Epiphany Reflection

By Sr. Nun Other 

The Star was God’s birth announcement to the world, beckoning unbelievers to meet His Son. It has been said that the Magi each received a gift for their sacrifice: Caspar, who offered gold, the gift of charity; Melchior, the bearer of myrrh, humility and truth; and Balthasar, for frankincense (symbol of prayer), the gift of faith. They knew without “knowing” and followed without question.
 
My personal prayer for 2014 is to follow each Star that leads to Jesus, without demanding to first know the outcome.
 
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Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

The time to teach chant: NOW!
 
Over the course of the past six weeks, I have spoken with a number of people who are either sponsoring a chant “teaching event” or teaching one themselves. The sheer mixture of people is truly extraordinary; ranging from music teachers to folks who simply love chant and want to bring in a person to help them spread their enthusiasm for chant.

        
To these people, for all of your efforts and willingness, I say “thank you and God multiply your efforts!”  I find myself inspired by their creativity in how they plan to teach and their verve to make sure that their students have every possible aid to learn the chant. They set an example for all of us that the time for teaching chant is ever-present. One need not wait for a week-long series of seminars to teach (though those are indeed wonderful) — chant teaching can happen during a five minute talk prior to a Sunday prelude! My New Years prayer for all of us is that we might be so on fire to offer our love for chant to others, that our own creativity burgeons with ideas of how to do so!  
 
I have often quoted Mary Berry, and will do so again to close for this week: “You must pass this on!”
 
Blessed Epiphany!
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Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

by Sr Fidelis  
 
Transfiguration

 
The Feast of the Transfiguration is normally celebrated on August 6th. We celebrate it on the Sunday closest to the 6th.  It is the “name” feast for our Church, and is celebrated with full solemnity! The Feast has an interesting history. Although it was celebrated in the East from earliest times, it was not officially recognized in the West until the fifteenth century. In 1457 Pope Callixtus III ordered its observance, to mark a victory gained over the Turks a year earlier.
 
The Gregorian Chants for this feast are both borrowed and new.  Because of its late entry into the Church’s calendar of feasts, many of the pieces chosen were previously composed, yet their texts were valid for this particular event.  Such is the case with the famous hymn by Prudentius (348 -c. 410) Quicumque Christus, which he wrote for the Epiphany.
 
Listen to this beautiful hymn, while reading the English text below.
 

Whosoever you are who seek Christ, raise your eyes on high;
there, you will be allowed to see a sign of eternal glory.

We perceive something brilliant;  may it not come to an end;
Sublime, lofty, unending, more ancient than heaven and chaos.
 
Here is that king of the nations and the king of the Jewish people,
the one promised to our father Abraham and to his offspring forever.
 
Him, with the same prophets as witnesses who also pointed to him,
the author and Father commands us to hear and believe.
 
Glory be to you, O Lord , who appeared today,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for everlasting ages.  Amen.
 
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Detail of Peter at the Transfiguration – Carved Lintel over West Door – Church of the Transfiguration
 

An Epiphany of Thought

by Sr Nunother  

On Epiphany Sunday, our congregation sang the carol We Three Kings. I was rather enjoying my own vocal rendition, when a spark of new understanding intervened: the gifts were not presented just this once, but many times over. Our lives mirror the three gifts. Those whose journey is  most defined by grief and sorrow offer myrrh, others frankincense through sincere prayers, praise and a love for life. And in the very gifted, I see gold — rich voices raised in song, words well placed or spoken, or an artist’s sculpted inspiration.  We give everything we are, and yet we give nothing that isn’t already His.


 

Late Have I Loved You

by Artist Eye  

I love the magnificent mystery of Epiphany. The feast inhabits my imagination: a brocade slipper stepping in the stable mud, the glint of gold dropped in the straw, an exotic fragrance clinging to the swaddling cloth. These glimpses of earthly majesty upon their knees bring my own self conceits to repentance and lift my ordinary impulses to a higher purpose.