What is here the dowry of the Bride? It is her miseries, her weakness, but likewise her heart to love and her lips with which to praise … in the name of Christ and with Him, she offers the adoration and praise of all her children to the Father. This praise is the voice of the Bride, the voice that delights the Bridegroom. It is the canticles sung by the Church in company with Christ, and that is why, when we join in it in faith and confidence, it is so pleasing to Christ Jesus. In God’s sight it surpasses in value all our private prayers.
—Blessed Columba Marmion
The Mass is the center of our spirituality and the mystical focal point of the day.
We are privileged to daily partake of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (1962) in accord with Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, the liturgy which the Church has jealously guarded for centuries. Bound up inextricably within this ancient liturgy, is a great reverence for the sacredness of the holy priesthood, which is at the heart of our charism. The fitting worship rendered to Almighty God in the Holy Sacrifice spills over into the chanting of the Divine Office.
The Benedictine stands in a particular way as a figure of the Church, the Bride of Christ. She can do so no more fully than when she daily chants the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church.
And so we gather for the principal “work of God” as St. Benedict calls it, eight times a day. The entire 150 psalms with their hymns are chanted throughout the week as originally prescribed by the Rule.
For this end also, we use the 1962 Monastic Office, with its traditional Gregorian Chant, in Latin, the official language of the Church, and continue the rich legacy of our predecessors.
Since the monastery is the “vestibule of heaven,” we anticipate the life of praise to come through the Divine Office. The verses of the psalms are sung antiphonally, (back and forth from one side of the oratory to the other) to imitate the choirs of angels in heaven, in their incessant praise.
We “sing our lives and live our song,” as Mere Genevieve Gallois wrote, so the Divine Office, in turn, spills over into a spirit of recollected prayer throughout the day, nourished also by silence, solitude and Lectio Divina.