Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

by Sr Fidelis

We’ve been looking at the four elements that make up the Divine Office; Psalmody, Hymns, Readings, and Prayers. This week, we’ll listen to Compline, and hear how each of the elements support the service. Many of the elements are in Latin, because that was the original language of the chant, but the actual prayers are in English. This week, we’ll focus on the opening prayers, the hymn, the antiphon and psalmody.

You may want to track below as you listen to these first elements.

1. Opening Sentences  (in Latin)   Prayers   Taken from  Psalm 40.  Followed by “Glory be to the Father”

2. Confession & Absolution   (in English)   Prayers  We begin by confessing our sins to God, and we have the assurance of his forgiveness.

3. Hymn  (in Latin )  Hymn  A simple tune and text which speaks of God’s protection throughout the night.

                                                 To you before the end of light,
                                                Creator of all things, we beg that,
                                                With your usual compassion,
                                                you would be a protector to guard us.


4. Antiphon   (in Latin)  Psalmody  The Antiphon leads us into the proper tune or “Mode” of the psalm.

5. Psalms  (in Latin) Psalmody  Psalms 4, 91 and 134 have always been the traditional Compline Psalms because of their reference to protection and the night.

 (Next week we will look at the 2nd half of Compline)

  I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.     Psalm 4:9

This entry was posted in Gregorian Chant, Liturgy of the Hours, Prayer, Scripture by Sr. Fidelis. Bookmark the permalink.


About Sr. Fidelis

I am 46 years old, and have been a Sister at the Community of Jesus for 26 years. Having grown up here, I have been singing Gregorian chant since I was 10! I was very blessed to study Gregorian chant with Dr. Mary Berry in Cambridge, England and here at home. Recently, I have been able to do some radio and tv interviews, sharing about the blessings of Gregorian chant. I love leading chant workshops, and have been able to do that in the US and abroad.

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