Sunday Lauds begin with Psalm 66, said straight through without a refrain. Then Psalm 150 follows with an “Alleluia” refrain. Lauds continues with Psalms 117 and 62, the Canticle of the Three Young Men, Psalms 148 through 150, a reading from the Apocalypse recited by heart and followed by a responsory, an Ambrosian hymn, a versicle, the Gospel canticle, the litany, and the conclusion.
Benedict invites us, both personally and communally, to recite scripture by heart. This is more than just remembering words without reference to their written form. Re-membered words re-member attention into heart. This helps the heart become where the whole of our humanity can live, and where we can recognise, in and with divine love, who we have always been. Scripture spoken from the heart is scripture soaking in the heart; this soaking transforms the personality.
The mantra in the heart is also a re-membering of attention with heart. In its own way, a regular meditation practice prepares the heart to receive scripture during prayer. The mantra opens the heart and an open heart re-members the words of scripture more readily.
In a similar way, the psalms and other scripture are a preparation for meditation because they, like the mantra, draw attention away from the distractions of thought and fantasy. This is especially the case when we do not rely on the written word during prayer. The repetition of communal prayer plants the words of scripture in our hearts, drawing attention deeper, helping us to be more receptive to the mantra.
As we recite, re-member, scripture and the mantra with heart, it becomes easier to see that life itself is made to be lived with heart. This is a seeing that is pure experience. In this seeing, words and thinking recede to their proper place and the intuitive spontaneity of being ourselves in love (without fear) moves into focus. Life by heart is living God with us and us with God, seeing heaven on earth, and allowing our humanity to be a part of that new creation coming in Christ.
I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, ‘Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make his home among them; they will be his people, and he will be their God, God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone. Then the One sitting on the throne spoke. ‘Look, I am making the whole of creation new. Write this, “What I am saying is trustworthy and will come true.” (Rev 21:2-5, NJB)