LENT III: A prayer

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Holy God, as we enter into another week of our slow preparation, anticipating your saving passion, we turn our eyes away from our own sore insufficiency and lift them to your Holy Cross. We seek all the more earnestly to relinquish our dim will to your illumination. We ask you to help us to shed our petty self-concern, our failed self-sufficiency. We ask for your uplifting care.

In Paradise, our ancient home, a tree once stripped us utterly of life, for by giving us its fruit to eat, the enemy fed us death and we partook.

Today the Tree of thy most Holy Cross is raised upon the earth, filling all the world with joy and with thanksgiving, that we, partaking of its holy, life-giving fruit might once more be made whole, infused with your life.

We lift our living voices, praying: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

From God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter Paraclete Press

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Leaving All

By Sr. Fidelis

“You who have left all things and followed me, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”

This Gospel quote from Matthew takes on a new perspective during Lent. Whether we be leaving our agendas, our control, our comfort zones, to follow Jesus, he promises us much more in unlikely ways, including the promise of eternal life. Whatever we cling to so closely needs to be “relinquished” into his hands.

This Mode 1 antiphon begins on the Home Tone RE, and gently rises to its peak on centuplum (one hundred) one pitch above the Reciting Tone of LA. The pitch of TI gives this word an “acidic” edge as it descends to the FA MI on the last syllable, outlining an augmented 4th. Here is a classic example of Mode 1, utilizing the lower part of the range and giving a somber and mysterious element to the tonality of this antiphon.

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LENT II: God is a Storm

God is a storm. That is what leaps out at me from the psalmist’s imagery: God’s stormy thundering voice breaks the cedars. During the rest of the week, we will be encountering images in the Psalms of God as a refuge from the storms. Those are more appealing images. I prefer them to images of God’s storminess.

Yet, somehow both are true. God is a refuge from the storm, and God is the storm.

I’d rather skip the stormy images altogether. But Lent is an apt time to encounter the psalmist’s insistence on the God who is not just a harbor, but also a storm.

For Lent is a journey into unprotectedness. Lent is being willing to expose ourselves to storminess. Jesus moves from seeming unprotectedness in the wilderness to utter vulnerability on the cross. And Lent is an opportunity to ask how much energy we pour into protecting ourselves — from the storms we encounter on the path to true self-knowledge, from the storms we encounter when we genuinely love our neighbor, from the storms that are God, and the storms that God protects us from.

By Lauren Winner

Excerpted from God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter, Edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe (Paraclete Press)

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Reconciliation

I am blessed to be working on an international Symposium on Ecumenism and the Arts occurring in 2017, the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Reformation, in four countries and six different cities. I have been asking the Lord to give me the vision of the significance of this event in our time.

The world situation is certainly more dangerous than at any other time in my lifetime, and maybe ever, with the capability of a nuclear holocaust. And yet, we have recently had a reconciliation brought about after 1,000 years – that of the encounter between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. “Finally! We are brothers,” the Pope exclaimed. Seemingly, this meeting took place because of the persecution of Christians worldwide. One Orthodox cleric said, “We need to put aside internal disagreements at this tragic time…”

So hopefully in these dark days with the rise of secularism growing, the light of Christ will shine ever more brightly – that we might all be one!
Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

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Blessed…

By Sr. Fidelis

The Season of Lent is a wonderful time to look intently at the life of Jesus and at the example he has given us in his teachings and Parables.

Beati mundo corde is a Communion chant, based on the final three of the eight Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew.  This melody emphasizes the upper range of Mode 1, with its Reciting Tone of LA. Here is a melody that is in direct contrast to last week’s Mode1 chant, which stayed on the lower end of the Mode, hovering around the Home Tone RE. It’s fascinating to see (and hear) how much variety there is within a particular Modal “family”.

The first two phrases of Beati mundo express each Beatitude in two sub phrases, pivoting on the word quoniamfor.

The last Beatitude reaches the climax of the piece on the word beati, or blessed, before the final phrase, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorumfor theirs is the kingdom of heaven, gently descends to its final RE.

It is interesting to note that the climactic “beati”  leads to an angular, syllabic melodic patch on the word persecutionem – persecution, before returning to the graceful melodic line.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Beati Mundo Corde (Communion Mode1 B) :trad.Chant

Beati Mundo Corde

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LENT I: But How Do We Understand Lent?

Sometimes the etymology of a word can be helpful. Lent is derived from an Old English word meaning springtime. In Latin, lente means slowly. Therefore, Lent points to the coming of spring, and it invites us to slow down our lives so as to be able to take stock of ourselves. While that captures some of the traditional meaning of Lent, the popular mindset generally has a different focus, looking at Lent mostly as a season within which we are asked to refrain from certain normal, healthy pleasures so as to better ready ourselves for the feast of Easter.

To further our understanding, perhaps the foremost image for this is the biblical idea of the desert. Jesus, we are told, inorder to prepare for his public ministry, went voluntarily into the desert for forty days and forty nights, during which time he took no food, and, as the Gospel of Mark tells us, was put to the test by Satan, was with the wild animals, and was looked after by the angels.

Clearly this text is not to be taken literally to mean that for forty days Jesus took no food, but that he deprived himself of all the normal supports that protected him from feeling, full-force, his vulnerability, dependence and need to surrender in deeper trust to God the Father. And in doing this, we are told, he found himself hungry and consequently vulnerable to temptations from the devil, but also, by that same token, he was more open to the Father.

Lent has for the most part been understood as a time to imitate this, to metaphorically spend forty days in the desert like Jesus, unprotected by normal nourishment so as to have to face “Satan” and the “wild animals” and see whether the angels will indeed come and look after us when we reach that point where we can no longer look after ourselves.

Excerpt b2014-02-16 09.16.14y Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, From God For Us, Paraclete Press

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Come, It’s Time to Worship God

One of the primary functions of our “100 plus” foot Bell Tower is to signal our Community that it is time to gather together and worship the Lord.  We are part of a centuries old stream of Church tradition, calling the people of God to worship with the tolling of bells.  It is appropriate that the steady rhythm of our daily offices should be summoned by the steady tolling of a bell.  Fifteen minutes before each service of Midday and Vespers offices (Evensong on Saturdays), a single bell is tolled 40 times.
It is said this tradition began in Monastic houses in the early centuries of Christianity, St. Martin of Tours perhaps being the first to build a tower with large bells, like our own, in the 4th century.  As we grow with our own bells, I feel certain our commitment to this time-honored practice will root us more firmly in our calling to the worship of God.tower2

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Parting the Red Sea

By Sunset Septuagint

As I was thanking God for his miraculous protection after Winter Storm Jonas, I realized once again that we sit on a fragile piece of land. Although we may be more removed from some of the riots occurring in the large American cities, Cape Cod has its own threat of destruction.

This made me think of one of my favorite frescoes in our Church – Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. Moses looks pretty small standing between the gigantic waves on either side. The bottom of the waves where he is standing are almost black in color…..and yet he has both arms up stretching to God. His face is turned upward toward the large beautiful light in the blue sky beyond.

I wonder if Moses felt like he was tightrope walking, similar to the man going over Niagara Falls – if a lot of his energy had to go into keeping his arms uplifted – what if he looked down even for a second….

As a young person one of my favorite hymns was How firm a Foundation: ”When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.” (based on Isaiah 43:2)

CapeCod

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Into the Desert

Lent begins this week, with Ash Wednesday. We associate Lent with a time of both repentance and hopeful renewal. The life of our Lord Jesus becomes a model for us to contemplate in a deeper way.

The first Sunday in Lent often includes the Gospel account of Jesus being led into the desert, where we has tempted by Satan, and fasted for 40 days and nights before beginning his earthly ministry.

This story is aptly portrayed in the Gospel Canticle Antiphon, Ductus est Jesus. This Mode I antiphon sticks to the lower part of the Modal range throughout, only touching on the Reciting Note LA three times, and never ascending above this pitch. It gives the piece a sense of gravity and mystery. One thing to note are the quilismas (saw-toothed notes) on the word Spiritu. They give an upward sense of energy to the text.

“Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit, that he might be tempted by the devil; and when he had fasted for forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry”.

Into the Desert

Ductus Est Jesus (Antiphon Mode1 A) :trad.Chant

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Inside Out

By Sr. Nun Other

The earth is composed of layers: surface, crust, mantle, outer core and inner core. And so are we. I have a surface-self, carefully constructed of what I want others to see. Successive layers, less in my control, lead to the heart of the matter. Psalm 51:10 petitions, Create in me a pure heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. God promises in Ezekiel 36:26-27, A new heart I will give you; and a new spirit I will put within you. While I’m busy trying, God is busy transforming. And I hope He finds my heart, fallow ground, plowed and waiting for the essence of Christ to grow.

Inside Out

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