This is the first Saturday morning in awhile where I didn’t have to be up and out the door. Of course, others of the brood did– Sean worked at 6 am, Mary had cheer at 7 am and Dan is already at work.
The younger boys and I made bacon and have been just cleaning and relaxing with no plan. I forgot what that was like. I love it!
Here’s to the weekend and unstructured time. Just as important as our weekly routine!
Helping with the liturgical music has had a deep and lasting effect on my soul. For one thing, my piano skills are mediocre at best, so it is a humbling thing for me to play when I cannot coerce anyone else to do it. Very good for my ego!
But the real joy is in expanding the little that I do (did?) know about the liturgy, with the help of my pastor, Fr. Ryan Erlenbush. He has patiently introduced me to the Graduale Romanum, and is consistently encouraging to my fledgling attempts to sing the traditional chants. Often, I find that there are little pieces that I had perhaps sung before, at a different parish, a long time ago. They flow out my memories and into the open spaces of my heart.
Alma Redemptoris Mater was the first Gregorian chant I ever learned, taught to me by a dear friend when I had many young children underfoot. It’s not the solemn one, just the simple one used for vespers from Advent through Candlemas. Fr. Ryan has had me sing it at the end of Mass each week during that time. I sang it for my students at UGF the week before finals. I sing it in the car on my way to work. And I taught it to my daughters. It calms me.
“Loving Mother of our Savior, though open gate leading us to heaven, and Star of the Sea, help thy fallen people, help all those who seek to rise again.
Maiden who didst give birth, all nature wondering, to thy holy Lord Creator. Virgin before and Virgin always who received from Gabriel’s mouth this message from heaven, take pity on us poor sinners.”
Candlemas marks the end of the official Christmas season…time to look forward to Lent. Wishing you shining lights in these dark days of winter.
Some years back, you might know that I worked at the base chapel. Spent too many hours there. My little guys thought that active participation in the Mass included them ushering and bringing up the gifts EVERY SINGLE WEEK. As if we were the Magi family or some sort. My husband jokingly called us the “Von Trapp Family Liturgical Specialists.” Ouch. We took a well-deserved break to climb a few mountains. (Ahem.)
But music geeks and liturgical nerds like us are attracted like moths to a flame. I guess we cannot help it.
And so it happened that not only did my two youngest, ages 9 and 10, serve on the altar for Christmas Eve Mass, but there were four McGuires up there singing too. Thankfully, we are a big crowd, so we still had three participants out there praying. (Yes, the head count is off. Pete was in New Zealand with my parents. Tough gig!) But it was sooooo calming and lovely to sing Puer Natus with Dan and Maryellen and Patrick, all standing around the organ, and hearing that lovely melody roll off the back wall by the manger and imagine we were lulling the little baby to sleep.
So geeking out over the music seems to be my new hobby. At least for now, its okay to have a quorum of McGuires near the altar every week. I just don’t want to forget that the best participation in the liturgy requires no extra practices but just showing up and getting on my knees.
And its still Christmas, until Sunday. We’ll be including Puer Natus in the liturgy when Father baptizes a baby this weekend. In cordis jubilo!
Music and Faith….
Lots of folks have mentioned they saw me in the “What Women Want” section of the local Trib. Yup, it’s me. It’s nice to be noticed. And, since I am singing so much at Corpus Christi lately, I guess all complaints about the music are now directed at myself…good for the humility factor, that’s for sure….
Catholics seem to be known for their spectacularly banal worship “style.” I am one of those begging for more Gregorian chant, or English chant, or just plain old hymns.
It reminds me that the faith is ancient, and the struggle is an old one, and that God is still God in the heavens, and He still loves me and that salvation is possible because of Jesus. I need that, boy, do I ever need that!
Spare us Lord. I love the addition of a medieval instrument in this rendition. Great for Lenten meditation.
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What a shame that Ash Wednesday comes but once a year. For many of us, that’s the only opportunity…
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