Saint Brother André, the man who knows how to whisper in God’s ear
“The Good Lord is not far from you. He is close to you. Every time you say Our Father, God’s ear is next to your lips”, Saint Brother André often said.
These few words express the essence of the spiritual and mystical experience of the little lay brother, porter of the Collège Notre-Dame, friend of Saint Joseph and founder of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal.
His continuous meditation on the passion of Christ allowed him to experience and live, in an exceptional way, the mystery of the disconcerting closeness of God, our Father, through his privileged relationship with Saint Joseph.
For Brother André, the reality of God’s presence and care does not depend on the decision or choice of human beings. Whether we like it or not, God is present in his creation and his solicitude extends to all beings, without exception. However, to realize this presence existentially, we must experience it in the recognition that he is indeed “Our Father”, in Jesus Christ and in the Spirit.
Recognizing ourselves as God’s daughter or son and learning to live and deepen our filial relationship with him leads to the awareness of this amazing and confusing closeness of God to the point where we can feel this presence in a physical way, of someone who is there, who hears us, who understands us and who supports us.
To feel God’s ear pressed to our mouth is the ultimate proof of the physical proximity of someone for whom our word matters.
In other words, if God can put his ear to our mouth, it is because we also know that we can confide in him. This shows the importance that God gives to his children. Indeed, through this expression, Saint Brother André expresses his gratitude to God who takes care of us as the apple of his eye.
God’s concern is such that he does not want to let escape any of our words that we address to him, because between our mouth and his ear, there is no space that can let anything escape. Between our mouth and his ear, there is such a tight seal that no one else can enter our confidence. Nothing can hack into what we say to God.
But on the other hand, you have to know that Brother André’s heart is also glued to God’s mouth to absorb all his words and live by them. And he learned this from Saint Joseph, his great friend. This is why Brother André continues to invite us to go up to Saint Joseph’s Oratory, to “go to Saint Joseph’s” in order to learn to listen to the Lord who is always speaking to our hearts, and who always sticks his ear to our mouths each time we say “Our Father”. Indeed, “the Oratory is a place where one touches the supernatural, where one breathes grace, where people’s faith is laid bare. It is the oasis where all of us, poor wanderers on our way to eternity, come to take a spiritual bath, to gather strength for the battles of life. (Henri-Paul Bergeron, CSC, Le frère André CSC, Éditions Fides, Montreal 1947, p. 85).