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).
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.