Lift up your eyes!
By Sr. Fidelis
This week is the anniversary of the Dedication of the Church of the Transfiguration at the Community of Jesus, and we opened the festivities with First Vespers on Saturday night. The chants selected for the feast were pulled from various liturgies, pieces written hundreds of years ago for the dedication of other churches and monasteries — Texts from the Old and New Testaments, and poetry speaking of adoring and worshiping God in his Holy Temple. One of the hymns we sing is by Prudentius (4th-5th century), a writer who lived in exciting but fearful times in the history of the Church and the world. He begins the hymn: Whosoever you are who seek Christ, raise your eyes on high; there you will be allowed to see a sign of eternal glory!
In our weekly chant class this week, one of our Community members shared his thoughts on this hymn – the encouragement of knowing that we are not alone in our feelings of ups and downs, that we are not alone in the living through of difficult and troubled times. This hymn-writer was encouraging us: Lift up your eyes! It was clear as he shared that the message of this hymn was touching a number of people deeply. It was not just another piece of music to learn but a very meaningful reminder, encouragement, and link to Christians through the ages.