Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

by Cantor

Teamwork and the Divine Office: Chanting the Psalms
 
Teamwork greatly improves the chanting of the psalms. Why so? The Divine Office is itself a type of teamwork – conversation between the Almighty and all those joined in the chanting. In our chant rehearsals, we often discuss the need to look at the people chanting on the other side of the church and in a very real sense, “hand them” the  end of the verse so that they might receive it and continue into the next verse. When this happens, a new conversation begins between the cantors as well as an increased sense of refreshment!
 
The joy of this type of “locking together” as we chant the psalms, is that the Psalms take on new life and in turn, propel both us and the liturgy forward. Is this not at least one of the results of worship – the work of the people? But in this case, we are not tired by the work but rather, energized and uplifted! 
 
The chanting of the psalms then demonstrates teamwork at its best – all carry the work so that none carry it alone – each persons’ prayers aiding the others. Here, I believe, is one of the greatest gifts of the Divine Office, and what St. Benedict may well have known, calling for seven “rounds of prayer” through the day, to interrupt and rejuvenate his brothers. This may well be one of the best reasons to chant the Divine Office!
 
Have a blessed week!
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