Requiem

By Sr. Fidelis

Yesterday we celebrated All Saints’ Day, one of the major feasts of the church year.  There is evidence that this feast goes back at least to the 4th century. In 998, November 2nd became the day that All Souls Day was added to the Church Calendar.  We can trace its existence back to the famous French Abbey of Cluny, where the Benedictine Abbot declared a day in which the monks commemorated all the dead of the Monastic Order.  Soon this Cluny practice was adopted by the whole of the Western Church as a general commemoration of all those who had died.

The Mass for the dead contains some of the most beautiful music in the Gregorian repertoire.  These important prayers are well known because they were chanted and prayed so often.  The name “Requiem Mass” comes from the Introit for the Mass of the Dead, “Requiem aeternam.” This beautifully simple Mode VI chant is a prayer for the faithful departed. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  The psalm verse is translated: A hymn, O God, becometh thee in Zion, and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem.


Requiem_Mass

Introït: Requiem (6è mode)

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Growing Love

 In the Lauds reading today, it was quoted, “Heat makes things expand, and in the same way, love expands the heart.”

Well, I thought to myself, how appropriate! Last week I had just been confessing to a wise friend of mine (and asking for some help) about the lack of love in my heart for someone. I was so frustrated with my complete lack of control to expand my heart, to “grow my love.”

My friend listened to me, and after a minute said, “It’s not up to you to put the love in your heart. That’s God’s job. Your job is to confess and get rid of the anger, hatred, hurt, and anything that takes space in your heart that blocks God from being able to bring His love in.
Fire

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Gregorian Chant: Evolution

By Sr. Fidelis

Simple chants of only 2 or 3 notes, that circle around a single pitch, are most likely very ancient.  However, over time, the final pitches began to descend, and we see an expansion of range from the Reciting Tone to the Home Tone. Below are 3 brief antiphons—all beginning very similarly on LA and SOL.  But look at the endings!  The first ends on LA—obviously one of the very early ones..  The second antiphon descends to a MI.  We know this as Mode IV;  and the final antiphon descends to RE, which gives us the formula for Mode I.

Here is a very simplistic “snap shot” of some of the changes that took place in the Gregorian repertoire over the centuries.

Chant

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Feng Shui: Early American Style

By Sr. Nun Other

I’m told by a sister of Chinese heritage that I practice feng shui. And I thought I was merely rearranging furniture! I convinced her to join me, and, as we worked together, I periodically asked, “What’s that called again?” Feng shui, pronounced “fung shway,” the study of the relationship between environment and human life.  It’s composed of two Chinese words, feng (wind) and shui (water), two life sustaining natural elements that flow and circulate throughout the Earth. It is also referred to as the art of placement: how to place furniture, possessions, and yourself within your surroundings to best achieve balance, comfort, and harmony. The wing of the Convent, where my Chinese sister and I live, leans toward early American design. Matters not what your particular decorating taste is. With prayerful consideration, we can create a space of beauty that reflects God’s presence in our lives.

IMG_0891

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Hearing Joy

By Sr. Spero

In the Lauds service this morning, I noticed that the psalm verse familiar to me as “Let me hear of joy and gladness” (Psalm 51:8) was translated  “Let me hear joy and gladness.”   At first I thought it was a mistake.  But then I considered—is this what the Psalmist really meant.  Not—“ let someone come to me with good news,” but “let me hear joy.”  Hearing joy has nothing to do with outward circumstances.  It is an act of the will to listen to the joy that is surrounding us.  The heavens declare the glory of God. (Psalm 19:1)  The heavens praise your wonders, LORD (Psalm 89:5).  The Scriptures that that it is there. Do I listen for joy?  Do I open my ears to catch it? Not often. But is it possible if I set my will to listen for it?  Yes!

Rock harbor sunset community of jesus

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Origins

By Sr. Fidelis

The chant repertoire runs the gamut between very ornate, melismatic chants, and those which are simple, 2- or 3-note  recitations.  As we said last week, many of the simplest chants are the most ancient. The recitation tone takes a dominant role and the others become ornamental. These ancient modes of 3 or 4 pitches are called “Mother Modes,” because all other melodic development came from these basic roots.

Look at the antiphon below—a perfect example!  It recites on LA and returns to LA. (Remember that solfege came after the fact)  These simple cantillations were already in existence. Listen to Lauda Jerusalem, which then segues into Psalm 147, verses 12-20. The Psalm tone also returns to the LA, just as the antiphon does.

Stay tuned next week, when we’ll look at several other antiphons which use these same pitches, but then descend to a lower pitch, so we can actually see this evolution!

Lauda Jerusalem

Wednesday Praise Psalm V3

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In Memoriam – Phyllis Tickle

Today, in celebration of Phyllis Tickle’s life, we share with you an open letter, written in thanksgiving for her friendship, guidance, and love over the last twenty years.

Phyllis at Lucy Farm

Dear Phyllis,

What can we, at the Community of Jesus, say about you?  How much of a friend you were, how we miss you terribly now and feel a hole in our days when we let ourselves think of you, and all that you have meant to us and done for the church?  

We remember your great laugh and your warmth of spirit, how you would encourage and challenge us to think beyond what we knew, to what is unknown, and maybe uncomfortable, but possibly something new to consider.  Where do we get this kind of friend?  A friend who would stick her neck out — knowing she was throwing some people into a frenzy of confusion, and yet, at the same time, feeling it’s a necessary duty.

We know you also enjoyed those moments.  You didn’t hide the twinkle in your eye when your probing had moved one of us off our chess spot, so that we bumped the Knight next to us and now saw the Queen from a completely different angle.   Yes, there were some very crafty moves, and yet, you weren’t just crafty, you were interested in the growth of an individual and its direct effect on the church.  Open the doors of the mind, let there be new ideas, let our words speak to a church in need, not a church we wish existed.  These were your words, and you were an evangelist and advocate, eager to live out your faith on the hoof with great intention and integrity.   

We miss you, friend.  We see your hand at Paraclete Press, and you will always be with us as a reminder to keep our sights on the future and the needs of a hurting world — of which we are a part — and to live out that vocation in the market place.

We miss you, friend.  We remember your words and your impassioned plea that the theater of the church be vital and full, retelling the great stories of faith and the riches of God’s promises to his people.  Elements Theatre Company owns this charge.

We miss you, friend.  We hear your chortles and southern twang as you tell stories and enjoy a visit with friends and colleagues, believing that at the basis of relationships, commitment and faith were paramount.

It has been our great privilege to know you and work with you, to sit with you and talk with you, to be a part of the church together and serve its future.  

With our great love and affection,
Your friends and family at the Community of Jesus

And flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.  Hamlet V,ii

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In Memoriam – Phyllis Tickle

Today, in celebration of Phyllis Tickle’s life, we share with you an open letter, written in thanksgiving for her friendship, guidance, and love over the last twenty years.

Phyllis at Lucy Farm

Dear Phyllis,

What can we, at the Community of Jesus, say about you?  How much of a friend you were, how we miss you terribly now and feel a hole in our days when we let ourselves think of you, and all that you have meant to us and done for the church?  

We remember your great laugh and your warmth of spirit, how you would encourage and challenge us to think beyond what we knew, to what is unknown, and maybe uncomfortable, but possibly something new to consider.  Where do we get this kind of friend?  A friend who would stick her neck out — knowing she was throwing some people into a frenzy of confusion, and yet, at the same time, feeling it’s a necessary duty.

We know you also enjoyed those moments.  You didn’t hide the twinkle in your eye when your probing had moved one of us off our chess spot, so that we bumped the Knight next to us and now saw the Queen from a completely different angle.   Yes, there were some very crafty moves, and yet, you weren’t just crafty, you were interested in the growth of an individual and its direct effect on the church.  Open the doors of the mind, let there be new ideas, let our words speak to a church in need, not a church we wish existed.  These were your words, and you were an evangelist and advocate, eager to live out your faith on the hoof with great intention and integrity.   

We miss you, friend.  We see your hand at Paraclete Press, and you will always be with us as a reminder to keep our sights on the future and the needs of a hurting world — of which we are a part — and to live out that vocation in the market place.

We miss you, friend.  We remember your words and your impassioned plea that the theater of the church be vital and full, retelling the great stories of faith and the riches of God’s promises to his people.  Elements Theatre Company owns this charge.

We miss you, friend.  We hear your chortles and southern twang as you tell stories and enjoy a visit with friends and colleagues, believing that at the basis of relationships, commitment and faith were paramount.

It has been our great privilege to know you and work with you, to sit with you and talk with you, to be a part of the church together and serve its future.  

With our great love and affection,
Your friends and family at the Community of Jesus

And flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.  Hamlet V,ii

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Hearts that Welcome

By Sr. Nun Other

We did some fall housecleaning last night, starting with kitchen cupboards. Threw out some “lids to nowhere,” a melted turkey baster, and an old plastic measuring cup. It feels good to have dust-free, clutter-free cupboards, and a mental inventory of what’s available. I sometimes wonder what Mary’s house looked like. As Jesus’ mother, her life was always eventful, with an expectation for the unexpected. I imagine her home to be clean, orderly, and ready to welcome. But then I have a reputation for obsessive neatness. I prefer to think of it as stress avoidance. Friends with busy lives sometimes ask for advice, and it’s very basic: remove clutter, which I define as anything not necessary or beautiful. Beautiful is up to you—could be children’s art—or any number of things. To truly save time, avoid short-cuts—an oxymoron but true.

Psalm 84 tells of God’s lovely dwelling place, a place of peace and beauty that draws our weary hearts. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. “Selah.” Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

Kitchen

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