Friday, March 28, 2014

The Lent 4 Offertory: Laudate Dominum "Praise the Lord") and Illumina oculos meos ("Enlighten my eyes")

Laudate Dominum is the Offertory for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (except in Year C, and more on that below). 

Lent - Fourth Sunday: Offertory from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Here's CCWatershed's translation:
Praise the Lord, for he is loving; sing in honour of his name, for he is gracious.  He has accomplished whatever he resolved to do in heaven and on earth.

This text comes from Psalm (134/)135, verse 3 and verse 6:
3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
    sing to his name, for it is pleasant![a]

4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
    Israel as his own possession.

5 For I know that the Lord is great,
    and that our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
    in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.

Here's the Simple English Propers version from CC Watershed; the text is slightly different - but again this is a very nice chant:

Psalm 135 is a song of highest praise; Wikipedia has a bit of information about how it's used in a couple of traditions:


Eastern Orthodox Church

  • Along with Psalm 136 (LXX numbers as 134 & 135 respectively) is called the Polyeleos or translated to "Many Mercies", named such after the refrain used "for His mercy endures forever". The Polyeleos is sung at Orthros (Matins) of a Feast Day and at Vigils. In some Slavic traditions and on Mt. Athos it is read every Sunday at Orthros.
  • On Mt. Athos it is considered one of the most joyful periods of Matins-Liturgy, and the highest point of Matins. In Athonite practice, all the candles are lit, and the chandeliers are made to swing as the Psalms are sung, it is also accompanied by a joyful peal of the bells and censing of the church, sometimes with a hand censer which has many bells on it.
  • At vigils, it accompanies the opening of the Royal Doors and a great censing of the nave by the Priest(s) or Deacon(s).

However, when the Gospel reading is the story of the Prodigal Son, in Year C, the Offertory is Illumina oculos meos.    (Oddly, the reading this year is  the story of the man born blind - which would be a perfect fit for this chant!)

Here's the mp3 from; I could find no other recording of this anywhere.  It's quite pretty, in fact.

This is the chant score:

This text comes from Psalm (12/)13, verses 3-4; because it's short and great I'll include the whole Psalm:
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

I'm not sure who the composer is here, but this is a very nice setting of this part of the Psalm: offers a complete list of today's propers sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines; note that the Offertory and Communio vary, depending on the Gospel for the day.
Hebdomada quarta quadragesimæ  Dominica
Introitus: Cf. Is. 66, 10.11; Ps. 121 Lætare Ierusalem (3m46.5s - 3540 kb) chant score
Graduale: Ps. 121, 1. V. 7 Lætatus sum (1m58.9s - 1858 kb) chant score
Tractus: Ps. 124, 1.2 Qui confidunt (3m13.4s - 3024 kb) chant score
Offertorium: Ps. 134, 3.6 Laudate Dominum (1m37.4s - 1524 kb) chant score
                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Ps. 12, 4.5 Illumina oculos meos (1m33.8s - 1468 kb) chant score
Communio:  Ps. 121, 3.4 Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur chant score (1m09.7s - 1092 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de cæco nato:
                  Io. 9, 6.11.38 Lutum fecit (39.3s - 616 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Lc. 15, 32 Oportet te (28.9s - 454 kb)

The old set of propers is, for the most part, just the same; the only changes are the additions for switching chants depending on the Gospel reading - which is in turn dependent upon the 3-year lectionary - a practice that wasn't adopted until the 1970s.

Other Chantblog articles about the propers for the day include:

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