Follow the theme!
Friday Lauds opens with Psalm 51, perhaps the most famous of all the penitential psalms — Have mercy on me, O God. As we began Lauds last Friday, I thought again about the fact we always begin Friday morning asking God’s mercy. However, as we continued through the service, the word mercy began to present itself in other places — in the opening of the 2nd psalm # 143, O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in the brief response, Make me to hear your mercy in the morning; in the Gospel antiphon, By the inmost mercies of our God, the rising sun has visited us from on high; and the 4th verse of the Benedictus, to show mercy to our fathers. I realized that we had been moved through an entire service by the theme of God’s mercy!
This idea of a theme throughout a worship service — the Divine Office or the Eucharist — is not new. On the contrary, it is quite old! But the power of a theme to speak is not diminished by time, only enhanced. Mary Berry used to call these themes the “hidden gems.”
Credit for Chant Image:Concert of Gregorian Chant – Mdina, Malta