The Church stands and falls with the Liturgy. When the adoration of the divine Trinity declines, when the faith no longer appears in its fullness in the Liturgy of the Church, when man’s words, his thoughts, his intentions are suffocating him, then faith will have lost the place where it is expressed and where it dwells. For that reason, the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the center of any renewal of the Church whatever.

These words, written by Pope Emeritus Benedict, while he was still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, resonate deeply in the monastic soul. By virtue of his vows, and the very rhythm of his life, the Benedictine monk is the man of the Liturgy, for the Liturgy.

The Holy Liturgy, the “Work of God,” as Saint Benedict calls it, is the monk’s daily bread. It forms the center of his life with its two components, the Holy Sacrifice of Mass or Eucharist and the Divine Office or Liturgy of Hours. At Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey we celebrate Holy Mass and the Hours in Latin, which is the proper language of the Roman rite and especially appropriate for those who celebrate each day the Divine Office in choir.

In keeping with the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of July 7, 2007, we habitually celebrate Holy Mass according to what Pope Benedict termed the Extraordinary Form, which corresponds with the liturgical norms of the typical edition of the Roman Missal of 1962. We have found that this older form of the Roman rite fits very well with our monastic life based on the Rule of Saint Benedict.

Dom Paul Delatte, third abbot of Solesmes beautifully sums up the monastic liturgical ideal, in his Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict:

In the Liturgy, the Holy Spirit has achieved the concentration, externalization, and diffusion throughout the whole Body of Christ of the unchangeable fullness of the act of redemption, all the spiritual riches of the Church in the past, in the present, and in eternity. And as the bloody sacrifice, and the entry of our High Priest into the sanctuary of heaven, mark the culmination of His work, so the liturgy has its center in the Mass, the “Eucharist.” The Divine office and the Hours are but the splendid accompaniment, the preparation for or radiance from the Eucharist.

 

Watch the Living the Liturgy Documentary