By Sr. Spero
One of the beauties of Gregorian chant has nothing to do with music. By singing the psalms over and over, chant penetrates the soul, and the psalms take on layers of meaning. Monks and nuns for centuries have known this and have experienced the insights that bubble up from the psalms during the Daily Office. This is one example.
For years I have read the translation of Psalm 118:11-12 during Sunday Lauds. “They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them off. They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns.” I always thought of this as a description of war. But last Sunday I realized it is a description of peace. Even though the enemy (thoughts, emotions, addictions) surround like buzzing bees, they disappear quickly—in the name of the Lord. This could be a definition of Christian peace, based on the reality that bees of one kind or another will always be buzzing around us. Christian peace, not based on calm or absence of conflict, but peace based on the knowledge that when we call on the name of the Lord, there is victory.