All my heart goes out to thee;
my God, I trust in thee, do not belie my trust.
Let not my enemies boast of my downfall.
Who ever waited for thy help,
and waited in vain?
V. Lord, let me know thy ways,
teach me thy paths (Ps 24:1-3).
A Going Forth
Ad te levavi animam meam; Deus meus, in te confido (Ps 24:1). On this First Sunday of Advent, the Church intones Psalm 24. She clothes it in a melody that carries the text, and us with it, upward and outward into the mystery of the God who comes. This is more than the Introit of today’s Mass; it is the chant by which the Church crosses the threshold into Advent; it is the chant by which the Church begins a new Year of Grace. Ronald Knox translates it for us: “All my heart goes out to thee, my God, I trust in thee, do not belie my trust” (Ps 24:1-3). How are we to hear this Advent psalm? How are we to sing it? How are we to repeat it and hold it [...]
In this illuminated miniature Saint Bernard is intoning the Introit of the First Sunday of Advent, Ad te levavi animam meam. He is lifting up his soul (and the new liturgical year) in the form of a newborn baby! God the Father, surrounded by angelic hosts, thrones in glory above him. To his left a choir of monks sings the Introit that Bernard has intoned.
All My Heart Goes Out To Thee
There is movement in today’s liturgy: a great sweep upward and away from all that holds us bound and confined “in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Lk 1:79). This is the ecstatic movement of prayer, of all right worship: out of self, upward, and into “the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19). The Introit sets the tone, not only for this the first Mass of Advent, but also for the rest of the Advent season and, indeed, for the whole new liturgical year. “To Thee, my God, I lift up my soul” (Ps 24:1) or, as Ronald Knox translated it, “All my heart goes out to Thee, my God.”
In less than four weeks time we will be singing the opening antiphon of First Vespers of Christmas: Rex pacificus magnificatus est, cujus vultum desiderat universa terra, “The King of Peace is magnified, whose countenance the whole world desires [to see]“. Christ is the King of Peace. At His birth the choirs of angels filled the skies over Bethlehem, singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will” (Luke 2:14). The angels knew that the Son of God had come to establish peace between heaven and earth. Whereas Adam’s sin had set earth against heaven, and caused heaven to weep over the sin that devastated the face of the earth, Christ, by His coming, fulfilled the psalmist’s prophecy that earth would be be inhabited by peacemakers, and that He would give peace to all who would welcome Him into their hearts and allow Him to rule over them as King. “The meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight in abundance of peace” (Psalm 36:11).
Peace Through the Blood [...]
On Wednesday, 13 November, Dom Benedict Maria Andersen was mystically configured to Christ the Servant (Διακονος, “Deacon”) of the Father at the hands of His Lordship Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath. The Ordination of Dom Andersen was witnessed by his Father Prior, his brothers in the community, the clergy of the Diocese of Meath, and numerous friends of the Priory.
The beautiful Ordination Liturgy (celebrated in Latin according to the modern Pontifical) took place at St Mary’s Church, Drogheda on the Feast of All Saints of the Benedictine Order. I concelebrated Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form with His Lordship and with Fr John Hogan, one of the stalwart friends of our monastery. The music (including Palestrina’s Missa Brevis) was rendered with great beauty and skill by the Lassus Scholars of Dublin, under the direction of Ite O’Donovan. A festive reception was held following the Ordination Mass at Silverstream Priory.
Dom Benedict wishes to express his thanks, from the bottom of his heart, to all who helped [...]
Today’s Saint Silvester Guzzolini (1177-1267), founder of the so-called Blue Benedictines (from the colour of their habit) or Silvestrines, exemplifies the monastic spirituality of the thirteenth century. Nourished by the Word of God, Silvester filled the gaze of his soul with the mysteries of the Passion of Our Lord, contemplating His wounds and desiring nothing so much as to follow Him along the way of the Cross. So strong was this desire of his that on one occasion he was mystically transported to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. As one might expect, Silvester’s devotion to the Passion of Jesus found its highest expression in the ardent love he had for the Most Holy Eucharist. This is reflected in the beautiful Secret for his feast:
With all reverence, O Lord,
do we offer these gifts to Thy divine Majesty:
praying that by the devout preparation of our minds
and purity of heart,
we may be made imitators of the blessed Silvester,
and so deserve to receive in a holy manner