The sound of heaven on earth

When you come into my presence, pour out your heart before me: all that you suffer, all that you question, all that you fear, give all to me. This you do already when you pray the psalms. It was through the psalms that I poured out my own Heart to my Father, and in the prayers of David and the holy ones of Israel my Father heard my voice and inclined to listen to the prayer of my Heart.

So does my Father now when my Bride, the Church, pours out her heart before me in the Divine Office. I receive the prayer of my Church expressed in the age–old psalmody, already so familiar and so dear to my soul, and unite the prayer of the Church to my own ceaseless pleading before the Father in the heavenly sanctuary. It is this that confers upon the psalmody of my Church such impetratory power, such vehemence, such a resonance in the sanctuary of heaven.

When you chant the psalms you are giving me all that you hold in your heart and all that makes up your life. There is no human experience, no suffering — not even the evil that is sin — that cannot be tendered to me by means of the psalmody of my Church.

For this reason it is a tragic loss and an immense woe when the psalmody of my Church falls silent in a land or in a diocese. It is a silence of death, like that of the netherworld in which no one intones a song of praise, a lament of repentance, a hymn of thanksgiving, an ode of love.

My Church will be restored when the sound of her praises —the expression of my own praise of the Father in heaven — begins once again to echo from place to place, filling the nations of the earth with the sacrificium laudis, the sacrifice of praise.

I came from heaven to bring to earth the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, wherein I, the Word, am the Priest and Great Doxologiser of my Father, so that my Church might give voice on earth to the mystery of my life from all eternity facing the Father and glorifying Him, and offering myself to Him in a ceaseless oblation of love to His Love.

Let no one doubt of the singular efficacy of the Divine Office. When the Office ceases in a given place, there the Church has become mute; she has lost her voice; she no longer has the means by which I want her to pour out her heart in my presence. When the Church no longer intercedes, praises, thanks my Father, and weeps over sin, an icy death–like silence begins to spread, not the silence of adoring love, but the silence of a tomb filled with corruption.

The renewal of the Church among the nations is intrinsically related to the restoration of the public celebration of my praises: to the restoration of the Divine Office, however humbly and simply, in all those places where it has fallen into abeyance. My bishops have the duty of providing for the solemn public worship of the churches in their care. For this reason, my Church, united in Council, was right to teach and uphold that a church in which there is no form of contemplative monastic life remains underdeveloped, stunted in the growth that I will to give her.

I promise to bless every nation and every church in which the solemn celebration of the prayer of my Bride, the Church, is restored to honour and fostered. Therein my people, especially my people caught in the throes of suffering and in the shadow of death, will find a voice to express all that they bear within their hearts, and therein they will find a wellspring of joy: the sound on earth of the liturgy I ceaselessly celebrate in the courts of heaven.

(From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest)