Gregorian Chant: Close Cousins

By Sr. Fidelis

One look at this antiphon reveals that it is very similar to the Mode 3 selection we looked at last week.

The characteristic FA-MI relationship (home tone MI) is found right at the beginning of this antiphon.  However, the range is much lower, mysterious sounding, even hovering below the reciting note LA, which we hear only 3 times.  Only once does it ascend above this point on the word “Moyses”.  Listen and look at this Mode 4 expression of: And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias, speaking with Jesus.

This antiphon is from the Feast of the Transfiguration

Et Ecce

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Dependence

By Hummingbird

I have noticed a curious hold my four legged friend has on me. I have long puzzled over it. He comes and fixes me with his eyes and is communicating something. If I am slow to respond, he may punctuate his look with a sharp bark. He is obviously telling me his need is urgent in his opinion! The hold is this; as I turn my attention to him I am ever aware –he has no hands to open doors, or get his food. His needs are ever before me. He has utter unfailing confidence that I will see to his needs. He is not passive but takes his job as actively informing me of his status and presenting himself in my presence as if reminding me, “Remember I have no arms and you are my chosen sole provider.” He is never embarrassed at his need but accepts and seems to joy in this dependence—even at times seems to show me off with pride. His need and that he depends totally on me lead me to never fail to respond.

Then I am struck to the heart. O, God, am I proud of my dependence on you? Do I joy in being actively involved in presenting myself before you? Do I have utter confidence that you never fail me and always meet my needs? Do I accept that I can’t change my heart anymore than my little friend can grow “arms”? Do I rest in the knowledge that my need excites the love of my Savior who gave his life for me, of my Father who never sleeps, and my Comforter who flies to my side?

Dear God, help me to be so proud of your relationship to me. May I ever be constantly active to present myself before you,  and to joy in my love and need of you.
Puppy with bowl

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Di-vine Connection

By Sr. Nun Other
Last week, I wrote about grapes maturing on the vine. A reader reminded me there are further steps to this process, depending on each grape’s destiny. One definition for vineyard is “sphere of activity.” Let’s say you’ll one day become grape juice. It involves a crushing process, and the essence of who you were, yields to who you’ve become. This can happen in the hands of a watchful vine keeper or, more painfully, solely through circumstance and personal choices. Jesus is our guardian, our friend that tends to each particular vine. He isn’t surprised when we wander, or daunted by our indifference.

His Love continues until our personal transfiguration is complete.

Grapes

 

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Impressions

Last week, I started a week-long conversation with the Lord. It began with me in my frustration, asking God how long it would take me to change. ( well, honestly, it really began with me asking the Lord how long it was going to take the person with whom I’d just had an argument to change!)

As I settled down and began to listen more, He began to teach me.

He told me I couldn’t change myself. He told me I couldn’t become like Him just by copying Him. That wasn’t  enough.

I waited for Him to tell me more, but that is all I heard for that day.

The next day, I was talking to the Lord about some stress in my life and why He was allowing it. What good was there in it? As I listened, I heard Him say, “as you are pressured and press yourself against Me, my image is imprinted on you. All you have to do is throw yourself on Me.

As I went into our church a few days later, I looked at the bronze Adam & Eve on the doors. I realized the art form to make the doors, the Lost Wax process, is similar to what happens to us in Transfiguration – as we allow the pressure in our lives to push us towards Jesus, He impresses His image into us.Eve - from the main doors

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Gregorian Chant: The MI Modes

Mode 3 is one of the most enigmatic of all modes!  It’s range is full, and it encompasses BOTH half step relationships at either end of the spectrum.  It recites on TI – an unstable pitch, which is constantly “pulling” to resolve up to DO.  The home tone, MI is a half step away from FA, so its endings always have a mysterious somber sense to them.

 

Non invenientes Jesum, is a beautiful example of this complex mode.  Taken from the Feast of St. Joseph, the text reads:  “Not finding Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him:  and after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:45-46.)

First to note is the opening phrase, which starts with the home tone and the MI-FA relationship, not once, but twice; then ascends right up to the TI-DO  on the word “Jesum”.  This small phrase encapsulates the essence of Mode 3!  Listen for these key relationships throughout this whole antiphon, and sing along.

non invenientes

Non Invenientes

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Never Out of Sight

By Hummingbird

While traveling with my four-pawed brown-eyed friend I learned an important lesson about my relationship with Jesus. His favorite place to be was curled up on my lap like a cat, if I was seated. If was standing, he desperately wanted to be carried but would stand close by my feet with his eye pinned on me.If we separated, he would come, nose to the ground and eyes searching all the feet, to find my feet. If tending to his “own business” outdoors were to take him any distance from me, the corners of white-rimmed eyes would always be curled around to see where I was, no matter what!

He suffered thousands of feet, strange places, uncomfortable beds, food at any hour, being stuffed in a bag at my feet on a plane; not understanding and yet following any place, any time, into any circumstance.

He convinced me that I was his master and the only master in the world he wanted. His constant work and joy was to be with me, wherever I sent him, his face told me I would be in the center  of his thoughts ‘til he was by my side or in my lap again. He moved and strangely warmed my heart, and I longed to tend to his needs and have him always by my side. His love blessed me. My greeting became always a caress and a special personal word.

Suddenly, I understood—Oh, Jesus. It is so easy to have You with me if only I would take You to my heart as I am in his.

Yorkshire-Terrier

 

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Wonderfully Made

By Sr. Nun Other
While walking near our church, I was impressed by the beauty of grapes on a nearby vine. I stopped and adjusted my glasses for an up-close inspection. In perfect bunches, light green, unripened grapes, sidled up to others already in process of color transformation. Though currently in different stages of development, they coexisted in flawless symmetry.
Grapes ripening
The experience reminded me of the scripture concerning the Body of Christ, found in 1 Corinthians 12.  Briefly summarized,  Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many: a foot, a hand, an ear, an eye. God arranged the members in the body, each one of them as He chose. And with a variety of gifts – wisdom, knowledge, faith, prophecy – but it is the same God who activates all of them.To each is given…for the common good.

We sometimes suggest that a person “just be one of the bunch.” I conclude, there’s no such thing. It’s more accurate to say be part of a bunch, add your strengths (and need), journey together in spite of differences, encourage through mercy, and uphold one another with forgiveness.

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Gregorian Chant: The Other Half

I am the resurrection and the life;  he who believes in me, even if he dies, shall live; and all who live and believe in me, shall never die. (John 11: 25-26).

 

In this Mode 2 antiphon, we hear Jesus’ words of blessed assurance to all who believe.  Last week we witnessed the funeral for one of our Community members, and this text was both chanted and read during the day.

Ego_Sum_arrowsThe most characteristic detail of a Mode 2 piece is the clef at the beginning of the piece.  Shaped like an old fashioned telephone receiver, it is the FA clef, and is used almost exclusively for this Mode.  The reason?   Mode 2 pieces have a very narrow range; the reciting note is FA and the home tone, RE. On a normal staff with DO on the top line, these pieces would show up at the bottom of the staff,and lower notes could even be below the staff.  The FA clef, located in the middle of the staff assures us that the majority of the piece will sit comfortably on the staff .  Notice that there are a few notes above and below the key pitches of FA and RE, but for the most part, the piece circles around those principal pitches.

Listen for this, as you look at the piece.

Ego Sum Resurrectio

Gregorian Chant: The Other Half

I am the resurrection and the life;  he who believes in me, even if he dies, shall live; and all who live and believe in me, shall never die. (John 11: 25-26).

 

In this Mode 2 antiphon, we hear Jesus’ words of blessed assurance to all who believe.  Last week we witnessed the funeral for one of our Community members, and this text was both chanted and read during the day.

Ego_Sum_arrowsThe most characteristic detail of a Mode 2 piece is the clef at the beginning of the piece.  Shaped like an old fashioned telephone receiver, it is the FA clef, and is used almost exclusively for this Mode.  The reason?   Mode 2 pieces have a very narrow range; the reciting note is FA and the home tone, RE. On a normal staff with DO on the top line, these pieces would show up at the bottom of the staff,and lower notes could even be below the staff.  The FA clef, located in the middle of the staff assures us that the majority of the piece will sit comfortably on the staff .  Notice that there are a few notes above and below the key pitches of FA and RE, but for the most part, the piece circles around those principal pitches.

Listen for this, as you look at the piece.

Ego Sum Resurrectio

Arms that welcome

By Sister Nun Other

I have a friend who considers the Bible the world’s greatest encyclopedia. She reads it in search of answers and is never disappointed! Recently, she told me of a verse, for her and me at least, newly discovered. That verse was Isaiah 50:10, which reads: 

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord. This morning I woke up anxious, not quite sure of my way. Then words from an eighteenth century hymn writer, Joseph Hart, cut a path through my musings.  He wrote, “Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore; Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity, love and power. The hymn goes on to call the thirsty, weary, and heavy laden, and ends, “All the fitness he requireth is to feel your need of Him. Essentially, it’s a parallel message to the one from Isaiah, both coming within a single week! For those of us who sometimes wander (and wonder), it’s a recommendation well-worth considering.