Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Cantor

Have mercy on me, O Lord

Miserere mei Deus, secumdum misericordiam tuam — Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to Your loving kindness. (Psalm 51). We begin the Divine Office of Lauds every Friday morning with this psalm. I was praying about what to write this week and then, quite gently, the antiphon for this psalm started going through my mind.

This particular antiphon, which is comprised of just the first three words of the first verse — Miserere mei, Deus — is a simple chant. It is made up of only three notes. Those three notes are the same ones we hear in the opening of “Mary had a little lamb” or “Three Blind Mice.” This is a chant I find myself unwittingly humming while running between activities!

I am amazed that this is one way in which chant becomes daily prayer. Not just sitting in the church, but going through the various activities of the day. It is so simple and child-like that the words which it upholds go through my mind without effort or even conscious thought. It is as though the chant is speaking to me and redirecting my thoughts back to God.

The Community of Jesus

 

 

 

 

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About Cantor

I have been a cantor for over 25 years and an organist for most of my life. Chanting with people at home and across the country is one of my greatest joys. I remember the days of staring at the section of our undergraduate music text thinking to myself "what are all those dots and WHY do I need to know about them?!" Now, 33 years later, I am so grateful that those "dots" have helped teach me many things about God and His love!

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