Beginning and Ending

by Cantor

Last week, we experienced the final days and funeral mass of one of our beloved monastic community members. Amazing it was to have such a celebration right at the time of the Feast of All Saints!

However, what truly struck me was the chant that is part of the reception of the body just prior to the vigil service: “Suscipe me Domine” (Uphold me, O Lord).

Gregorian chant, Suscipe me, Domine, Community of Jesus
This same “Suscipe” which is chanted prior to funeral vigils is also chanted at the service of monastic vows. So, the same prayer we offer at the beginning of our “monastic journey” is also offered at the time we conclude that journey here on earth. Its simple, syllabic melody highlights a statement of profound truth and consequence from Psalm 119 – a child-like request for God’s promised care. The sheer “tunefulness” of this chant is its most beautiful secret which allows us to easily learn it by heart. So in chanting this scripture, we join with others in taking their vows and, in the end, chant on their behalf, as well as our own, as they begin their new life in Heaven.

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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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