Be not unbelieving…
By Sr. Fidelis
The Communion for the 2nd Week of Easter comes from the Gospel of John – Jesus’ words to Thomas.
“Thrust your hand and know the place of the nails, and be not unbelieving but faithful.” is the literal translation.
There is a wonderful sense of conversation in this serene Mode 6 chant; two syllabic phrases punctuated with Alleluias.
The structural notes of LA (reciting tone) and FA (home tone) serve as the “backbone” of the piece.
One of the beauties of this simple chant is the actual Latin text. Jesus tells Thomas to thrust his hand and know the place of the nails….not just see them, or touch them, but know them.
The original notation highlights the text in several spots. In the opening line, there is a 3 note neum called a “torculus”, (low-high-low) on the last syllable of the word tuam. The shape of this neum indicates that there is more emphasis on the 2nd and 3rd notes, rather than them all being even. This is called a “special” torculus, and gives a sense of lift to the word. On the final line of the chant, we see this same sign on the accented syllable of the word fidelis, and in the final alleluia, only this time, it looks angular. This tells us to emphasize all 3 syllables of the word. You will hear these subtleties, which add points of interest and arrival in the overall scope of the chant.