Discussing his new book—La Force du silence (The Strength of Silence)—the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said that the “truly urgent thing” is “to rediscover the sense of God. Now the Father allows Himself to be approached only in silence.”
“We get lost in struggles for influence, in conflicts between persons, in a narcissistic, vain activism,” he continued. “We swell with pride and pretention, prisoners of a will to power. For the sake of titles, professional or ecclesiastical duties, we accept vile compromises. But all that passes away like smoke.”
Renewing his invitation to priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem, accompanied by catechesis, he said:
This way of doing things promotes silence. Indeed, there is less of a temptation for the celebrant to monopolize the conversation. Facing the Lord, he is less tempted to become a professor who gives a lecture during the whole Mass, reducing the altar to a podium centered no longer on the cross but on the microphone!
The priest must remember that he is only an instrument in Christ’s hands, that he must be quiet in order to make room for the Word, and that our human words are ridiculous compared to the one Eternal Word.
I am convinced that priests do not use the same tone of voice when they celebrate facing East. We are so much less tempted to take ourselves for actors, as Pope Francis says!