Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Cantor

“Even the dogs” 

In 2007, I had the privilege of being part of a group of four cantors who spent the entire summer studying chant with Mary Berry in Cambridge, England. Dr. Berry taught us much about chant, and welcomed us as part of her family which included her dogs, Kai and Tien.

Never one to miss an opportunity to teach chant through daily life, Dr. Berry would chant an ancient Gregorian grace before meals. On the surface, that did not seem a particular surprise. However, what made that chant memorable were the dogs, Kai and Tien. It made no difference where the dogs were or, even what time it was. All Dr. Berry had to do was begin this simple and child-like little chant, Benedicite, and the dogs “came-a-running!” Their faces expressed a level of joy that made us all howl in laughter – just like Kai and Tien. Dinner time was a time to rejoice and they knew it!

I will never forget the beaming look in Dr. Berry’s eyes as she gave each dog their treat after they dutifully sat through the remainder of the chant. This was one of Dr. Berry’s favorite ways to show that all creatures – even the dogs -had a joyful response to the loving voice of their Master!

The Community of Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cartoon of St Philip’s Schola © Kath Walker 2011

Not Forgotten

By Sr. Nun Other

Yesterday was a day of disappointment in which “wonderful” never happened. I (along with some others) was waiting for something important and long delayed to arrive. By 5:00 PM, I was a bit of a wreck — I dropped a cookie jar, tripped while cutting garden vegetables (paring knife in hand), and was advised to sit down with a nice glass of ice water. Day was followed by a night of conflict-drenched dream sequences, in which I bumbled around, a useless bystander. But I awoke expectant and admitted to my impatient self that God’s timing is always perfect. I entered the new day with this promise from Psalm 63:7: Because you are my helper, I will sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

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Holy Cargo

By Melodious Monk

I found this meditation inspiring and full of vision for the potential of life with God.

The theological truths about providence and guidance, about the ever-presence of God, and about his merciful indwelling in us must become concrete, lived possessions. Then we will succeed in living through the experiences and events of workdays and holidays, of bright hours and dark hours, right up to that central point at which God reveals himself as their deepest meaning. The secret, holy cargo entrusted to these events we are living through consists of his questions, his guidance, his leadership, his punishment, his judgment, his consolation, and help. 

Temples of God are located not only where churches are still standing. Rather, let the great temple arches stretch and raise themselves up wherever the human heart worships, wherever the knee bends, wherever the spirit opens itself, and where man’s highest potential is fulfilled by those who worship and love.    

The life of God is lived within us, within the deepest center of our being. Man becomes truly himself precisely at the point where he recognizes that the highest and brightest Being dwells within him. Moreover, he will rediscover himself and his own identity, as well as his faith in his own individual value, mission, and life options, to the degree that he comprehends human life as streaming forth out of the mystery of God. Then all that is negative and threatening is surmounted, its futility is exposed from within and simultaneously disempowered.

     -Father Alfred Delp, S. J.

The biggest question I always find myself asking God is “Why?”  Why is this or that happening, why, why, why? I’m always looking, rather un-patiently, for God to change some parts of my life. And if you are like me, with anything I bring to God I’m usually looking for a big, clear, dramatic (and swift) change! In my haste, I run rampant over the little secret joys the Holy Spirit tries to teach me each day. I think Father Delp has written out a vision, and a possible road map for how our lives can mysteriously be lived out to their best and most satisfying fulfillment.

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Graceful Waiting

By Sr. Nun Other

I’m aware of my impatience and its demands that escalate into anxiety. Impatience can be masked as virtue when perceived as efficiency. But instant results aren’t necessarily of God, at least according to scripture. Here are two examples:

Habakkuk 2:3  For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Wait with expectation. Hope without reservation. Trust in God’s infinite wisdom.

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