Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Cantor

Talk to Me today

In the Rule of St. Benedict, we find the instruction to “prefer nothing to the work of God.” The “work” to which Benedict refers is that of praying the Divine Office. In his monastery, the monks prayed the offices seven times a day, always coming from their various activities of work, recreation, or even sleep,  The number of Divine Offices prayed in monasteries today may vary, but the principal is still the same — “prefer nothing to the work of God.”

Sometimes, it is quite easy to stop what I am doing and attend the Office. Other times, it feels like an unwanted interruption. In either case, the opening chant of the Divine Office is always a reminder to me that God knows these thoughts and feelings I have. The service of Lauds, which means “praise,” opens with the text, “O Lord, open Thou my lips and my mouth will show forth Thy praise.” The other offices open with “O Lord, come to my aid and help me.”  In both cases, these simple opening chants, which are a “call and response,” remind me instantly that it is God’s action which “taps on my shoulder” and says “Remember and talk to me throughout your whole day.”

The Community of Jesus








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Illumination from the Cantigas de Santa Maria medieval-era manuscripts.

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