God So Loved the World

God So Loved the World
from the “Crucifixion” by John Stainer

John 3:16-17


Mandatum Novum

I wanted to share this very recent setting by Luke Mayernik of the text for the Mandatum (foot washing) on Holy Thursday. We will be using it tonight – it is great because it can be fairly short or quite long (over 7 minutes!) if needed. Also, it is just a great choral setting!

“I give you a new commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you.”

De Profundis – Out of the Depths

This piece is on my mind at lot this week as we are singing this for a High Mass at the Basilica of Holy Hill next Thursday…enjoy the awesome Gloria Patri at the end!

Psalm 130 is a beautiful Psalm text for Lent. In my small-group yesterday, we talked a lot about the psalms, especially how great they are to pray with. Psalms make great scripture study!

Here is the text of Psalm 130:

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:
Speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Gloria Patri…

From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?
For with you is forgiveness; and because of your law, I stood by you, Lord.
My soul has stood by his word.
My soul has hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch, even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Glory to the Father…

“Tradition and the future”

I saw this excellent video posted over at the Chant Café. In it, Fr. Joseph Kramer, FSSP. provides great insight about young people and the liturgical tradition of the Church.

More and more often in my own experience, I see and hear of young people excited about the liturgical tradition of the Church, especially the tradition of Sacred Music. Young couples want to hear chant and organ at their weddings, and kids think that music that has survived many centuries is “cool.” Strong Catholic identity, especially in  liturgical expression, is attractive.

The attractive power of the truth?

The Attractive Power of the Truth

How do we define beauty?

Is it “in the eye of the beholder” as many would say? How’s that for an individualist post-modern “nothing-can-be-defined” position! What about a concrete, objective definition? A great way to think of beauty, for Catholics, is that beauty is the attractive power of the truth.

Some thoughts on this from a recent experience:

In the last few weeks, I have met several people who have been totally turned off by the quest of certain people in charge of certain parishes to make the Mass “cool”. They see it as plain as day: we can never keep up with the newest, most entertaining thing. If we are trying to do that, we are totally losing the point. In terms of music, it mostly ends up sounding dated and poorly put together. One person that I met recently left the Church because of bad music after her teenage years – this was a highly trained musician who had been playing organ for Mass for many years! One day she was asked to turn it off and play basically what she recalls as a “campfire tune” instead. With multiple degrees in music, she is highly educated in the arts, and certainly knows the history of Western music, especially how intertwined it is with the tradition of sacred music in the Church. She knows that the Catholic Church has incredibly beautiful music in its tradition and today, but she can’t find it. And she’s not alone among skilled musicians – she knows several others in similar situations. She thinks she would never have left the Church if chant and polyphony had continued to be the staples of the common liturgical music diet.

In a parting comment, she said that the Church is refusing to use its most powerful tool for evangelization: beauty. Especially beautiful music.

How do we know what music is beautiful?

More soon.

A Chant Diary

A Chant Diary

This week, I am privileged to be able to spend time studying individually with Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. I plan on posting many of my thoughts and some of the things I learn as I delve much more deeply into the study of chant.

I have had two sessions so far with Fr. Columba. I have been blown away – what an amazing mind. I am still trying to sort out all of my thoughts – the things he says make so much sense, and yet they are paradigm shifting in many ways.

One big problem I see is that we actually really can’t even speak English well. How are we supposed to sing it (much less another language)… We must recover the art of the public speaker, it seems. We must be able to READ well. The lector is not just whoever feels like getting up and reading something; this is an ecclesiastical office, proclaiming the Word of God. It is vitally important as cantors (and choir directors, etc) that we be able to proclaim well before even putting notes to the words.

This is one thing I have been thinking about quite a bit since my first session yesterday, and I will change in what I am doing right away (both for myself and for the singers I work with).

I have many more thoughts about all of this, like that Benedictine monks are really cool. I am off to another session now, more later.

Please pray for me while I am here, as I will for you.