little descriptions of what prayer is supposed to be like. It's supposed to be humble, it's supposed to be vigilant, it should be persevering, it should be single-minded. Especially call your attention to Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount, that beautiful little section. Now, the apostles continue this teaching on prayer, especially St. Paul in his letters. And St. Paul gives us our first explanation of what it means to pray as a Christian after Jesus, and leaves us these themes that are not going to go away. The first thing that comes to mind all the time with St. Paul, in all of his letters, no matter what he's talking about, is this sense of urgency. And he certainly brings that to prayer. Remember 1 Thessalonians 5. Rejoice always, never stop praying, offer constant thanks. So this is a very important theme of St. Paul. Constant, always, unceasing, urgent, never stop.


The second thing Paul adds in his teachings is a quote from Galatians 4 or 6. God has sent forth into our hearts the spirit of his Son, which cries out, Abba, Father. So Christian prayer to St. Paul is always in the Spirit, through the Spirit, powered by the Spirit. Here's another theme Paul adds. Hebrews 13, 15. Through him, Christ, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise. So Paul introduces this theme. Christian prayer is through Christ. Now in various places, Paul's going to speak of praise, of thanksgiving, of petition, of intercession, but all of these still take part in this. Constant prayer in the Holy Spirit through Christ. Constant prayer in the Holy Spirit through Christ. But Paul gets all that attention.


Where I like to go is poor old St. Peter. 1 Peter 2, 9. This could be the theme for the past two years of my life. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people he claims for his own. So let's go to the second movement with that background. The second movement is this. Christ prayed and Christ continues to pray. Specifically, how does Christ continue to pray? Christ continues to pray by the church praying. Christ prays in the church. We are a chosen race. We are a royal priesthood. We are, first of all, wholly dependent on God. So we always have to recognize that dependency on God and we have to express that dependency on God,


express that sovereignty of God. This is what worship is about in the first place, but we do not do it alone. Because for the Christian, this prayer that's directed to God is always linked with Christ, who is the one mediator. Christ, who is the priest. Christ, who has established for all time this link between God and creation. That is Christ's great act of reconciliation, forever linking together the creator and the created. So every prayer is addressed in the name of this great mediator, who has opened up the way to the Father. So we as a church, we as individuals, do not even need to make up our own prayer, in a sense. What we do is enter into the prayer of Jesus.


Jesus prayed and Jesus continues to pray. Jesus is forever at the right hand of the Father, praising, Jesus is forever at the right hand of the Father, loving, adoring, communing, and Jesus has placed the Spirit in our hearts, His Spirit, so that we can enter into that prayer that Jesus is forever offering. For the Christian, we believe specifically that it is through Christ alone, it is only through Christ that we have access to God. As chauvinistic as that sounds, as arrogant as that sounds, or it sounded to me 10 years ago, it doesn't sound that chauvinistic and arrogant now, when I think of Christ as the second person of the Trinity, through the Word. That's our access to the Father, is through the Word, and the Word is a pretty big, explosive term to me.


We believe that Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and that flesh became the Christ, the Anointed One, established the way to the Father. So the Christian believes that all the religious activity of all humankind is summed up in Christ. All the religious activity of humanity attains its goal, reaches its conclusion, and its ultimate value in Christ. The good news about that, again, is that Christ has chosen to unite Himself so closely to the community of humanity, in such a way that there's this intimate bond between the prayer of Christ and the prayer of the whole human race. We are in Christ as Christ intercedes and praises to the Father. Christ is in us praying. And there is most especially this bond with Christ


between Christ and those who have been made His members through baptism. Because the baptized are specifically the ones who are united with the head, for whom all the riches that belong to Jesus flow, from whom all the riches that belong to Christ flow, belong to Jesus flow through to the world, through this body, because the church is now the body of Christ. So everything that Christ did and does, we are meant to do. Everything that Christ is, we as a church are meant to be. This is the fellowship of the Spirit of which we speak. This sharing in the divine adoption which Jesus himself longed for so much in the Gospel of John, praying that they may be one in me


as I am one in you and you are one in me. So Christ's prayer is continued by the church as priest. This priesthood of Christ is shared by the whole body of the church. What is the priesthood of Christ? The broadest sense of what a priest is, is a go-between between humanity and God. There's only one go-between. We don't need any more priests. We have one priest. Christ is that priest. We don't need to offer those kinds of sacrifices anymore. We don't need to bring God down to us. You remember that Taft article I brought in. God has already been brought down. The reconciliation has been won. Christ is the priest. We as a church then enter into that priesthood of Christ. By baptism, we are priests, sharing in Christ's priesthood.


We are a priestly people. Specifically baptism through confirmation, through rebirth in this anointing of the Holy Spirit. We're going to the Christmas Mass next Monday and this is one little thing that excites me so much is this chrism, this oil, specifically the chrism oil, which has the sweet resins in it, balsam and what's the other one you can put in it, is used three times. Baptism, confirmation, priesthood. That's when that oil is used. We are ready priests by virtue of our baptism because we as a church are priests. So this whole people is able to offer worship and praise. The worship and praise that's been established by Jesus. Not of our own power, but from the gift of Christ. So as Hebrews says, Jesus, when he was in the flesh,


offered prayers and supplication to God. So now we, who share in his priesthood, are called upon to offer prayers and supplication. I had Richard, with his architectural handwriting, write this out for us. And maybe this will sum up what I've said thus far. The excellence of Christian prayer lies in this, that it shares in the very love of the only begotten Son for the Father, and it shares in that prayer which the Son put into words in his earthly life, and which still continues unceasingly in the name of the whole human race and for its salvation throughout the universal church and all its members. Christian prayer shares in the very love that Jesus shares with the Father. Christian prayer shares in the exact same prayer that the Son put into words,


and which still continues in the name of the whole human race. Here's our priesthood. This is our priesthood is. When we pray, we are the priest praying for the whole human race throughout the universal church and all its members. This unity of the church, of course, has brought about a great deal of change. By the Holy Spirit that's been promised to us, promised never to abandon us, and planted into our hearts. Here's a phrase also from the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, one of these little tiny phrases I never caught before. This Holy Spirit is the same in Christ, in the church, and in every baptized person. It's the same Holy Spirit. It's not a different Holy Spirit that Christ has, that the church has, and that I have. It's the same Holy Spirit in Christ, the church says,


in the church, and in each little temple here. I have the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. This is the Spirit who, in the words of St. Paul, helps us in our weakness, intercedes for us in these sighs too deep for words. The Christian believes there can be no authentic Christian prayer without this action of the Holy Spirit, that all authentic prayer comes from the working of this Spirit within us. So, I wrote this part out exactly word for word, so I wouldn't get it wrong. To sum up, the church teaches them that constant and persevering prayer belong to the very essence of what it means to be church. Constant and persevering prayer


is the very heart of what it means to be church. To be church is to pray unceasingly, to pray constantly in praise and petition. That's what we're meant to do, because we are a priestly people. Now, this will tie us in with the end of the last introduction, the last course of introduction. There, the church is a community, and there is no better way for her to express herself as community than in prayer, and there is no better way for her to pray than in community. As we've seen over and over again, I keep pointing this out, but it's very important. The Roman Catholic tradition always gives a certain pride of place to this prayer in common, to common prayer. Especially, remember the first category


of Fr. Bacchini's categories that I showed you, specifically to the liturgical prayer of the church. That which the sacraments have been instituted by God or instituted by the church. This is way up there in the Liturgy of the Hours. This is that second level, instituted by the church, but officially the church is liturgy. Anything after Liturgy of the Hours is not considered liturgy. It's devotion, if you remember. So, this is re-echoed again in the general instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours. You'll remember this, I think, from the last time too. Though, you'll remember this theme, not this exact paragraph. Though prayer in one's room behind closed doors is always necessary and is to be encouraged and is performed by members of the church through Christ and the Holy Spirit, yet there is a special excellence in the prayer of the community. Christ himself said, where two or three are gathered, I am there in their midst.


My one handout. I didn't know if the Xerox machine was going to work. So, these are first generation of the laser printer. Impressed? Impressed. Was that a quote that you mentioned? Was that a packaging that you just wrote? No, that was also from the general instruction. Oh, Bede, I want to ask you, what I'd like is for somebody else to read the first paragraph out loud since I'm a little tired of my own voice here. Bede, could you read it for us? In the Liturgy of the Hours, the church exercises the priestly office of its head and offers to God unceasingly a sacrifice of praise, that is, a tribute of lips acknowledging his name.


This prayer is the voice of the bride as she addresses the bridegroom. Indeed, it is also the prayer of Christ and his body to the father. And all, therefore, who offer this prayer are fulfilling a duty of the church and also sharing in the highest honor given to Christ's bride because as they render praise to God, they are standing before God's throne in the name of Mother Church. What am I... I'm looking at four things in that paragraph there. You see it mentioned, priestly office. The church is exercising the priestly office of Christ. Second thing, unceasingly. The third thing, this prayer is the voice of the bride as she addresses her bridegroom. This is something that gets brought up quite often,


especially in monastic literature. Fourth thing, all, therefore, who offer this prayer are fulfilling the duty of the church. When we pray, we are doing what the church has been called to do. And then the last thing, standing before God's throne. When we pray, we are standing before God's throne. We have a little more of this coming in another paragraph. Michael, would you read for us, please? 60, paragraph 16. When the church offers praise to God in the liturgy of the hours, it unites itself with that hymn of praise, which is sung in the heavenly places throughout all ages. It also receives a foretaste of the song of praise in heaven, described by John in the book of Revelation. The song that is sung without ceasing before the throne of God and of the land.


Our close union with the church in heaven is given effective voice when we rejoice together and celebrate the praise of God's glory. When all who have been redeemed in the blood of Christ from every tribe and tongue and people and nation have been gathered into one church, glorified the one and triumphant God in one canticle of praise. In the liturgy of the hours, we proclaim this faith. We express and nourish this hope. We share in some degree the joy of everlasting praise and of that day which knows no city. So, this sums up much better than I could, except I can add the enthusiasm, this whole idea of joining in the prayer that's going on in heaven. When we pray the liturgy of the hours,


we are joining that unceasing prayer. When we pray the liturgy of the hours, we are in close union with the church in heaven. And we're also united with all the saints that have gone before us, all the angels, and all those who will be there. It's entering into this eschatological moment. The next paragraph, David, could you read? Besides. Besides the praise of God, the church in the liturgy of the hours expresses the prayers and desires of all the Christian faithful. Indeed, it prays to Christ, and through him, to the Father, for the salvation of the whole world. The voice of the church is not just its own. It is also the voice of Christ, since its prayers are offered in the name of Christ. And so the church continues to offer the prayer and petition which Christ poured out in the days of his earthly life, and which have, therefore, a true maternal function


in bringing souls to Christ, not only by charity, for example, in words of penance, but also prayer. So there's four things I'm seeing in there, too, that I like. When we pray, we are expressing the desires of all the faithful. When we pray, we are the whole church and bringing with us, then, the needs of the whole world for the salvation of the whole world. The second thing, which we just talked about, the voice of the church is not just its own. It's the voice of Christ, since his prayers are offered in the name of Christ. The third thing, there's a whole other image being put in there, too, which have, therefore, a true maternal function. This is our job as a church to bring the voice of the church as mother is to care for the world. And the last thing, not only by charity, we bring souls to Christ, not only by charity,


not only by good examples, not only by penance, but through prayer. We won't look at those next two paragraphs for a minute yet. So then, these, to me, are the primary themes of the divine office. That is, that it's, first of all, it's the prayer of Christ, not only to Christ, but the prayer of Christ as intercessor to the Father. It's the prayer of the church, Christ's prayer continued by the church as priest, as bride, as mother. And it is also the prayer in the spirit. It's that spirit that's planted in us that enables all these things to happen and enables us to do all these things. Now, what we just read about the church, then, I want to specifically think of it in terms of monks. How much, therefore, more so for us as monks. Everything I said about church, then,


we could take the word church out and put the word monks in. Constant and persevering prayer belong to the very essence of what it means to be a monk. Constant and persevering prayer are the very heart of what it means to be a monk, to pray constantly, to pray perseveringly in praise and in petition. This is what we are meant to do. We are a priestly people. And two, we are a community. And there's also no better way for us to express ourselves as a community, and there's no better way than in prayer. And there's no better way for us to pray than in community, and no better way to do that in community than with the prayer of the church. So even we, in the hermit tradition, give a certain pride of place to this common prayer, especially the prayer of this first category of the liturgy, the sacraments,


the liturgy of the hours. Even the Carthusians, who exercise a ton more solitude than we do, still pray together twice a day at the office. In our commodities tradition, this has always been the case, at least in practice, that we give pride of place to these two hours. They do three hours together, the Carthusians, as do we then. We add, of course, to that this hour of vigils in the early morning, which we'll see as it really comes up from a very specifically monastic background. Unfortunately, the prayer of the liturgy of the hours that most people know misses a lot of this. The two things that quite often in general practice it misses is that, A, it's not a private thing, and B, that it belongs to the whole church. What happened in the actual practice of the liturgy of the hours is it, from its history, from its roots, a thousand years later,


became private and clericalized. So this is why I'm trying to make such a big point of it. This breviary was a rather late development, 13th, 14th century, to do this. From the beginning, these liturgy of hours were things meant to be done in common, and not just by priests and religious, but meant to be the prayer of the whole faithful. This is the big push of Vatican II. It hasn't necessarily succeeded yet in bringing this about. Another theme, then, of the liturgy of the hours we'll go through rather quickly. This liturgy is dialogical in nature, as all of our liturgies are. But let's specifically think of the dialogue that goes on in the liturgy of the hours, just in a material and physical way. Some of the elements of the hours are addressed to God.


But many of the elements are also God addressing us. So, we respond to God's call by praise. We respond by thanksgiving. We respond by petition. So the readings would be seen as God's call to us. But there's an interesting point here we're gonna get to this when we talk about the Egyptian monks. Is the psalmody God's call to us, or is it our answer to God's call? In the monastic and the cathedral tradition, there's two different approaches to that. But all of our liturgies are meant to somehow embody, to dramatize this whole dialectic that's going on in the relationship between God and ourselves. God calls, we respond. A reading is read, a response is sung. We are called together, we praise. God answers with a word, we praise. But this is only meant to be a symbol


of the whole interaction between God and ourselves. And we could say that the whole Liturgy of the Hours and all of our liturgies are somehow about the paschal mystery of Christ, about the dying, the rising. But we have to remember that the paschal mystery, the life, death, resurrection, ascension of Christ is not a static thing. It didn't just happen once and for all and inaugurate this new salvation that's all over. The paschal mystery of Christ is this ongoing thing because the Spirit is planted in us. So the Liturgy of the Hours is an enactment of this thing that's going on in each individual also of this paschal mystery. So it's the words of the Spirit at work in our own lives. Here's where I specifically want to talk about the cathedral and the monastic traditions. And again, it may seem a quibbling thing and it may never occur to you again, but there's two different strains of practice coming out of how to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours. One out of what we call the cathedral tradition, one out of what we call the monastic tradition, obviously.


Cathedral meaning the parochial elements, the monastic, of course, meaning communities of cloistered men and women. I'm putting this just to plant this little seed of doubt in your mind so that you can hear this when it comes up a little bit later. It tends to be that in the cathedral tradition, the emphasis is more on worship. The emphasis is more on us calling out to God in intercession and in praise. So the cathedral approach to psalmody is that we sing the psalms to God, that the psalms actually become our prayers. The monastic tradition tends to be one more of listening, tends to be one more of our being receptive to God's call. So in the monastic tradition, the psalms start out not as us singing to God,


but as the Word of God being proclaimed. We'll review some of the practices, but what I'm pointing to is vigils. Notice how in vigils we have that one psalm that's read to us, read for us, recited for us. So in some circles, the psalms were not considered to be actually prayers. They were considered to be like readings read to us, and then we respond with prayer. In a sense, these two forms coalesced right around the time of Saint Benedict, the urban cathedral tradition and the monastic tradition. So you don't see the difference so distinctly when you look through the books, but definitely in practice. And again, many of these elements lost their vitality because of what happened to the office over history


when it became so clericalized and privatized. And it came to be something said by priests alone in private. Now, when people pray the office alone, that whole element of dialogue even gets lost in the incarnation of it, in the realization of it. We'll trace some of that too, how the office came to be seen more as a duty than as a privilege, and how the bravery developed for religious on the road. But of course, as I said, it was never meant to be the norm. There's always been this communal, biological nature. I think we could end this period with this last two paragraphs then. Richard, could you read from the paragraph that starts with this work? This work belongs specifically, this work in terms of the duty of the office. Go ahead. This work of prayer belongs especially to all who have been called by a special mandate to carry out the liturgy of the hours. To bishops and priests as they pray in virtue of their office for their one people. For their own people, sorry.


And for the whole people of God to offer, to other sacred ministers and also to religious. So the work of prayer belongs especially to this group of people and we're right there as religious. Keep going. Communities, canons, monks, nuns, and other religious which celebrate the liturgy of the hours by rule or according to their constitutions, whether in the common right or in a particular right. Or whole or in part represent in a special way the church of prayer. They are a fuller sign of the church as it continuously praises God with one voice and they fulfill the duty of working above all by prayer to build up and increase the whole mystical body of Christ and for the good of the local churches. This is especially true of those who follow the contemplative life. So what I wanted to pull out of here how this specifically relates to us as Kamal the Lees.


We're considered to be like a little slice of church and in some way when we pray, we're the whole church. What's our duty? Not just to pray the Psalms, not just to sing the Psalms, but also to do so for the whole church. And by doing so, in a sense, we are fulfilling the duty of the whole church for the whole church. It's interesting that they don't just say communities of canons, monks and nuns, but the very last line, this is especially true for those who follow the contemplative life. We could have a tendency to think of ourselves as isolated here, but one of the reasons I appreciate Lawrence's prayers quite often so much is we are not just here for ourselves. We can't be. We are here and when we pray, especially in there, we are praying in the name of the whole church.


We are the mouth of the whole church. We are saying the prayers that the whole church wants to say and may not have time to say in a sense. Do you follow what I'm saying? We are here as representative of the whole church, bringing the needs of all the world to Christ, through Christ, then to the Father. I see myself right at 45 minutes and that appears to be a good break time for me because of this last section. Any questions? Testing. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lord, help us not only to resist temptation, but to bring about works of charity that we may be prepared to renew our baptismal vows


as we celebrate the death and the resurrection of Christ our Savior, and be cleansed from sin and renewed in spirit. We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord. Amen. This means to be the last section of the introduction. We'll see if I do it. Just a quick review of last time. The last thing we ended up on, a thing that I thought was very important, these four dimensions of the liturgical sign. We spent a lot of time talking about sign and symbol. And the four dimensions were this idea, first of all, that every sacramental sign is commemorative of a past saving event, is commemorative of Christ's saving action. And remembering that that is just as present


in the remembering as it was in the original event. So that remembering is very important for us. But it doesn't stop there. It's not a pageant. It's not a drama. There is a present dimension. And the present dimension, I figured, the way Father Bacchagini says it is in two parts. First of all, that it demonstrates present visible realities. And secondly, that it obligates. It's a moral sign that obligates us to something. Now, that second part of it, the moral, the present reality is the power, okay? That it's just as real now in the present as it was in the past. And when we take part in it, we're committing, in Aidan Kavanaugh's words, an act of believing. And by that act of believing, we're committing ourselves morally to a certain way of life, which points toward the future. I see it as a bridge. The third element, the fourth element there is the future,


portending to future glory, prophetic of heavenly glory. And also that part, I like to add in there, we do these things not just because we believe them. I don't give you the sign of peace just because I feel at peace with you. I do it so that I can be at peace with you. We don't just receive because we are one body. We receive so we can be one body. It's portending to this future prophetic glory. That's where we ended up last time. Now, what I'd like to do today is really in three parts. First of all, is to define what exactly we mean by Catholic liturgy. Secondly, to talk about personal prayer and public prayer, the dialogue between the two of them. I don't want to say the tension or the contrast. I want to say the dialogue between the two of them. And then third, to bring it specifically into the monastic,


in our own broad monastic sense, and then in our very particular commodity sense, if we can. If I can get all that done in 45 minutes, you won't have heard a word I said, maybe. So, first of all, when we're talking about the liturgy, the Roman Catholic liturgy, very specifically, we'll just get right to brass tacks. We're talking about the seven sacraments. We're talking about sacramentals, things that surround our sacraments, the prayers and the ceremonies that surround the church, and the prayers and the ceremonies with which the church clothes, the celebrations. And we're also talking about the divine office, they're called canonical hours. So, in the broad sense, that's everything from what we celebrate, plus the addition of all those little hours.


By the way, that's the next section in the liturgy class. We'll be talking about the liturgy of the hours. But, you know, the liturgy, the bravery from which many of us read the prayers, that's the Roman office. That's a canonical office, meaning it's a law. It is an obligation of priests and religious to pray that office. That's considered part of the liturgical life of the church. One thing we'll get into at some point is distinguishing the canonical obligation versus the monastic privilege, what I call it. But that's the church's liturgy. What I want to talk about at this point is distinguishing liturgy from devotion. Now, devotion, if you're from my generation, has a very bad name. Devotion is devotional, and it smacks of saccharine, and it smacks of bad things. But I want to maybe try to get rid of that sense of it


and just think of the word in the broadest, like in a technical sense. And this, again, is right out of the Father, Bible, Gene. I've given you that diagram there on the board. So we distinguish, really, three different levels. 1, 2A, and 2B. And the first level is, in the Latin term, ex opere operato, from that work worked. It's in two different levels of what? Liturgy? Yes, from liturgy to devotion. We're moving in that direction. So we have three different levels, the first level being ex opere operato, from the work that is worked. What falls under that category? Seven sacraments, because we believe those seven sacraments are divinely instituted. Seven sacraments divinely instituted by God. Even if a priest were in a horrible state of sin, were to preside in the Eucharist, confect the Eucharist,


that sacrament would still be there by the power of the sacrament itself, because it's Christ the priest performing that. So ex opere operato, by the work worked itself. The second level, all this falls under ex opere operatus, by the working of the work. But that splits up, too. And first of all, A, things instituted by the Church. I want to open this so I get his exact words. First of all, liturgies, rituals, that have public and official authority, and have been instituted by the Church. Now, what falls into this? The liturgy of the hours. We don't necessarily believe they were divinely instituted to do the liturgy of the hours this way, but what is it? It has public official authority, and it's instituted by the Church.


Right under that, devotions, held by the order of the hierarchy. What falls into this? For example, things the hierarchy recommends. The rosary, stations of the cross, Eucharistic adoration. These are all devotions that are, in a sense, held by the order of the Church. Now, I'll go down one more level. We call this is still the ex opere operatus. This is prayer held by individuals, and that splits up into two categories, too. It's by individuals in the Church acting in a group, private group devotions. Next level down, by individuals acting as individuals, all by themselves. Do you follow that? So, an example for me would be,


B1 would be a prayer meeting, a charismatic prayer meeting. Not something necessarily instituted by the Church, or regulated by the Church, but individuals acting in a group. They felt, but this by themselves. Down there, how many things could fall into that category? B2, as individuals. But, all the way down to B1 there, those are all group, done in a group. But what I want to, the dividing line I want to give you is right here, first of all. It's the first thing I want to talk about. The difference between liturgy and devotions. Devotions, again, in this broadest sense of the word. Strictly speaking, and this is only strictly speaking, technically speaking, it is only Catholic liturgy, it is only Roman Catholic liturgy, if it's in those categories above. Anything outside of that is not,


technically speaking, Catholic liturgy. It's devotion, it could be ritual, it could be worship, but it's not technically liturgy in our language. Do you follow what I'm saying? Anything after that is considered a devotion, because it's not been divinely instituted. We don't believe it's been divinely instituted as the sacraments were, or instituted specifically by the Church. So, the Rosary is not a liturgy in technical language. I gave part of this talk to the Conference of Spiritual Directors under Abbot David down in San Luis Obispo, of course, in their Charismatics, and he took exception to this, because the next thing I said is, a Charismatic prayer meeting is not a liturgy. And he said, well, no, I think a Charismatic prayer meeting is liturgy par excellence. And I said, in the broadest sense, perhaps, but technically speaking, it's not a Catholic liturgy. Technically, both of those things, as the Stations of the Cross,


are considered devotions, by the way, which are encouraged, and to some extent, even regulated. When you read the documents in Sacrosanctum Concilium, you get this idea, the impression, that the hierarchy would like a priest present at all of these things, running them anyway. I was at, I stayed at a parish up in Portland, and sometimes I used to go to early morning Mass, back in Phoenix, and pray the Rosary with the old ladies. There was something very comforting about that, where the priest was there every day, leading the Rosary for them. And I thought, well, here's one prayer that really comes up out of the people, and he was there, which was okay, too, and he was praying with his people, but he led it. He led the whole thing, too, which I thought was interesting. So, there's a couple different implicit hierarchies going on here, one of them being that the highest form of prayer is the prayer that's instituted by God and by the Church. The other hierarchy that's going on here


is that the highest form of prayer is the prayer we do in groups, because notice the individual is way down at the very bottom, so from liturgy to devotion. So, we do consider our prejudice is that liturgical prayer in groups is the highest form of prayer, above individual prayer of any kind. That is our prejudice. We're going to start there. We're not going to end up there, but we're going to start there. At least the most, as the Church says, the most efficacious, this is the prejudice we begin with. Of course, you'll run into this with some monks who will tell you there is no, a monk said to me specifically, there's no such thing as private prayer. Now, did he mean that even when I'm praying alone or praying with the whole Church, or did he mean you shouldn't pray by yourself? I think what he meant is, monks are meant to pray together all the time. Now, we're from a very different tradition than that, aren't we?


So, although, this is Fr. Vargagini, we have said that even in the prayer of a private lay person in the Church, notice the accent there is on private lay person, meaning not a priest. Even in that prayer, it is somehow the Church who prays. Still, for the Church, the actualization of the Church as such, listen to that, the actualization of the Church as such, reaches its maximum of reality and intensity in the liturgical action. A prayer, whatever its structure, whatever its thought content, can never be liturgy unless it is approved as such by the Church, and why the Church here always means hierarchy under the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. For the liturgy always involves the authority of Christ and the Church by a special title that does not belong to any other action,


which implies the exercise of that threefold power, sanctifying, teaching, and governing. So there's, again, two things going on, in groups and instituted by the Church under the hierarchy. Now, there are two sides to this. I'm trying not to take sides on this. I just want to present this as traditional liturgical teaching. On one side of it, you could say, the Church is just wanting to impose hierarchy on us and doesn't give full value to anything to which it doesn't approve of specifically and lead. Looks like that. But let's think of it this way. Let's blow our ecclesiology up a little bit. The hierarchy alone is not the Church, just as the individual person is not the Church, is not the whole Church. The Church is always an indissoluble whole


with Christ as the head, the hierarchy as a human and divine mediating agent, and all the people who are united with Christ in the hierarchy. With one of those elements missing, you don't have Church. All those things are together. With Christ as head, with hierarchy as divine mediating agent, with the faithful. And we could argue for days about restructuring the hierarchy, but however it's laid out, if we had all women priests and cardinals, if we had a popular vote, we would still have some kind of hierarchy. We would still have some kind of a mediating agent. And we believe that it's a divinely instituted thing that God raises up for us, leaders and faithful priests and legislators. The other side of this.


You can see that the Church is pointing to the fact that we are meant to do this together with Christ as the head. We are the body of Christ. Now, this doesn't deny that I am a member of the body of Christ, but to accent, as we always accent in liturgical theology, that we are the body of Christ when two or three are together in my name. And let's also not get too far away from that incredible sentence from Socrosanctum Concilium, Article 7, that I passed out before. What we believe in the Roman Catholic tradition is that, here, I'm going to quote directly for you. Every liturgical celebration is a sacred action surpassing all others. That's just this diagram in a different form.


So, one, two, a. We consider that every liturgical celebration is a sacred action surpassing all others. Why? Because it is an action of Christ, the high priest, and his body. Because that's Christ's action. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy. Not too much wiggle room around that one. But there's more to it. I wanted to take just a short little side trip because we just had the Feast of St. Peter Damian the other day. Bruno's incredible homily on that, besides. Do you know this famous book? Liber Dominus Vobiscum, it's called. The Book of the Lord Be With You. Which was, some people consider, one of the most eloquent defenses of the private mass.


But it's actually, it was even narrower than that. He wasn't defending private spontaneous prayer. He was defending private public prayer, in a sense. So we have this mysterious question. And you just heard when I just read to you from Fr. Bagagini, two sides. He seems to be saying both of them. And I would like to hear him speak on Peter Damian some more. So, on one side, he's saying, in the prayer of a private lay person in the church, it is somehow the whole church who prays. And he's also saying it cannot be said that the individual person is the whole church. It's mysterious. Now, for some of the early hermits in the Romualdian tradition, for whom Peter Damian wrote this at Fonte Avalana, and I'm assuming there is also, this is a presumption of hermit priests,


they themselves had a problem with the practice of reciting public prayers in the church of privates. They themselves had a problem with it. And so he wrote a defense of that. Bruno said something about, I don't know how he said it, but it was something like, it's an eloquent defense of a dubious practice, something like that. Now, the practice itself was, why it's called the Book of the Lord be with you, is he was defending the ability for me to be in myself as a priest saying, the Lord be with you, and also with you. So that's why it's called the Book of Dominus Mobiscum, the Book of the Lord be with you. As dubious as the practice might be, the ecclesiology behind it is not far from what we're talking about. It's really beautiful. I'm gonna read a few quotes. You might know this famous one that we have the calligraphy hanging at the entrance of the bookstore. Some reason that was never made into a card.


The church of Christ is united in all her parts by such a bond of love that her several members form a single body and in each one, the whole church is mystically present. And in each member, the whole church is mystically present. And so, whatever belongs to the whole applies in some measure to the part. So there is no absurdity in one man saying by himself anything which the body of Christ as a whole may utter and in the same way, many may fittingly give voice to that which is properly said by one person. So that's why we as a group can say, Lord, make haste to help me. They perceive that whatever is reverently offered up in God's service by any one member of the church


is sustained by the faith and devotion of the whole body. Since the spirit of Christ, which gives life to the whole body, which is preserved by Christ's head, is one. So there's a whole other side to the issue. There's many ways to view this and I don't propose to be giving any answers, just maybe inspiring more questions and inspiring you to look yourself. But somehow, even when we are by ourselves, we are a we. Even when I am by myself, I am part of the we. All that being said, that is not meant to negate anything I've just said there beforehand. I'm not encouraging the practice of private masses again. Just trying to balance it out. Let's look specifically then at devotions for a little bit. Why I like to talk about this is, many people come in with practices of their own devotions they don't know specifically as monks what they should do with it.


How does that fit into the rest of our life? Now, I always want, you know, one of the big things that's famous for, I have this image in my head of priests ripping rosaries out of people's hands, you know, in 1964 and 65. No, we don't do that anymore. We stand up, we do [...] do. And this wasn't done in a very gentle way, you know. And I remember one monk bragging to me, I finally got my mother to stop praying the rosary. And now she's praying the Liturgy of the Hours instead. I said, that's too bad. Why couldn't she have done them both? Why did you pester her for years to give up a practice that she knew how to do already? The Liturgy of the Hours is wonderful too, but does it have to be either or? So, the church Vatican II did never discourage devotions, but wanted them to be brought in line, A, with good theology, B, with the liturgy, that the liturgy is always the focal point.


Now, we have a whole nother snobbishness going on in monasticism, because we have a tendency to propute. I have this great quote from Thomas Merton on the sign of, from the sign of Jonas. Now, of course, this is written in 1940, no, probably 53 or so. When I was in the hospital in Louisville last month, benediction, rosary, litanies in the chapel with the sisters and nurses made a big impression on me. A sense of the religious vitality in these devotions, which are frowned on as unliturgical. I felt that the Holy Spirit was really there, sensed that this was the church at prayer, even though not liturgy, not official public prayer. He's using all this language that I was just talking about. Seemed to me something of Catholicism was missing at Gethsemane on this account. Yet we can't have all these things. They're not for us monks, except in private, but I would never do without the rosary.


Very interesting. We're watching Dorothy Day the other night too. She was just so faithful to all those devotions that went around. Now, of course, this is Thomas Merton, who's very much centered in the liturgical life. I'm going to use some of his quotes on liturgy coming up also. So we were never meant to do away with devotions. We were only meant to focus. And why do so many devotions grow up? Because the liturgy was so far removed from people in terms of the language and in terms of participation. So this is what naturally grew up. So we had, we should have been, and we should continue to be very gentle about ripping these things out of people's hands. This is what they got instead of having a liturgy that was in their own language and being able to participate in it. So, pastorally speaking, at the same time, I was at the meeting of the Society for Catholic Liturgy


in Detroit this year. Every Dallas gave a talk, and the respondent was this brilliant woman from Baltimore. And she proposed this one line that had me gasping for air for a while. You might not think it's that dramatic. She proposed that perhaps the Novus Ordo, in other words, the Liturgy of Latin too, has about it its own ecosystem. And that perhaps the devotional life before the Novus Ordo doesn't really feed into or grow out of it as well as something else would. And perhaps that new ecosystem hasn't developed yet. But what might that be? What might be the devotion life that feeds into the Novus Ordo and grows out of it? She suggested a Bible study. I right away thought of silent prayer. So she's thinking perhaps the Rosary


doesn't lend itself so well into the liturgy. Perhaps benediction doesn't lend itself so into the liturgy. Perhaps. And maybe the liturgy needs to develop its own ecosystem. But the presumption is that there is prayer preparing us for liturgy, and there is prayer that grows out of liturgy. And they're not opposed to each other, but the liturgy is the summit of these prayers and the source of these prayers, going back to that same line that I harp on all the time. So even for monastics, back to technical language, anything that we do outside of liturgy is technically considered devotion. Now, for me, our silent prayer around the Blessed Sacrament on the altar at night, it fits pretty well into the ecosystem


of our liturgical life. I could think of 3,000 different ways to define it. But very simply, this is our sacred thing. This object in there was the bread of salvation. That is a symbol of our lives that has now become the body of Christ. And we sit in the presence of Christ, and we sit in the presence of us transformed. To me, it's just a beautiful flow. Now, if I sit in the morning in the rotunda, there's nothing on the altar. At noon, there's the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And in the evening, there's the Blessed Sacrament. To me, there's an ecosystem going there of my whole day. But that's a devotion. It's considered a devotion. Sitting in silent prayer on my zafu, facing a blank wall, if I consider that prayer, it's a devotion.


It's also devotional life. Lectio, in a sense, is a devotion. The interesting phenomena in this life, perhaps, that you don't find in many other monastic traditions, is that somehow, sometimes, we prefer our devotion, our cell time, our time in our cell, we prefer that to the liturgy of the church, as if there were a contradiction between the two. And sometimes, we find the liturgy to be a nuisance. It's in our private prayer life. Now, that's what I find a little disturbing. That's something. This is one of the reasons why we're having this class. As if there were a conflict between liturgical and private prayer.


For me, Catholicism, the wonderful thing about it is it's always this both-and. It doesn't ever have to be either-or. Somehow, the marvel of Catholicism is being able to balance this both-and. But it's very important for formation as a religious to realize this, especially as contemplatives, that there is nowhere an explicit conflict between liturgical and private prayer. Both of them form a harmonious unity. Speculation here on my part, that I think is going to be backed up by Thomas Merton. Where this may come from is a seeming tension between the eremitic and the cenobitic, between the hermit life and the communal life. Some of this comes right from there.


It's why I keep stressing from the day I got here, there are no hermits at the liturgy. We'll hear later in this section on the Liturgy of the Hours how the Egyptian monks, for instance, for them, they didn't place a great stress on liturgical prayer, the monks in the desert in the 4th century. Some of them would consider this our real direct line. For the Pacomians, as well as for the hermits, it wasn't the greatest stress. The tension of it seems also to trace itself to the old tension then between the active life and the contemplative life. Even in those days in the 4th century, Evagris, you'll read this in Evagris, liturgy by its nature is somehow seen as active


and private prayer is somehow seen as contemplative. Now, this wouldn't be a Cistercian understanding, but this could be definitely an Egyptian understanding. This could definitely be at the roots of the monastic tradition. We'd want to be active. So liturgy is somehow seen as active and, God forbid, cenobitic, whereas contemplative prayer is contemplative. This, of course, for our own life, this is where the rubber hits the road, is that in that tension of us between Kamaldolese, I shouldn't say tension, I said it, in the dialogue of us being Kamaldolese Benedictine, but we think back to Romule's own model and our tradition all the way through. And the prior assures me, in my own work with liturgy, that this is where we're very firmly


in the Benedictine tradition with our love for the liturgical life and, indeed, the fact that the liturgical life is the most important thing we do as a community. As a community. Now I'm going to read from Merton, who is obviously a great defender of the eremitic life. Hence, this is that idea of active versus contemplative. Hence, though liturgical prayer is by its nature more active, it may at any moment be illuminated by contemplative grace. And though private prayer may, by its nature, tend to a greater personal spontaneity, it may also, accidentally, be more arid and laborious than communal worship, which, in any case, is particularly blessed by the presence of Christ in the mystery of a worshiping community.


He's insisting that there is no tension there. There's no conflict. The doctrine of early Benedictine centuries shows us, then, that the opposition between official public prayer and spontaneous personal prayer is largely a modern fiction. So, it's interesting, Merton traces this back to the Devotio Moderna of the Counter-Reformation. This is something I'd love for somebody to do, if not myself, someday, is to figure out, real specifically, where we lost the apophatic tradition in the West. And somehow this is tied up to me. But the Devotio Moderna, if you know anything about it, and I know just enough to be dangerous, to put it simply, put a little higher stock in affective tie-in.


You know, if you were to read Thomas Akempis, for example. Now, this had its effect on monastic life, too. And the fervent monks of the Counter-Reformation era were assumed that they would do more prayer than just recite the office. But this is an age when blank mind is not trusted, okay? So, this is the age of discursive meditation. This is the age of Ignatius. This is the age of mental prayer. So, what do you do? You add lots of elements to the monastic prayer. You add lots of things. There's also an era in the church about the 11th century, I think, when even the pauses in the Liturgy of the Hours are getting added on. This is by a monk, Ansgar, because he didn't think people could handle the silence. So, he's adding more little things. He calls them spiritual flowers or something like that. Well, unfortunately, what's going to happen is that these subjective elements


that the monks are super-adding on to the liturgy are going to come to be seen as really more important and valuable than the objective liturgical worship itself. That this affective piety eventually takes over the liturgy. And this is not what we were heading toward in the Counter-Reformation. We were trying to bolster the Roman liturgy. What happens in practical spirituality is the affective piety takes over and the liturgy gets lost. So, the liturgical prayer eventually comes to be seen as an obstacle to the better and more fervent prayer that you do by yourself. Now, this thinking has a lot more in common with us than we realize. This is not just an old conservative thing to think that what I can make up is better than what the church can give me. But this is where, like, liberal and conservative make the same mistake sometimes. What I do by myself, my spontaneous prayer,


what I've made up is better than the objective worship. It also has a lot in common, I think, with the Roman days here. And a lot in the monastic tradition where it was much more important to pray the rosary and to do the devotions necessarily than to concentrate on the liturgical life of the church. One of the things Father Pryor was insistent on here and Father Bruno before him is that the liturgical life of the church should go on here and that be the basis of our spirituality. Why? Well, first of all, it's rooted in Scripture. Second of all, it's rooted in the church. It just, it brings us together. It safeguards us against flying off on either side. I could get carried away, I'm trying to stay on here. For me, then, what I'm trying to say is it's exactly that objective element of the liturgy that is the safeguard for our personal prayer lives,


but also the springboard of our personal prayer lives. The early Christian tradition, and really the spiritual writers even up to the Middle Ages, did not know this conflict between public and private prayer or between liturgy and contemplation. As Thomas Merton said, this is a modern problem and a modern fiction. Here's another quote from, this is Climate of Monastic Prayer, I was quoting from, liturgy by its very nature tends to prolong itself in individual contemplative prayer. It, liturgy prolongs itself in individual contemplative prayer. And mental prayer, contemplative prayer, in turn, disposes us for and seeks fulfillment in liturgical worship. I'm very impressed by that statement. Our personal prayer disposes us for liturgical worship


and seeks fulfillment in liturgical worship. Now, this is traced back to the classic monastic belief, really of Cashin and Benedict, both, that secret and contemplative prayer should be inspired by liturgical prayer and also be the normal crown of that prayer. Much is made out of just one little chapter 20 in the RB, you'll get to it, I'm sure, with Bruno. But do you remember in chapter 52, the rule, on the oratory, after the work of God, all should leave the oratory in complete silence and with reverence for God, so that the brother who may wish to pray alone will not be disturbed by the insensitivity of another. Moreover, if at other times someone chooses to pray privately, he may simply go in and pray, not in a loud voice, with tears and heartfelt devotion. And in chapter 20 on the reverence of prayer, which is,


we must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words. Prayer should therefore be short and pure, unless it is prolonged at the inspiration of divine grace. That little section is right at the end of these 12 chapters on the Opus Dei. I always wonder if chapter 56 there got misplaced, if it should have been, or 52 got misplaced, it should have been earlier. After the work of God, after Opus Dei, go out of chapel so that those who wish to stay can stay. So there's an assumption in the RB that liturgical prayer is resolving itself in personal prayer and not prayer with many words, some kind of a secret supplication kind of prayer. It is in the Benedictine tradition too. Pace those who say it isn't. At the same time,


point out quickly that for Benedict, as for the early monks, liturgy is not seen as the highest form of contemplation. Liturgy itself isn't. For Evagrius, I mentioned already once, psalmody is the work of the act of life and the fulfillment of the act of or liturgical prayer, the height of contemplative prayer is in what? It is in wordless prayer, in the unity of the heart. And Evagrius even goes on and describes this prayer as prayer without images or words. Even sometimes beyond thought that flows from active prayer is the normal fulfillment of the act of liturgical prayer. But assuming that the liturgical prayer is there.


Now, Evagrius is the great teacher of John Cashion. For Cashion writes about what he calls the oratio ignita, fiery prayer. So for Cashion, liturgical prayer bursts forth in this wordless, ineffable exaltation of the mind and heart. I've got a copy of the new translation. This is from the ninth conference on prayer, chapter 25. It leads them to a higher, it leads them by a higher stage to that fiery and indeed more properly speaking wordless prayer, which is known and experienced by very few. This transcends all human understanding and is distinguished not, I would say, by a sound or a movement of the tongue or a pronunciation of the words.


Rather, the mind is aware of it when it is illuminated by an infusion of heavenly light from it and not by a narrow human word. And once the understanding has been suspended, it gushes forth as from a most abundant fountain and it speaks ineffably to God, producing more in that very brief moment than the self-conscious mind is able to articulate easily or to reflect upon. Now, the interesting thing about that little quote there is it comes at the end of his section on the Our Father. Because for Cassian, the Our Father leads to this higher stage of prayer. The official liturgical prayer leads to this higher prayer. The Lord's Prayer leads all who practice it well


to this higher state and brings them at last to the prayer of faith. Fire, which is known and experienced by few and which is an expressively higher degree of prayer. So, my point being, yet again, the distinction between public and private prayer or between active and contemplative prayer really, in a sense, is a fiction. In our own terms, and I keep using it over and over again, liturgy as the source and the summit. For all of these things. So, our private prayer, the summit of our private prayer is in liturgical action. And the liturgical action then becomes the source of our prayer. That's it. And we'll turn the tape off so we can speak freely.