Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A respond for All Saints': Laudem dicite Deo (John Sheppard (c1515-1558))

From the YouTube page:
The English Tudor period composer John Sheppard's "Laudem dicite Deo" was composed as a respond to be given at First Vespers on All Saints' Day

Text: Latin

Laudem dicite Deo nostro omnes sancti eius,
et qui timetis Deum, pusilli et magni:
quoniam regnavit Dominus Deus noster omnipotens.
Gaudeamus et exsultemus et demus gloriam ei.
Genus electum, gens sancta, populus acquisitionis,
memores memorum laudate Deum.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

English Translation

Speak praise to our God, all you who are his saints,
and all who fear God, both small and great:
for our Lord God almighty is king.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory.
O chosen race, O holy nation, O you people who are his,
be mindful of God and praise him.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The text comes from Revelation 19 and 1 Peter 2:9.

The first part of the respond, Laudem dicite Deo nostro omnes sancti eius, et qui timetis Deum, pusilli et magni: quoniam regnavit Dominus Deus noster omnipotens. Gaudeamus et exsultemus et demus gloriam ei, existed as an antiphon used on All Saints' Day in various places (and in the Antiphonale Sarisburiense); see the Cantus database for a listing of some of these. Here's an image of the chant score there - from, it says, Augsburg in around 1580:

This is coded "V2" at that site; I'm assuming this is 2nd Vespers - but I've found this antiphon used at Lauds and Matins as well, in other sources.

I'm interested in learning more about what Sheppard was up to in writing this as a Vespers "respond." It's incredibly beautiful - Sheppard is quite amazing, in my opinion! - but would like to understand how it was used; responsories are sometimes used today as processionals.  He lived, of course, during the time of the English Reformation and the writing of the first Book of Common Prayer.

There's quite a bit more about Sheppard here at this Hyperion Records page.  His works, apparently, had been lost for a long time, and there's not much known about him even now, except that he was "appointed informator choristarum at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1543, and that he was a Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal in the 1550s."  The article also notes that "With the exception of a handful of works for the Anglican church, Sheppard’s surviving output consists entirely of Latin music for the Sarum rite: Masses, responds and hymns."

I will try to find out more about this piece.  Meantime, enjoy it for All Saints' Day - in my view, one of the greatest feasts of the year.

Here's The All Saints Day Office.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

William Harris: "Holy is the True Light"

As All Saints' Day approaches....

Holy is the True Light,
and passing wonderful,
lending radiance to them that endured
in the heat of the conflict.
From Christ they inherit
a home of unfading splendour,
wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore.

Words from the Salisbury Diurnal by G.H. Palmer

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Anthony Griffith on the Fool’s Fortune"

Obviously this is not the usual kind of thing I post here; actually I meant to post it elsewhere, but I think I'll leave it up instead. 

Mockingbird put up this stunning piece yesterday. There's nothing, really, for me to add or comment on; the video says all there is to say.

The comedian has been around a while. And comedians are always most funny because they are probing something true, and often painfully so. Shakespeare’s fools operated on this paradox very well, most notably in Lear. Jan Kott, a Shakespeare scholar, says this of the general role of the Shakespearean jester or fool:
He has no illusions and does not seek consolation in the existence of natural or supernatural order, which provides for the punishment of evil and the reward of good… But the Fool does not desert his ridiculous, degraded king, and accompanies him on his way to madness. The Fool knows that the only true madness is to recognize this world as rational.
Anthony Griffith is no exception to this rule, as you will see in this confessional, true-to-the-bone “success story.” A comedian who had “arrived,” Griffith made it to the benchmark of success, Carson’s The Tonight Show, and simultaneously received his laurels with ashes, as he got news of his young daughter’s cancer returning. He describes a moment in time completely bifurcated: the realization of personal ambition, and the utter shrouding of that realization with the present season of suffering. (Have we talked about suffering very much recently?) It is made all the more powerful because his life’s work is premised on packaging life into a humorously “tidy sitcom.”

He speaks of the blame-shifting that occurs in suffering, that when it always must be someone’s fault, you often think of what you’ve done to cause it; and then there’s the Denzel Washington voice within to “buck up” and see the world as it is. It is not a voice of compassion, but one of stark reality–which could be gracious in that it faces what is real, rather than what is wished or planned. All said, Griffith is here deconstructing the myth of the progress, dream-and-achieve narrative more than he is providing a qualifying ‘out’ for suffering. Suffering, while being an avenue for hope, is still suffering. The Moth presents “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times.” Viewers beware: if you cannot be seen crying at work, wait until you get home (ht JD).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian

That's today - and here's a Henry V soliloquy, at, in their honor:

Henry V, Act V, Scene III [What's he that wishes so?]

by William Shakespeare

King Henry to Westmoreland

What's he that wishes so? 
My cousin Westmoreland? No my fair cousin: 
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow 
To do our country loss; and if to live, 
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, 
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; 
It yearns me not if men my garments wear; 
Such outward things dwell not in my desires: 
But if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England: 
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honor 
As one man more, methinks, would share from me 
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, 
That he which hath no stomach to this fight, 
Let him depart; his passport shall be made 
And crowns for convoy put into his purse: 
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us. 
This day is called the feast of Crispian: 
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age, 
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors, 
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:' 
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars. 
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.' 
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, 
But he'll remember with advantages 
What feats he did that day: then shall our names, 
Familiar in his mouth as household words 
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, 
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, 
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd. 
This story shall the good man teach his son; 
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, 
From this day to the ending of the world, 
But we in it shall be remember'd; 
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me 
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, 
This day shall gentle his condition: 
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Wikipedia has this to say about these not-very-well-known saints:
Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the French Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, ending up in Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night.

Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, the governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones round their necks. Though they survived, they were beheaded by the emperor c. 286.

An alternative account gives them as sons of a noble Romano-Briton family whose father had been killed having incurred the displeasure of the Roman emperor living at Canterbury. As they were approaching maturity their mother sent them to London to seek apprenticeship and to avoid coming to the attention of their father's killer. Travelling there, the brothers came across a shoe-maker's workshop in Faversham and decided to travel no further but to remain in Faversham where there is a plaque commemorating their association with the town. They are also commemorated in the name of the ancient pub "Crispin and Crispianus" in Strood. This account fails to explain how the brothers came to be martyred.

Saint Crispin is often associated with the Battle of Agincourt as the battle was fought on Saint Crispin's day.
And here's Aert van den Bossche's "The Martyrdom of SS Crispin and Crispinian"; Bossche lived from about 1490-1505.

Sing Sanctorum meritis, Aeterna Christi Munera, and Rex gloriose martyrum today:

From Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books, "On the Feast of several Martyrs (or Confessors)":
1st Ev. & M. Sanctorum meritis
   At 1st Ev. ... ... ... 51
   At Matt. ... ... ... . 52
   At 1st Ev. & Matt. ad libitum ... ... ... 53
   On Simple Feasts of the lowest class throughout the year (1 Ev. & M.)............ 54
[Matt. (York) Eterna Christi munera Et (Martyrs only) 61]

Lauds & 2nd Ev. Rex gloriose martyrum
   At L. (except in Xmas & Paschal-tides) ... 25
   At 2nd Ev. (& L. when no 2nd Ev.) ... 49 '
   During Xmas-tide ( L. & 2nd Ev.) ... 27
   On Simple Feasts of the lowest class throughout the year (L.) ... ... ... 6 or 55

So, at first Evensong (the Vespers on the eve of the feast), we could sing Sanctorum meritis, which is given at Cyberhymnal as "The Triumph of the Saints." LLPB sings it as "The Noble Deeds of Saints (MP3)." Here are the words from the former (translated by J.M. Neale), which are definitely close enough to the latter:
The triumphs of the saints,
The toils they bravely bore,
The love that never faints,
Their glory evermore—
For these the Church today
Pours forth her joyous lay;
What victors wear so rich a bay?

This clinging world of ill
Them and their works abhorred;
Its withering flowers still
They spurned with one accord;
They knew them short lived all,
How soon they fade and fall,
And followed, Jesu, at Thy call.

What tongue may here declare,
Fancy or thought descry,
The joys Thou dost prepare
For these Thy saints on high?
Empurpled in the flood
Of their victorious blood,
They won the laurel from their God.

O Lord most high, we pray,
Stretch forth Thy mighty arm
To put our sins away
And shelter us from harm;
O give Thy servants peace;
From guilt and pain release;
Our praise to Thee shall never cease.

That's a nice tune; it's #51 from Hymn melodies:

Or (if we were singing Mattins in York, or wanted a different hymn to sing at Lauds or 2nd Evensong), we'd go with "The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King" (mp3), about which I've posted several times; in Latin, this hymn is Aeterna Christi Munera. I've linked to the St. David's Compline Choir version of this before; here it is again, using a different tune (MP3), and here are the Oremus words, translation J.M. Neale:
The eternal gifts of Christ the King,
the apostles' glory, let us sing,
and all, with hearts of gladness, raise
due hymns of thankful love and praise.

For they the Church's princes are,
triumphant leaders in the war,
in heavenly courts a warrior band,
true lights to lighten every land.

Theirs is the steadfast faith of saints,
and hope that never yields nor faints;
and love of Christ in perfect glow
that lays the prince of this world low.

In them the Father's glory shone,
in them the will of God the Son,
in them exults the Holy Ghost,
through them rejoice the heavenly host.

To thee, Redeemer, now we cry,
that thou wouldst join to them on high
thy servants, who this grace implore,
for ever and for evermore.

Here's the chant score:

Finally, for both Lauds (Morning Prayer) and 2nd Evensong (the Vespers of the feast day itself), we'd sing Rex gloriose martyrum, to two different tunes. This is sung as "O Glorious King of Martyr Hosts (MP3)" by LLPB. The hymn is 6th Century originally; here are the English words, from Oremus:
O glorious King of martyr hosts,
thou crown that each confessor boasts,
who leadest to celestial day
the saints who cast earth's joys away.

Thine ear in mercy, Savior, lend,
while unto thee our prayers ascend;
and as we count their triumphs won,
forgive the sins that we have done.

Martyrs in thee their triumphs gain,
confessors grace from thee obtain;
we sinners humbly seek to thee,
from sins offense to set us free.

All laud to God the Father be,
all praise, eternal Son, to thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to God the holy Paraclete.

And here is the chant score; it's #49 above:

Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV232

The whole thing.   If you have a couple of hours, why not spend it listening to the most wonderfully thrilling piece of music you'll ever hear?

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 † 1750)

Work: Mass in B minor, for soloist, chorus, orchestra & continuo, BWV232

01. Coro: Kyrie eleison
02. Aria (Duetto): Christe eleison
03. Coro: Kyrie eleison
04. Coro: Gloria in excelsis Deo
05. Coro: Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
06. Aria: Laudamus te
07. Coro: Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam
08. Aria (Duetto): Domine Deus, Rex coelestis
09. Coro: Qui tollis peccata mundi
10. Aria: Qui sedes ad dextram Patris, miserere nobis.
11. Aria: Quoniam tu solus sanctus
12. Coro: Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris, Amen.
13. Coro: Credo in unum Deum
14. Coro: Patrem omnipotentem
15. Aria (Duetto) Et in unum Dominum
16. Coro: Et incarnatus est
17. Coro: Crucifixus etiam pro nobis
18. Coro: Et resurrexit tertia die
19. Aria: Et in spiritum sanctum dominum
20. Coro: Confiteor tibi
21. Coro: Et exspecto
22. Coro: Sanctus
23. Coro: Osanna in excelsis I
24. Aria: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
25. Coro: Osanna in excelsis II
26. Aria: Agnus Dei
27. Coro: Dona nobis pacem

Monday, October 22, 2012

‪"Never Weather-Beaten Sail‬"

Stile Antico offers a really lovely rendition of this Thomas Campion piece from the early 17th Century; it's a great sad and beautiful song - perfect for October and November.  And it's church music, or not, as you wish; see the interesting note about  "the wealth of Tudor and Jacobean sacred music written for domestic devotion, rather than for church worship" below.  It's not an easy song to sing this well, either.

Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore.
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest.

Ever blooming are the joys of Heaven's high Paradise.
Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes:
Glory there the sun outshines whose beams the blessed only see:
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to thee!

From the YouTube page:
Stile Antico (joined by Fretwork) explores a long-neglected repertory -- the wealth of Tudor and Jacobean sacred music written for domestic devotion, rather than for church worship. Culled from collections intended for use in private homes, these pieces by Tomkins, Campion, Byrd, Tallis, Dowland, Gibbons and others, offer a unique insight into the turbulent religious climate of the time and the thriving musical culture at its heart.

"An ensemble of breathtaking freshness, vitality and balance" (The New York Times)

The song was first published in Campion's "Two Bookes of Ayres" in 1613; you can see that online here, at Luminarium.  Here's the intro from that volume:

OUT of many songs which, partly at the request of friends, partly for my own recreation, were by me long since composed, I have now enfranchised a few; sending them forth divided, according to their different subject, into several books.   The first are grave and pious : the second, amorous and light.   For he that in publishing any work hath a desire to content all palates, must cater for them accordingly.

                                            Non omnibus unum est
                                            Quod placet, hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.                                                          
     These airs were for the most part framed at first for one voice with the lute or viol : but upon occasion they have since been filled with more parts, which whoso please may use, who like not may leave.   Yet do we daily observe that when any shall sing a treble to an instrument, the standers by will be offering at an inward part out of their own naure; and true or false, out it must, though to the perverting of the whole harmony.   Also, if we consider well, the treble tunes (which are with us, commonly called Airs) are but tenors mounted eight notes higher ; and therefore an inward part must needs well become them, such as may take up the whole distance of the diapason, and fill up the gaping between the two extreme parts : whereby though they are not three parts in perfection, yet they yield a sweetness and content both to the ear and mind ; which is the aim and perfection of Music.

     Short airs, if they be skillfully framed, and naturally expressed, are like quick and good epigrams in poesy : many of them showing as much artifice, and breeding as great difficulty as a larger poem.   Non omnia possumus omnes, said the Roman epic poet.   But some there are who admit only French or Italian airs; as if every country had not his proper air, which the people thereof naturally usurp in their music.   Others taste nothing that comes forth in print ; as if Catullus or Martial's  Epigrams were the worse for being published.

     In these English airs, I have chiefly aimed to couple my words and notes lovingly together ; which will be much for him to do that hath not power over both. The light of this, will best appear to him who hath paysed our monosyllables and syllables combined: both of which, are so loaded with consonants, as that they will hardly keep company with swift notes, or give the vowel convenient liberty.

     To conclude ; my own opinion of these songs I deliver thus:

          Omnia nec nostris bona sunt, sed nec mala libris ;
                Si placet hac cantes, hac quoque lege legas.

I really like this arrangement, played by "three musicians from Salzburg," too (although I miss the wonderful harmonies of the original)!

Friday, October 19, 2012

James Wood: "The Book of Common Prayer"

In the New Yorker, for the 350th Anniversary of the 1662.  It begins this way:
Suppose you find yourself, in the late afternoon, in one of the English cathedral towns—Durham, say, or York, or Salisbury, or Wells, or Norwich—or in one of the great university cities, like Oxford or Cambridge. The shadows are thickening, and you are mysteriously drawn to the enormous, ancient stone structure at the center of the city. You walk inside, and find that a service is just beginning. Through the stained glass, the violet light outside is turning to black. Inside, candles are lit; the flickering flames dance and rest, dance and rest. A precentor chants, “O Lord, open thou our lips.” A choir breaks into song: “And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” The precentor continues, “O God, make speed to save us.” And the choir replies, musically, “O Lord, make haste to help us.”

The visitor has stumbled upon a service, Evensong, whose roots stretch back at least to the tenth century, and whose liturgy has been in almost continuous use since 1549, the date of the first Book of Common Prayer, which was revised in 1552, and lightly amended in 1662, three hundred and fifty years ago. The Book of Common Prayer was the first compendium of worship in English. The words—many of them, at least—were written by Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury between 1533 and 1556. Cranmer did not cut his text from whole cloth: in the ecumenical spirit that characterizes the Book of Common Prayer, he went to the Latin liturgy that the English Catholic Church had used for centuries. In particular, he turned to a book known as the Sarum Missal, which priests at Salisbury Cathedral had long used to conduct services. It contained a calendar of festivals, along with prayers and readings for those festivals; and it held orders of service for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and the Mass.


[T]he acute poetry, balanced sonorities, heavy order, and direct intimacy of Cranmer’s prose have achieved permanence, and many of his phrases and sentences are as famous as lines from Shakespeare or the King James Bible. People who have never read the Book of Common Prayer know the phrase “moveable feast,” or “vile body,” or the solemn warning of the marriage service: “If either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it.” The same is true of the vows the couple speak to each other: “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.” The words of the burial service have become proverbial:
In the midst of life, we are in death. . . . Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy. . . . Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body.

The Prayer Book was a handbook of worship for a people, not for a priesthood, and its job was to replace and improve the ancient collective rites of worship that bound people together in the English Catholic Church. The marriage service, for instance, was a medieval liturgy that long predated the final form it found in the Book of Common Prayer. It availed Cranmer nothing to invent a liturgy that threw out that history and erected a verbal screen or altar between the priest and his congregation. Cranmer’s prayers use ordinary phrases and familiar Biblical similes. Here is the General Confession, the collective prayer that opens the service of Morning Prayer:
Almighty and most merciful Father, We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep, We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, We have offended against thy holy laws, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done, And there is no health in us: But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us miserable offenders.
There is a Protestant severity to the avowal that “there is no health in us.” But penitence can be reached only by walking down a familiar path, lined with straightforward words: we are “lost sheep” because we have “left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.” Likewise, Evening Prayer is a comforting service, not just because it closes the day and lights a candle at the threshold of evening but also because the Book of Common Prayer sends the congregation home with two consoling collects, intoned by the presiding priest, which glow like verbal candles amid the shadows. The last collect goes like this:
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
To read, or hear, these words is to be taken back to a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century world of risk and daily peril, a place of death and sickness and warfare—a world in which Michel de Montaigne, for instance, lost five of his six children in infancy. The Book of Common Prayer contains a section with special prayers “For Rain,” “For fair Weather,” for protection against “Dearth and Famine,” for salvation from “War and Tumults,” and from “Plague or Sickness.” This plea is present in the penultimate collect of Evensong, too:
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
A grand sonority (with the characteristic Cranmerian triad of “all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works”) gives way to a heartfelt request: please defend us from enemies, so that we may “pass our time in rest and quietness.” It’s interesting to compare the original Latin of this old prayer, which appeared in the Sarum Missal: “Tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla” can be roughly translated as “May our time under thy protection be tranquil.” In a fourteenth-century English primer, it was translated into English, and the prayer was now that “our times be peaceable.” But Cranmer has made the plea smaller and closer at hand. In the Book of Common Prayer, the language seems not to refer to the epoch (our time) but to something more local (my days); and tranquillity and peace have become the comfier “rest and quietness.” 


Above all, the Book of Common Prayer offered Cranmer’s language as a kind of binding agent, a rhetoric both lofty and local. The new English liturgy was quickly taken up by church composers. William Byrd (1540-1623), who became the organist of the Chapel Royal, composed anthems for Cranmer’s prayers and collects. His “Great Service,” probably written at the end of the sixteenth century, and still sung regularly today in British cathedrals and college chapels, set music to the English versions of the Te Deum and Benedictus (Morning Prayer) and the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Evening Prayer). A little more than a hundred years later, Henry Purcell, also an organist of the Chapel Royal, took Cranmer’s beautiful words from the service for the Burial of the Dead and set them to music for the funeral of Queen Mary II, in 1695: “Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live. . . . In the midst of life we are in death.” (Parts of Cranmer’s burial service also found its way into the libretto of Handel’s “Messiah.”)

Cranmer’s language endures in English literature and popular culture, from Neville Chamberlain’s use of the phrase “Peace in our time,” on his return from his ill-fated meeting with Hitler, to David Bowie’s song “Ashes to Ashes.” It is the source of phrases like “miserable sinners” and “the face of the enemy” (from the prayer to be said by sailors before a fight at sea). Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments”) clearly borrows from the Prayer Book’s marriage service. Samuel Johnson told James Boswell that he knew of “no good prayers but those in the Book of Common Prayer,” and Cranmer’s rhythms can be found in Johnson’s prose, and in Jane Austen’s very Johnsonian prose. There is a rhythmic link between Cranmer’s fondness for triplets (“all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works”) and Austen’s: Lady Catherine de Bourgh “sallied forth into the village to settle their differences, silence their complaints, and scold them into harmony and plenty.” Austen, like the Brontë sisters, was the daughter of an Anglican parson, so she grew up with the Prayer Book’s cadences.

More at the link.  HT Mockingbird.

"Living in Community With Integritry"

Today, Sr. Laura Katherine, of the Community of St. John Baptist, writes this article for The Angelus, the weekly newsletter published by St. Mary the Virigin in New York:

The three traditional vows, poverty, chastity, and obedience, are one aspect of the religious life that has attracted a good deal of attention down through the centuries. There are many studies of the three vows already in print, so I thought it might be useful to speak about the religious life by discussing three other facets of that life, facets which are not unrelated to the traditional vows, but which are nevertheless quite distinct. My thinking about these things - integrity, self-knowledge, and the forgetting of self - has been shaped in some new ways by my reading of a book by the late Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Basil Hume, OSB (1923-1999). Cardinal Hume was a monk, and then the abbot, of the Roman Catholic Benedictine monastic house, Ampleforth Abbey, North Yorkshire, England, before he was elevated to the episcopate in 1976. His book, The Intentional Life: Making of a Spiritual Vocation (Paraclete Press, 2004), consists of talks and teachings given to various novices while he was abbot of Ampleforth (1963-1976).

The first aspect is integrity. This is a broad term with multiple connotations, such as honor, uprightness, probity, the ability to adhere to fundamental principles, trustworthiness, and, perhaps surprisingly, wholeness, soundness, and unity. Integrity may be regarded both as a personal and as a corporate virtue, since members of religious communities are distinct individuals who try to live together as one, in a body that has a distinct corporate identity. On the personal level, individual integrity involves an awareness of, as well as the attempt to live by, one's own principles, values, and sense of honor. To surrender any one of these things can mean relinquishing some essential part of one's self. Living with integrity means living up to, and into, one's core values and principles as fully as one is able. Of course, life is filled with challenges and it is not easy to live with integrity. Still, trying to do so is something that should not be dismissed. There are a number of ways a person can and will negate who they are, often without realizing it or the consequences of doing so.

Integrity is an important part of living in community as well. A community's core values and principles are usually spelled out in the community's constitutions and in other formal and legal documents; however, they are also part of a community's oral traditions, things that have been practiced, observed, handed down, taught, and imitated. However, tragically, corporate integrity can also be negated in a variety of ways as well. A community needs to be aware of the risks of violating its foundational principles and failing to preserve its integrity. Religious communities are institutions of which much is not only expected but also demanded. They are not islands unto themselves, for they exist within social, cultural, political and, indeed, ecclesiastical structures. They are visible, and how they live makes a difference. A community's internal integrity must be carefully guarded and upheld.

The second aspect, or facet, is that of self-knowledge, which can be summed up as the practice of learning about oneself. There are many masks and façades behind which we are tempted to hide and they are not easily removed. We are often invested in a self-image that we wish were real. This makes it difficult to discover who one really is. Self-knowledge is also self-discovery. Self-discovery is certainly possible, though it can be difficult to achieve. We learn from the reactions of others: what is appropriate and what is not, what behavior is pleasing and what is not. Self-knowledge is not easy and there are usually some hard knocks along the path to self-discovery as one begins to understand what is underlying the ego's response. All the members of a religious community must try to recognize their strengths and their weaknesses, their gifts as well as their faults. They must ask some difficult questions, naming and defining the problems one has with others and asking why such problems arise. However, the rewards of self-discovery are great. Confronting these hard questions is necessary if inner change and growth are to happen. We cannot really begin to know others if we avoid knowing ourselves. The members of many religious communities live together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They may dress the same way and share many things in common, but they do not necessarily think, react, or respond in the same way. Individuals who live in community have quite different personalities and may possess very different habits and have very different likes and dislikes. Self-knowledge helps to prevent insensitivity, indifference, self-indulgence and behaviors that are unfeeling or offensive. Self-knowledge promotes community by helping one to live with others peaceably and lovingly.

The third facet or aspect is self-forgetting. To be self-centered seems to be part of our human nature. "Self-forgetting" is an ambiguous term and can be misinterpreted. I am not talking here about a form of self-abnegation which can be seen as negative and destructive. On the contrary, I am talking about a form of "self-forgetting" that can be positive and quite productive. I believe that human beings need not be always and only selfish and self-centered. Human beings also seem to have an inherent capacity to let go of the ego's insistent demands, desires, and personal wishes and pleasures. This "letting go" involves surrendering self-will, the desire for self-aggrandizement and self-gratification, and the need for constant recognition and approval. The ability to "forget self" can make it possible for one to recognize and support others, to allow others to have their way, and to give others the opportunity to flourish by being themselves. This may be a matter of simple courtesy, as one realizes that "I am not the only pebble on the beach." It also means being aware of and awake to others, an awareness that is linked to the capacity to love and to care, and which also involves acknowledging and respecting others. This aspect of the religious life teaches us to go beyond self in order to meet others where they are. One learns that the more one is able to live in a way that is not self-centered, the more joy and love there is in one's life.

Though integrity, self-knowledge and self-forgetting are essential aspects of the religious life, I think that these things are important in the daily lives of all Christians, no matter what their vocation, no matter what their walk of life. Sister Laura Katharine, C.S.J.B.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him...."

From the lectionary for today:

Ecclesiasticus 38:1-4,6-10,12-14

Honor physicians for their services,
for the Lord created them;
for their gift of healing comes from the Most High,
and they are rewarded by the king.
The skill of physicians makes them distinguished,
and in the presence of the great they are admired.
The Lord created medicines out of the earth,
and the sensible will not despise them.
And he gave skill to human beings
that he might be glorified in his marvelous works.
By them the physician heals and takes away pain;
the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.
God's works will never be finished;
and from him health spreads over all the earth.
My child, when you are ill, do not delay,
but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.
Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly,
and cleanse your heart from all sin.
Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;
do not let him leave you, for you need him.
There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians,
for they too pray to the Lord
that he grant them success in diagnosis
and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.

October 18: St. Luke Evangelist, Part 2

From Part 1:
Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books lists a variety of hymns to be sung on the feast days of Apostles and Evangelists, and the LLPB provides two mp3s that match up with Hymn Melodies for the whole year. First, the hymn listed for Lauds and Evening Prayer (using two different tunes): "Let the Round World With Songs Rejoice" (mp3), which in Latin is Exultet caelum laudibus. Here is the chant score for this melody, the one listed for Evensong:

And here are the words used here:
Let the round world with songs rejoice;
let heaven return the joyful voice;
all mindful of the Apostles' fame,
let heaven and earth their praise proclaim.

Ye servants who once bore the light
of Gospel truth o'er heathen night,
still may your work that light impart,
to glad our eyes and cheer our heart.

O God, by whom to them was given
the key that shuts and opens heaven,
our chains unbind, our loss repair,
and grant us grace to enter there;

for at thy will they preached the word
which cured disease, which health conferred:
O may that healing power once more
our souls to grace and health restore:

that when thy Son again shall come,
and speak the world's unerring doom,
he may with them pronounce us blessed,
and place us in thy endless rest.

To thee, O Father; Son, to thee;
to thee, blessed Spirit, glory be!
So was it ay for ages past,
so shall through endless ages last.

Second, "The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King" (mp3); in Latin, this is Aeterna Christi Munera. I've linked to the St. David's Compline Choir version of this before; here it is again. Here's the chant score:

The words used on this mp3 are in the 1982 Hymnal at #233, and originally come from the 1940 hymnal, it says; here's a translation by J.M. Neale of the original words from Ambrose; this isn't the exact version used on the audio file.
The eternal gifts of Christ the King,
the apostles' glory, let us sing,
and all, with hearts of gladness, raise
due hymns of thankful love and praise.

For they the Church's princes are,
triumphant leaders in the war,
in heavenly courts a warrior band,
true lights to lighten every land.

Theirs is the steadfast faith of saints,
and hope that never yields nor faints;
and love of Christ in perfect glow
that lays the prince of this world low.

In them the Father's glory shone,
in them the will of God the Son,
in them exults the Holy Ghost,
through them rejoice the heavenly host.

To thee, Redeemer, now we cry,
that thou wouldst join to them on high
thy servants, who this grace implore,
for ever and for evermore.

Here is the version from my sources, which I had not been able to identify until now - but in fact, this is Annue, Christe, the hymn listed at Hymn melodies for the whole year for Mattins and 1st Evensong:

Below is a video of Annue Christe; the singers chant only the first and last verse of the Latin words:

For more, see Hymnody: Apostles and Evangelists

Here are the mass chants from the Brazilian Benedictines:
S. Lucæ, Evangelistæ
Introitus: Ps. 138, 17 et 1 Mihi autem (1m04.7s - 1017 kb) 
Graduale: Ps. 18, 5. V. 2 In omnem terram (2m39.2s - 1089 kb MONO
Alleluia: Io. 15, 16 Ego vos elegi (3m31.1s - 3301 kb) 
Offertorium: Ps. 138, 17 Mihi autem nimis (1m32.8s - 1457 kb) 
Communio: Mt. 19, 28 Vos qui secuti estis me (22.9s - 359 kb)
                  Mt. 19, 28 Vos qui secuti estis me (altera melodia) (not yet available)
Now, for something a  bit different:   this is Peter Abelard's hymn for Lauds of Evangelists:
Eunt cum illis euntibus
Atque stant rotae cum stantibus,
Levantur cum se levantibus,
Cum iis vitae sit spiritus.

Pedes eorum pedes recti,
Plantaque pedis ut vituli,
Tamquam ex aere sint candenti,
Scintillae visae sunt progredi.

Carbonum instar ardentium,
Lampadum habent splendentium,
In modum visa micantium
Ire, redire sunt fulgurum.

Gloria patri et filio
Spirituique paraclito,
Uni tam Deo quam Domino,
Cum sint personae tres numero.
Google Translate says:
They went with them as they were going
And are standing with wheels that stand
To lift up with themselves,
With them is the spirit of life.

Their feet are upright feet;
Plantaque foot to the calf,
As being of bronze shining,
Sparks were seen advancing.

As coal blazing,
Their lamps are radiant
It seemed like the glittering
To return lightnings.

Glory to the Father and the Son
Spirit Comforter;
One in both the Lord and the Lord,
Since there are three persons in number.
Three hymns for 3 Nocturnes of Matins are also listed - I may look at these in another post - and as always, I wish I knew what music there might have been for them.

Here are the texts for versions of the Troparion and Kontakion for St. Luke from this page at the OCA site:
Apostle and Evangelist Luke
Troparion - Tone 5
Let us praise with sacred songs the holy Apostle Luke,
the recorder of the joyous Gospel of Christ
and the scribe of the Acts of the Apostles,
for his writings are a testimony of the Church of Christ:
He is the physician of human weaknesses and infirmities.
He heals the wounds of our souls,
and constantly intercedes for our salvation!

Kontakion - Tone 2
Let us praise the godly Luke:
he is the true preacher of piety,
the orator of ineffable mysteries
and the star of the Church;
for the Word, Who alone knows the hearts of men,
chose him, together with wise Paul, to be a teacher of the gentiles!
Unfortunately, I can't find music online for these; really too bad.  If I come up with something, I'll be back to add it.

There are a couple of chant scores (PDF) from the AOCANA site - here ("Troparion sung on October 18th.  This is a special troparion in Tone 5 for St. Luke himself.") and here ("Troparion sung on October 18th.  This is the traditional troparion in Tone 3 for the Apostles.")

And here's a lovely video from St. Luke's College of Nursing in Quezon City, Philippines. ("The St. Luke's Hymn of St. Luke's College of Nursing, Trinity University of Asia (formerly known as St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing during the early 1900's).")

Here's a fantastic St. Luke by Simone Martini (c. 1284–1344)!


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