Thursday, October 31, 2013

"'Catholic' confession is good for the soul - says Archbishop of Canterbury"

In the Telegraph.   Things are happening! 
The Most Rev Justin Welby advised churchgoers that it could be an “enormously
powerful” experience to unburden themselves to a confessor, even if it was
not always a “bunch of laughs”.

His comments came as he addressed the heads of other churches – including the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England Wales, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols – about divisions between Christians.

Although Archbishop Welby comes from the evangelical wing of Anglicanism, his personal spiritual director is a Swiss Roman Catholic priest, Fr Nicolas Buttet, and he is a strong advocate of Catholic worship styles.

He spoke of being part of a wider “catholic tradition”, adding: “I’ve learnt over the last 10 years about the great sacrament of reconciliation: confession.

“It is enormously powerful and hideously painful when it’s done properly … it’s really horrible when you go to see your confessor – I doubt you wake up in the morning and think, this is going to be a bunch of laughs.

“It’s really uncomfortable. But through it God releases forgiveness and absolution and a sense of cleansing.”

He acknowledged that he had his own personal struggles, remarking: “I’m an Archbishop; I know about the absence of humility. I struggle with it.”

Although more commonly associated with Catholicism, the Church of England has long offered a form of confession to worshippers, on request.

Anglican priests meet parishioners to hear confession face to face, often in their own home, without such trappings as confessional booths, and offer absolution for sins.

Speaking at a meeting at Lambeth Palace, organised by the group “Churches Together in England”, he also urged Christians to recognise the Church’s racist past.

“I often think about the fact that in the 1960s when Afro-Caribbean people first came to this country they were not made welcome in our churches,” he said.

“It’s the reality; it was a sin, a very bad sin.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Introit for the Solemnity of All Saints: Gaudeamus Omnes

CPDL provides the text and an English translation:
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino diem festum celebrantes
sub honore Sanctorum omnium:
de quorum solemnitate gaudent angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei.

Exsultate iusti in Domino: rectos decet collaudatio.
Gloria Patri...

Let us all rejoice in the Lord celebrating the feast
in honour of all the saints,
in which solemnity the angels rejoice, while the Archangels praise the Son of God.

Ring out your joy to the lord, O you just; for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.
Glory be to the Father ...

(Although, you know:  I do believe that the singers, "Collana Diretta da Bonafacio G Baroffia," have hit a wrong note there in that video; they forgot to sing the flat. Here's how the Benedictines of Clear Creek sing Gaudeamus for the Feast of St. Benedict:

And here's an mp3 from the Brazilian Benedictines for All Saints, which also contains the flat.  Just to get things straightened out.)

Gaudeamus is used as the Introit for a number of saints' days during the Great Church Year (see note below); there are some variants included at that link, so you can see how the text is adjusted for other feasts.  It's quite a beautiful text, especially this one, I think.

Here's the full chant score:

As I've noted before, the use of Gaudeamus as Introit for various saints' days apparently began with The Feast of St. Agatha in the 3rd Century.   It sounds to me as if, after the chant had been used in that way for some time, it seemed natural to use it at All Saints as the Introit, too, again tying the Church Year together via the liturgy and its chant propers.  Here's a quote discussing "Josquin's Mass for All Saints and the Book of Revelation" in a book titled Symbolic scores: Studies in the music of the Renaissance:
It should be pointed out, however, that the Introit "Gaudemus" - as ascertained already by Helmuth Ostoff - is also used for a large number of saints' days as well as for the feast of All Saints (November 1). The Introit sung in the Mass of Saint Agatha (February 5) is the oldest version. Its text is the same as that of Example 1, except that it has "Agathae martyres: de cujus passione" (Agatha martyr, at whose passion) instead of "Mariae virginis: de cujus assumptionae" (the Virgin Mary, for whose Assumption). From the eleventh century onwards, the antiphon appears in at least seven other Masses. In the Introit of All Saints the text passage quoted above reads "Sanctorum omnium de quorum solemnitate" (of all the Saints, at whose solemnity).

Below is the "Example 1" referred to above:

The videos below are recordings of that Josquin mass - called Missa Gaudeamus - referred to in the link above; wow, it's just completely gorgeous.   It's based on this Introit, and the motif runs throughout.

This video has the Kyrie and Gloria:

This one the Credo:

This the Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei:

No information about the musicians is given at the YouTube page, but I believe - from the CD cover art included - that it may be "De Labyrintho & Walter Testolin" - which would be this, I think.

There's some really interesting stuff at the link above, about this Mass specifically:
Although the Mass combines the techniques of cantus firmus and ostinato, it is generally the incipt of the Introit which, thematically, occupies the foreground.  In the Ms. Cambrai 18 the motif even appears several times with the word "gaudeamus" instead of the litugical text. The ostinato technique has its culmination in the final Angus dei, where, as Jeremy Noble remarks, "the memorable opening phrase of the introit it put through a vertiginous series of transpositions."  It has never been noticed that the arrangement of the total numbers of "Gaudeamus" statements in the five sections of the Mass is anything but proportional.  The motif occurs 6, 14, 2, 5+7, and 4+23 times respectively.  If we take into account that it appears more often in Agnus dei III, which is 58 bars long, than in the Kyrie and Gloria which together make up 220 bars, and that it appears only twice in the Credo which contains 274 bars, the conclusion seems inescapable that Josquin deliberately determined the various numbers of statements.  Evidence of the justness of this conclusion can be found by comparing the present Mass with Josquin's Missa Ave maris stella.  Both works are based on a Gregorian chant, the incipits of which are used in ever-changing melodic and rhythmic shapes.  Moreover, both present thd cantus prius factus in the tenor.  Contrary, however, to the irregular distribution of the "Gaudeamus" motifs in the various Mass sections and the individual voices, the employment of the "Ave maris stella" incipit is much more balanced.  Noble says:  " senses that in Ave maris stella the exuberance of Gaudeamus has begun to be tamed, even spiritualized."
Now the interesting thing about all that, according to the author of Symbolic scores: Studies in the music of the Renaissance, Willem Elders, is that it helps him make the case that this Mass was written to celebrate All Saints' Day - and not, as had been previously (and it seems universally) supposed,  written for the Feast of the Assumption - another of the feast days that used Gaudeamus as its Introit.Continuing on, the writer says:
The "Gaudeamus" motif in Josquin's Mass of the same name has more than a purely musical significance.  It functions, as I shall now attempt to show, as a sign which refers explicitly to the composer's profession of faith.  On the basis of the allegorical meaning of the numbers 6, 14, 2, 5, 7, 4 and 23 (see above), it can be said that the Mass in all probability was intended as an All Saints' Day liturgy and that the application of number symbolism may have been inspired by the Book of Revelation.

I haven't finished reading his argument - it's a long one, and he believes van Eyck's "Adoration of the Lamb," from the Ghent Altarpiece, is involved! - but it's certainly an interesting one so far.   ("4" stands for the Cross - and "23" for the 23 times the sign of the cross is made during the liturgy of the mass.

"Why 23 times?" you ask?  "[The] number [is understood to be] a reference to the just in the age of the law (10) and in the age of grace (13).  The law is valid for both ages (10+10), that is, the ages of the Old and New Convenant, while faith in the threefold God (+3) is an added characteristic for the New Testament.")

Now I ask you:  who doesn't like stuff like this?  In any case, it's absolutely a perfect tale for a blog like this one; the amazing part played by Gregorian chant in the history of the West!

There's quite a lot at this Wikipedia page about Missa Gaudeamus, too.

The Communion Song for the Solemnity of All Saints: Beati Mundo Corde

Here it's sung by the Schola of the Vienna Hofburgkapelle:

The text for this proper comes from Matthew 5 and his version of the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Gospel reading for this year - Year C - is from Luke's version of the Beatitudes:
Luke 6:20-31

Jesus looked up at his disciples and said:

"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
"Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
"Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
"Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Here are all the propers on the day - the first link is to an mp3 of each one - from the Brazilian Benedictines:
Die 1 novembris
Omnium Sanctorum
Introitus: Ps. 32 Gaudeamus... Sanctorum omnium (3m09.8s - 2969 kb) score

Graduale: Ps. 33, 10. V. 11b Timete Dominum (2m33.1s - 2395 kb) score

Alleluia: Mt. 11, 28 Venite ad me (3m34.5s - 3355 kb) score

Offertorium: Sap. 3, 1.2.3 Iustorum animæ (2m25.8s - 2281 kb) score

Communio: Mt. 5, 8.9.10 Beati mundo corde (1m29.8s - 1408 kb) score

William Byrd set Beati Mundo Corde, but his composition does not seem to be online.  Here's one, though, from Polish composer Zielenski Mikolaj, composed in around 1611.

Not much is known about Zielanski, but he's an interesting case; here's his entry at Wikipedia.
Mikołaj Zieleński (Zelenscius, birth and death dates unknown) was a Polish composer, organist and Kapellmeister to the primate Baranowski, Archbishop of Gniezno.

Zieleński's only known surviving works are two 1611 liturgical cycles of polychoral works, the Offertoria/Communes totius anni. These were dedicated to the Archbishop of Gniezno, Wojciech Baranowski. The whole comprises eight part-books and a ninth book, the Partitura pro organo, which constitutes the organ accompaniment. This publication contains in all 131 pieces written for various vocal and also vocal and instrumental ensembles, all with organ accompaniment.

The Venetian publication does not only comprise the offertories and communions; we find there also over a dozen other pieces, such as hymns, antiphons, a magnificat, and even three instrumental fantasias. In his compositions Zieleński relies on his own creative invention and does not, in general, make use of the cantus firmi. The few pieces which a pre-existent melody may be traced out are based not on a plainsong melody but on the melodies of Polish songs. The sets consist of large-scale double- and triple-choir antiphons, as well as some monodic works typical of the Seconda pratica style of early Monteverdi. Zieleński's music is the first known Polish music set in the style of the Baroque.

You can also get Free scores by Mikołaj Zieleński in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki).

Here's something called Beati Mundo Corde that to me is musically interesting;  I believe it comes from Howard Goodall's "Enchanted Voices" CD.  Apparently there are 8 different settings - perhaps one for each Beati?   That's a great idea, actually!  (Listen to samples of the other pieces here at the UK site.)  I always say we don't do nearly enough with the Beatitudes in the West, although there are many, many musical settings for them in the East.  So I'm glad to see this.

Personally I could do without the shaking statue thing, and I advise listening rather than watching.

All of the Beatitudes are at this YouTube page:
Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 5:3-11 KJB

There's another one of these at YouTube; this one is titled "Beati Qui Lugent - Blessed are they that mourn":

Here's the All Saints' Day Collect:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

And this is the New Advent entry for All Saints':
Solemnity celebrated on the first of November. It is instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts during the year.

In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighbouring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all. The first trace of this we find in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. We also find mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom (407). At first only martyrs and St. John the Baptist were honoured by a special day. Other saints were added gradually, and increased in number when a regular process of canonization was established; still, as early as 411 there is in the Chaldean Calendar a "Commemoratio Confessorum" for the Friday after Easter. In the West Boniface IV, 13 May, 609, or 610, consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary. Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November. A basilica of the Apostles already existed in Rome, and its dedication was annually remembered on 1 May. Gregory IV(827-844) extended the celebration on 1 November to the entire Church. The vigil seems to have been held as early as the feast itself. The octave was added by Sixtus IV (1471-84).

The photo below is labeled "All Saints Day 2010 at Skogskyrkogården in Stockholm" - a photo by Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0):

Blessed All Saints' Day (one of my favorite feasts of the year) to all.   And let me just add here the reading I love so much for this day (one of the first readings I remember hearing), from the BCP Lectionary:
Ecclesiasticus 44:1-10,13-14

1 Let us now sing the praises of famous men,          our ancestors in their generations.
2 The Lord apportioned to them* great glory,
          his majesty from the beginning.
3 There were those who ruled in their kingdoms,
          and made a name for themselves by their valour;
          those who gave counsel because they were intelligent;
          those who spoke in prophetic oracles;
4 those who led the people by their counsels
          and by their knowledge of the people’s lore;
          they were wise in their words of instruction;
5 those who composed musical tunes,
          or put verses in writing;
6 rich men endowed with resources,
          living peacefully in their homes—
7 all these were honoured in their generations,
          and were the pride of their times.
8 Some of them have left behind a name,
          so that others declare their praise.
9 But of others there is no memory;
          they have perished as though they had never existed;
          they have become as though they had never been born,
          they and their children after them.
10 But these also were godly men,
          whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten;
13 Their offspring will continue for ever,
          and their glory will never be blotted out.
14 Their bodies are buried in peace,
          but their name lives on generation after generation.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

By the secret ladder, disguised....

In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised—oh, happy chance!—
In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest.

From St. John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul, the list of "spiritual imperfections" (AKA "character defects") as applied to "beginners" in the spiritual life continues; this chapter deals with issues that arise with respect to "avarice, in the spiritual sense."
Of some imperfections which some of these souls are apt to have, with respect to the second capital sin, which is avarice, in the spiritual sense.

Many of these beginners have also at times great spiritual avarice. They will be found to be discontented with the spirituality which God gives them; and they are very disconsolate and querulous because they find not in spiritual things the consolation that they would desire. Many can never have enough of listening to counsels and learning spiritual precepts, and of possessing and reading many books which treat of this matter, and they spend their time on all these things rather than on works of mortification and the perfecting of the inward poverty of spirit which should be theirs. Furthermore, they burden themselves with images and rosaries which are very curious; now they put down one, now take up another; now they change about, now change back again; now they want this kind of thing, now that, preferring one kind of cross to another, because it is more curious. And others you will see adorned with agnusdeis and relics and tokens, like children with trinkets. Here I condemn the attachment of the heart, and the affection which they have for the nature, multitude and curiosity of these things, inasmuch as it is quite contrary to poverty of spirit, which considers only the substance of devotion, makes use only of what suffices for that end and grows weary of this other kind of multiplicity and curiosity. For true devotion must issue from the heart, and consist in the truth and substance alone of what is represented by spiritual things; all the rest is affection and attachment proceeding from imperfection; and in order that one may pass to any kind of perfection it is necessary for such desires to be killed.

2. I knew a person who for more than ten years made use of a cross roughly formed from a branch that had been blessed, fastened with a pin twisted round it; he had never ceased using it, and he always carried it about with him until I took it from him; and this was a person of no small sense and understanding. And I saw another who said his prayers using beads that were made of bones from the spine of a fish; his devotion was certainly no less precious on that account in the sight of God, for it is clear that these things carried no devotion in their workmanship or value. Those, then, who start from these beginnings and make good progress attach themselves to no visible instruments, nor do they burden themselves with such, nor desire to know more than is necessary in order that they may act well; for they set their eyes only on being right with God and on pleasing Him, and therein consists their covetousness. And thus with great generosity they give away all that they have, and delight to know that they have it not, for God’s sake and for charity to their neighbour, no matter whether these be spiritual things or temporal. For, as I say, they set their eyes only upon the reality of interior perfection, which is to give pleasure to God and in naught to give pleasure to themselves.

3. But neither from these imperfections nor from those others can the soul be perfectly purified until God brings it into the passive purgation of that dark night whereof we shall speak presently. It befits the soul, however, to contrive to labour, in so far as it can, on its own account, to the end that it may purge and perfect itself, and thus may merit being taken by God into that Divine care wherein it becomes healed of all things that it was unable of itself to cure. Because, however greatly the soul itself labours, it cannot actively purify itself so as to be in the least degree prepared for the Divine union of perfection of love, if God takes not its hand and purges it not in that dark fire, in the way and manner that we have to describe.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Seen and heard today at Divine Service: "Thou Visitest the Earth"

Maurice Greene's beautiful "Thou Visitest the Earth," his composition based on today's  Psalm 65. Here it's sung (exquisitely!) by the Choir of New College, Oxford.  (Listen to more from this great choir here, at their webcast page.)

The Communion Hymn was St. Thomas Aquinas' beautiful Adoro te devote ("Humbly I adore Thee, verity unseen").  The English words of the hymn (#314 in the 1982 Hymnal) are copyright, but here's a version in Latin - sung by "The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx (conductor)" - with a metrical English translation below:

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis verius.

O memoriale mortis Domini!
Panis vivus, vitam præstans homini!
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.

Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo sanguine:
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ. Amen

    Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen,
    Who Thy glory hidest 'neath these shadows mean;
    Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
    Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.

    Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;
    Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
    I believe whate'er the Son of God hath told;
    What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.

    On the Cross lay hidden but thy Deity,
    Here is hidden also Thy Humanity:
    But in both believing and confessing, Lord,
    Ask I what the dying thief of Thee implored.

    Thy dread wounds, like Thomas, though I cannot see,
    His be my confession, Lord and God, of Thee,
    Make my faith unfeigned ever-more increase,
    Give me hope unfading, love that cannot cease.

    O memorial wondrous of the Lord's own death;
    Living Bread, that giveth all Thy creatures breath,
    Grant my spirit ever by Thy life may live,
    To my taste Thy sweetness never-failing give.

    Pelican of mercy, Jesus, Lord and God,
    Cleanse me, wretched sinner, in Thy Precious Blood:
    Blood where one drop for human-kind outpoured
    Might from all transgression have the world restored.

    Jesus, whom now veiled, I by faith descry,
    What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny,
    That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,
    With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee. Amen

Today's lovely collect is this one:
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is another very ancient one; from the 6th Century at least, given the reference in Hatchett to the Leonine SacramentaryHis (Hatchett's) Commentary says that:
The prayer is among a series for use at Vespers in the Leonine sacramentary (no.598).  The Gelasian appoints it as the initial prayer of the eighth of the sixteen Sunday Masses (no. 1209), and the Gregorian supplement has it as the collect (no. 1168) for the fourteenth Sunday after (the) Pentecost (octave).  The Sarum missal and earlier Prayer Books associate it with the fourteenth Sunday after Trinity.  The message is clear and forthright:  only if we love what God commands can we render cheerful obedience, and for this we need the gifts of faith, hope, and charity.  The Latin form as "that we may deserve to obtain what you promise," but Cranmer eliminated any idea of merit from the collect.
Good old Cranmer, emphasizing Grace above all - and that's a good idea, too, in my view.   That theme goes very well with the motet above as well, which exalts the good gifts of God.  It's also perfect for the Gospel reading for today, the story of the Publican and the Pharisee; that one's entirely about the centrality of Grace.

I was thinking about "gratitude" today; it's normal to want to express it for the beauty of the world, and for other good and pleasing things (including Maurice Greene's musical talent!).

My dog and I took a nice long walk in the hills today, and got our blood rushing and our cheeks all rosy - and then we went to the dog park, where we saw a Jack Russell Terrier and a German Shepherd, both puppies, chasing 2 Italian greyhounds around the place.  (They never came close to catching them.)  A Bernese Mountain Dog got into the act, too, and a couple of mutts, including mine.

It was a beautiful day, and the dogs were loving it too.   Easy to understand the Psalmist's desire to thank God for "crowning the year" with such a day.....

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Mass in G minor

This is Part 1 of 2, containing the Kyrie, the Gloria, and the Credo:

And here's Part 2 - the Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei:

The singers here are The Choir of Westminster Cathedral. From the YouTube page
If you're interested in purchasing the CD, it is available at either Arkivmusic:

Or at Amazon:

The CD also includes other choral works by Vaughan Williams, and Mass by Judith Bingham.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Staple Singers - Sit down servant

I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers (1972)

Clear Creek Monastery, 2013

This is a 52-minute version of a shorter video that's been around for a number of years now, I believe.   Clear Creek is a Benedictine Monastery in Oklahoma; the video addresses the topics of the order in general, and of Clear Creek in particular.  There are short segments about the Offices, as well.

"Darkness as my constant companion"

By Giles Fraser, at The Guardian.  In an online conversation with an atheist not long ago, I said that the spiritual life - worship, prayer, the way of thinking - was one of the primary things that helps me keep myself together enough to function.  (Said atheist proceeded to assure me that "You don't need God; you can stay sober on your own, using your inner strength and with help from good friends."  I told him how much that sounded like every conversation I'd ever had with religious fundamentalists; all fundamentalists, after all, know what's wrong with everybody else and feel sure they can prescribe the single correct answer - their own answer - to people they don't know or know anything at all about - no matter what any of us may have learned about ourselves from personal experience.)

Here's Fraser on the same topic:
There is a deafening voice in my head that keeps insisting I shouldn't write about this. Haven't we had enough of an overly confessional culture that encourages us to spill our emotional misery into the public realm, there to titillate or amuse or sell magazines? So it's with huge reluctance that I approach this subject. But more and more, I find I cannot write about faith without saying what faith struggles with. And why it matters, at least to me.

I try and put on a pretty good public face. And it's easy to become an expert at jokey, middle-distance relationships. But darkness, for a few years now, has been a constant companion. And I am ashamed to say that on a couple of occasions I have scared myself by peering a little too eagerly into the possibility of non-being.

Yes, the Romantic obsession with this sort of thing is total bollocks. But so, too, is the embarrassment that turns life into an endless game of let's pretend. The advantage with having gone down to the bottom of the pit is that the social niceties of pretending don't seem to matter any more. What's left to protect?

Three things help me: writing, psychotherapy and God. Actually, that should read four things. Other people can help, too. Or some of them, at least. And they are a godsend. But some also run away.  Perhaps my own brand of up-front unhappiness reminds them a little too closely of their own.

But it's the God bit I really want to talk about. The Bible is full of despair. Psalm 88 is a classic of the genre. It ends "darkness is my closest friend" – surely the inspiration behind the famous opening greeting of Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence. Despite this continual refrain from the scriptures – and Jesus's "My God, why hast thou forsaken me" deserves a special mention here, surely – the upbeat nature of so much modern Christianity tends to ignore such cries with an over-easy reference to being loved by God, or finding comfort or peace, or some such. I know nothing of easy Christianity. In fact, I rather despise it.

God, for me, is the name of the struggle not its simple elimination. It is the wound and not the bandage, the question not the answer.

And the crucial point about God is that he is other. Not me. Thus Christianity is a sort of training in dependency. An acceptance that this mortal coil does not supply its own justification. Thus suicide is not just the "only serious philosophical problem", as Camus maintained, it is the only serious theological one, too. To be or not to be is given existential torque by the sense that one's life is suspended from an invisible thread that is fastened to a point beyond one's comprehension or control. In other words, the centre of gravity in one's life is seen to be outside of oneself. Hence the extreme vulnerability.

I suspect the problem is not dissimilar for many atheists, too – it's just that, for them, the otherness is experienced as other people.

I decided to write about all this when I said to my therapist the other day that it really comes to something when it feels like my weekly therapy sessions are the only place and time where I can be open about all this. That even church cannot accommodate such dark thoughts, particularly in a priest. And yet, given the psalmist's cry, that has to be madness.

"We are only here for the medicine," said one of my lovely church wardens years ago.

But there is no medicine for the human condition. Simply mutual kindness, solidarity and humour, and a daily longing (called prayer) to be suspended from that invisible thread, held upright.

I plan to write more, later, about the general difficulty the church has in dealing with exceptions to the rule, as Fraser alludes to here at the end of this article.    In having what can be loosely defined as  "discussions" with people about Topic H over the course of the past 10 years or so, I've noticed that unless human beings fit into certain preferred classifications, they are generally ignored in its "pastoral theology."  This is especially noticeable in recent "conversations" about "same-sex marriage"; the usual reaction to the reality of gay persons is - if you're "defending traditional marriage" is now to move straight to the "Be fruitful and multiply" argument, AKA, the "married with kids" solution allegedly enjoined on everybody.

All that is quite interesting, I think - especially for a religion in which celibates and other non-procreatives have played such a major historical role.  The medieval church clearly had it far more together.

But this highlights a serious problem for religion, I believe; there are many people - perhaps like Fraser and me - who are really not cut out for family life.

This is only tangentially about Topic H, BTW; there are many, many people in this same situation - many who'd be greatly helped by having a faith life, I think.   The church generally doesn't know how to deal with us, though; it's been more interested in the rule at the expense of the exception.   That's because, I think, in its formative stage, it was trying to become stable and to "promote the general welfare."  Nothing at all wrong with either of those things, of course;  the recourse to proof-texting, though, as modern people are wont to do, seriously exacerbates a problem that - again, it appear to me - the medieval church had a far better handle on.

So, more on that later at some point.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Mental illness and the loss of community"

From the Grand Haven Tribune:
One of the most significant contributions of Sigmund Freud to the psychology of religion was his understanding of the importance of a community for mental health.

Oct 23, 2013

In his book, "Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego," he writes: "It appears that where a powerful impetus has been given to group formation, neuroses may diminish and, at all events temporarily, disappear." He goes on to point out how groups such as churches contribute greatly to a person's mental health: "Justifiable attempts have also been made to turn this antagonism between neuroses and group formation to therapeutic account."

The primary role of a church in pastoral care is providing a person with a loving, caring community. What has struck me about the biographies of the mass murderers in recent years is their lack of community — whether we are considering a church, a family, a romance, or even a strong group of friends. The picture that emerges is a lonely individual who spends much time in front of a computer screen or playing a violent video game.

There are many causes of mental illness: biological, cultural, developmental, abuse of drugs, lack of love and true intimacy. Often what is missing in this litany is the lack of community or its loss, which Freud pointed out does much psychic damage.

To get a glimpse of the power of such a loss, just recall your first feelings of being homesick. I first encountered that feeling when going off to summer camp at around 12, and sitting under a tree feeling all alone. But quickly the camp community made me feel at home away from home.

We can also understand the effects of a loss of community in families that suffer a divorce. Regardless of the reasons for a divorce, and there are some good ones (e.g., physical abuse, adultery, drug addiction), the psychic damage to all concerned can be horrific. The family unit is the building block of community life.

When families suffer from a divorce, if they were attending church, they often drop out. As a pastor, I used to hear constantly: "There is no place for me as a divorced person and now single in a church."

I know of churches which have fired staff members, including the chief pastor, because he or she went through a divorce, and most often it was not even initiated by this staff person. That is an example of churches not being Christian!

Freud pointed out that the rise of psychoanalysis was an effect of religious decline. People stopped going to their priests for confession, so they began seeing a psychotherapist. Psychotherapy through the power of a relationship can make great contributions to healing people who are isolated from family, church, and even the towns in which they live.

The rise of modern psychology is linked with the alienation that increased as people moved from family farms into large cities in the late 19th century and early 20th.

While living and working and studying at Boston State Hospital in 1976, I tried, along with my colleagues, to create community among the patients. Worship was one way we did this. Sadly, American prisons have replaced state mental hospitals as a place to warehouse the mentally ill (in New York City, the cost of one prisoner for one year is $167,731).

Due to overcrowding and the cost, the mentally ill are often rapidly let out of prisons without treatment. They then roam our streets and are called "the homeless." That is an apt metaphor for a person who has no community, no home, no family, no church.

The greatest challenge for the church today is being a warm community where everybody feels loved and cared for and nourished, and then reaching out to those who desperately need such love and care, especially the mentally ill wandering like ghosts among us.

Loneliness and isolation are perhaps the most painful of all the ills which plague us. Here the church has much to offer.

As Genesis 2:18 reads, "The Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone.'" Adam needed community, a family and a home — and so do we.

— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune community columnist

For the Feast of St. James of Jerusalem: Exultet Caelum Laudibus

In honor of today's Feast of St. James of Jerusalem (AKA, "The Brother of Our Lord"), here's Exultet Caelum Laudibus - a Lauds and 2nd Evensong hymn for Apostles & Evangelists - sung by La Capella Reial De CatalunyaHere's a little something about them:
La Capella Reial de Catalunya was created in Barcelona in 1987 by its conductor Jordi Savall as a group of soloist singers whose aim is to make the repertoire of Catalan historical music and, by extension, that of Spanish and other music widely known throughout the world. La Capella Reial de Catalunya often performs with Le Concert des Nations, a period instrument group also founded and conducted by Savall.
I do not know anything more about this piece, but will return to post anything I find in the future; it's very pretty, though, and worth listening to I think.

In English, the first line of this hymn is given as "Let the round world with songs rejoice!"  Quite pretty, really; here are the words from CPDL:
1. Exultet coelum laudibus
resultet terra gaudiis
apostolorum gloriam
sacra canunt solemnia.

2. Vos saecli justi judices
et vera mundi lumina
votis precamur cordium
audite preces supplicum.

3. Qui caelum verbo clauditis
serasque ejus solvitis
nos a peccatis omnibus
solvite jussu, quaesumus.

4. Quorum praecepto subditor
salus et languor omnium:
sanate aegros moribus
nos reddentes virtutibus.

5. Ut cum judex advenerit
Christus in fine saeculi
nos sempiterni gaudii
faciat esse compotes.

6. Deo Patri sit gloria
ejusque soli Filio,
cum Spiritu Paracleto,
et nunc et in perpetuum.

Additional verse
Summa sit ipsi gloria,
qui dat nos evangelicis
per vos doctrinis instrui
et prosequi caelestia.

1. Let the round world with songs rejoice;
Let Heaven return the joyful voice;
All mindful of th’Apostles’ fame,
Let Heav’n and earth their praise proclaim.

2. Ye servants who once bore the light
Of Gospel truth o’er heathen night,
Still may your work that light impart,
To glad our eyes and cheer our heart.

3. O God, by whom to them was giv’n
The key that shuts and opens Heav’n,
Our chains unbind, our loss repair,
And grant us grace to enter there.

4. For at Thy will they preached the Word
Which cured disease, which health conferred:
O may that healing power once more
Our souls to grace and health restore.

5.That when Thy Son again shall come,
And speak the world’s unerring doom,
He may with them pronounce us blest,
And place us in Thy endless rest.

6. To Thee, O Father; Son, to Thee;
To Thee, blest Spirit, glory be!
So was it ay for ages past,
So shall through endless ages last.

tr. Richard Mant (1776-1848)

Additional verse
The highest glory be to him,
who gives us the Gospel.
May we be taught by you
and follow you to heaven.

(FYI, here's what the Sarum chant version (mp3) of the hymn sounds like; the audio file comes from the website of the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Allyson Abrams, Detroit Baptist Pastor, Resigns After Marrying A Woman"

At Huffington Post; my bold:
Photo from Allyson Abrams' Facebook page

A pastor resigned after announcing to her congregation that she had married a woman.

Bishop Allyson Abrams, 43, stepped down from Zion Progress Baptist Church in Detroit Friday, according to the Detroit Free Press. She told her congregation earlier in the month that she married Diana Williams in March in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal.

She served as pastor at the church for five years, according to the Michigan Chronicle.

Abrams told the Chronicle that she was not forced out, but chose to resign because she didn't want to cause a divide within the church.

“It really hurts me because I don’t want to be the reason for the church to split, and potentially for family members to be at odds with one another," she said.  "Therefore, I felt that it was in the best interest of everyone to resign.”

The pastor, who was previously married to a man, told the Free Press she had changed her views a year ago and would not classify herself when it comes to sexual orientation.

“I progressed in my theology and came to the point where I would love whichever came to me," she told the paper. "I wasn’t just open to (a specific) gender, I was open to love in whatever way the Lord would bless me.”

Abrams told the Chronicle that Williams, bishop emeritus of the Imani Temple of the African-American Catholic Congregation in Washington, D.C. is her best friend and a support system.

Abrams, who has a masters in divinity and a doctorate in ministry from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, goes into detail on her website about how she reached the understanding that same-sex marriage is aligned with Christian teachings.

"The Bible teaches that ANYONE who believes in Jesus Christ will be accepted into God's realm," she wrote. "You can be a child of God and living in loving committed relationships with persons of the same sex. For the Bible could not be clearer. Everywhere the Bible confronts loving committed homosexual relationships, they are affirmed."
Abrams told NewsOne that she plans to lead a church in the future.

"God has called me to pastor," she said.

According to the Free Press, she also resigned from positions at other faith-based organizations: stepping down as secretary of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity and as co-editor of the Progressive National Baptist Convention's magazine, the Baptist Progress.

Her resignation comes days after a federal judge heard arguments in a case challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage. A trial will begin in February.

Before her marriage and before the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in June, allowing same-sex marriages to be recognized by the federal government, Abrams wrote a blog post for People for the American Way, arguing that it was time to "dump DOMA" and allow every person the opportunity to marry:
We are in the 21st century, and the way I see it, it’s time to dump DOMA simply because it discriminates against those who deserve to have their relationships recognized in whatever way they choose – which should include as marriages. It’s time to dump DOMA because it hurts and humiliates those who know love and who practice showing it each and every day. It’s time to dump DOMA because it alienates and afflicts those who love with their heart and are simply in need of their rights being extended to them. It’s time to dump DOMA and celebrate the manifestation of love in every relationship. It’s time to afford every human the opportunity to marry and be respected as loving families who contribute to the wonderful world that God created and are a part of making it go around.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Hymns at the Lesser Hours: Compline II

This is the second of three posts about the Compline hymns; see Part I here.

The following are the hymns listed for Compline, in Hymn melodies for the whole year, from the Sarum service-books:
Daily throughout the year, except on Double Feasts & from the 1st Sunday in Lent until Trinity Sunday inclusive :-
Te lucis ante terminum

(1) On Sundays & when the Choir has Rulers ... ... 14
(2) On Ferias & Simple Feasts of the lowest class ...11

On Double Feasts during Advent & daily from Xmas Eve to the 8ve of Epiphany, & on all Double Feasts from thence until the 1st Sunday in Lent, on the Vigil of Pentecost, on the Thursday, Friday, & Saturday in the 8ve of the same, & on all Double Feasts from Trinity Sunday until Advent, except on the Feast of the Holy Name :

Salvator mundi Domine ... ... 8

[At Christmas-tide (York): Corde natus ex Parentis ... 73]

On the First Sunday in Lent & daily until Passion Sunday :

Christe, qui Lux es et Dies ... ... 12

On Passion Sunday & daily until Wednesday in Holy-Week inclusive:

Cultor Dei, memento ... ... 13

From Maundy Thursday to Low Sunday no Hymns are sung.

On Low Sunday & daily until Ascension Day :

Jesu, Salvator seculi, Verbum ... 14

On Ascension Day & daily until Whitsun Day :

Jesu, nostra Redempcio ... ... 34

On Whitsun Day, (but not on the Vigil, see above) & on the three days following, & on the Feast of the Holy Name :

Alma chorus Domini ... Sequence p. (xxiij)

[On Monday & Wednesday in Whitsun Week (York):

Laudes Deo devotas ... Sequence p. (x)]

Follow along with the office here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).    I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the post too.

We'll start this time with Christe, qui Lux es et Dies, the hymn sung "On the First Sunday in Lent & daily until Passion Sunday," as above.    Here is the chant score for melody #12:

Here's an mp3 of melody #12, sung by the St. David's (Austin, TX) Compline Choir.   TPL (which calls the hymn "Christe, qui spelndor et dies") notes that this is:
Another old and venerable hymn for the close of day at Compline. This hymn has 8th century origins and is sometimes attributed to the Venerable Bede.

Here are the Latin words, as given at CPDL, followed by an English translation (via "William John Copeland and others, 1906") from Oremus Hymnal.  The English words are different than what's on the mp3 (whose English words I believe come from the 1982 Hymnal, from Hymns #40 and 41).
Christe qui lux es et dies,
Noctis tenebras detegis,
Lucisque lumen crederis,
Lumen beatum praedicans.

Precamur Sancte Domine,
Defende nos in hac nocte,
Sit nobis in te requies,
Quietam noctem tribue.

Ne gravis somnus irruat,
Nec hostis nos surripiat,
Nec caro illi consentiens,
Nos tibi reos statuat.

Oculi somnum capiant,
Cor ad te semper vigilet,
Dextera tua protegat
Famulos qui te diligunt.

Defensor noster aspice,
Insidiantes reprime,
Guberna tuos famulos,
Quos sanguine mercatus es.

Memento nostri Domine
In gravi isto corpore,
Qui es defensor animae,
Adesto nobis Domine.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Eiusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Et nunc et in perpetuum. Amen.

O Christ, who art the Light and Day,
thou drivest darksome night away!
we know thee as the Light of light
illuminating mortal sight.

All holy Lord, we pray to thee,
keep us tonight from danger free;
grant us, dear Lord, in thee to rest,
so be our sleep in quiet blessed

And while the eyes soft slumber take,
still be the heart to thee awake,
be thy right hand upheld above
thy servants resting in thy love.

Yea, our Defender, be thou nigh,
to bid the powers of darkness fly;
keep us from sin, and guide for good
thy servants purchased by thy blood.

Remember us, dear Lord, we pray,
while in this mortal flesh we stay:
'tis thou who dost the soul defend
be present with us to the end.

Blest Three in One and One in Three,
almighty God, we pray to thee,
that thou wouldst now vouchsafe to bless
our fast with fruits of righteousness.

Cultor Dei, memento is sung to Melody #13 "On Passion Sunday & daily until Wednesday in Holy-Week inclusive":

I have found no recording of melody #13, but I do like this melody (that's a midi file) used for this hymn, from; it's another of those tuneful German hymn chorales, Nun Lasst Uns Geh’n - and would certainly make a good substitute.   Here's a page scan of the score for the tune on that midi file (PDF), again from HymnTime:

The words to this hymn are very beautiful - the first verse is a reference to baptism - and it's no surprise that they come from Prudentius.

Servant of God, remember
The stream thy soul bedewing,
The grace that came upon thee
Anointing and renewing.

When kindly slumber calls thee,
Upon thy bed reclining,
Trace thou the cross of Jesus,
Thy heart and forehead signing.

The cross dissolves the darkness,
And drives away temptation;
It calms the wavering spirit
By quiet consecration.

Begone, begone, the terrors
Of vague and formless dreaming;
Begone, thou fell deceiver,
With all thy boasted scheming.

Begone, thou crooked serpent,
Who, twisting and pursuing,
By fraud and lie preparest
The simple soul’s undoing.

Tremble, for Christ is near us,
Depart, for here He dwelleth,
And this, the sign thou knowest,
Thy strong battalions quelleth.

Then while the weary body
Its rest in sleep is nearing,
The heart will muse in silence
On Christ and His appearing.

To God, eternal Father,
To Christ, our king, be glory,
And to the Holy Spirit,
In never ending story.

Here's a note at about Cultor dei, memento:
Cultor Dei memento—Servant of God, remember. Prudentius. This portion of the hymn, given in Daniel , i., No. 110; Card. Newman's Hymnal Eccl. 1838 and 1865; Wackernagel and others, is composed of lines 125-152, with the addition of a doxology. It was used in the Sarum Breviary "At Compline on Passion Sunday, and Daily up to Maundy Thursday." Also in the Mozarabic Breviary; the Mozarabic Hymnarium ; and in an 11th century manuscript in the British Museum (Harl. 2961, f. 238). The translation in common use is:—"Servant of God! remember," by W. J. Blew. First printed with music on a broadsheet, and then in The Church Hymn and Tune Book, 1852; 2nd ed. 1855. It is from the Sarum text, and in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. In 1870 it was included in Mr. Rice's Hymns, No. 105.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

This comes from Prudentius' longer poem Hymnus Ante Somnum ("Hymn before sleeping"); the poem's first line is Ades Pater Supreme.  Here's a short note about that longer poem:
Ades Pater supreme. This is in a manuscript of the 6th century, in the Bibl. Nat. Paris (Lat, 8084, f. 18). Another translation of the cento Ades Pater is "Father, Most High, be with us." In the 1885 edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, by the Compilers.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)

And here's a bit about Prudentius himself (with much more at the link):
Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, "The Christian Pindar" was born in northern Spain, a magistrate whose religious convictions came late in life. His subsequent sacred poems were literary and personal, not, like those of St. Ambrose, designed for singing. Selections from them soon entered the Mozarabic rite, however, and have since remained exquisite treasures of the Western churches. His Cathemerinon liber, Peristephanon, and Psychomachia were among the most widely read books of the Middle Ages. A concordance to his works was published by the Medieval Academy of America in 1932. There is a considerable literature on his works.

--The Hymnal 1940 Companion

And this longer quote is taken from the introduction to the (out-of-print, it seems) book Hymns of Prudentius: The Cathemerinon; or, The Daily Round by Aurelius Prudentius Clemens:
"Fetch me a pen, lad. I mean to sing of the noble deeds of Jesus Christ, the theme of my heavenly Muse."

Born in Spain in the fourth century, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens held a position of considerable authority in the Roman imperial administration. He was thirteen when Julian, the last pagan emperor, came to the throne and attempted to suppress Christianity and restore paganism. And he watched, two years later, when Julian was succeeded by the co-emperors, Valentinian and Valens, both Christians whose courts included such men as Jerome, Ausonius, and Martin of Tours.

His lasting influence comes, however, from his work as a poet: a pioneer in the creation of a Christian literature, Prudentius is generally regarded as the greatest of the Christian Latin poets, and his legacy informed the work of future poets, among them George Herbert and John Donne. Prudentius wrote two collections of hymns: the Cathemerinon Liber and the Peristephanon. The former, a collection of twelve songs in English "The Daily Round" is translated here by David Slavitt. Essentially literary in nature, the hymns replaced mythology of the classical mode with stories from the Scriptures and enjoyed immense popularity and success for centuries in the liturgy of the church.

"Prudentius's Latin is decorative and his poetic stance is enormously appealing. I have tried to do the voice and suggest to others something of what I admire in it. If I read these poems as objets d'art, I have no objection to my Christian friends reading them another way, as devotions. Indeed, I cannot for the life of me guess which of us will be getting more out of them. The particular belief is perhaps not so much the crucial issue as the yearning for belieffor the faithful feel, in the momentary flaggings of their faith, a fervent longing most agnostics have experienced, whether they admit it or not."

The Hymnus Ante Somnum from which Cultor Dei, memento is taken comes from The Cathemerinon; you can find that online in full, with English translation by R. Martin Pope, at (subtitled there "Hymns for the Christian's Day").  Or, you can download the book in various e-formats here.

On Low Sunday & daily until Ascension Day, Jesu, Salvator seculi, Verbum is sung at Compline to Melody #14:

Melody #14 is the same tune used for Te Lucis Ante Terminum above.  Here's the  mp3 of that hymn sung to melody #14, again from the St. David's (Austin, TX) Compline Choir, recorded during an actual service of Compline.

The Hymner has the words for this one in English:
JEsu, who brought'st redemption nigh,
Word of the Father, God most high:
O Light of Light, to man unknown,
And watchful Guardian of thine own.

Thy hand Creation made and guides;
Thy wisdom time from time divides:
By this world's cares and toils opprest,
O give our weary bodies rest.

That, while in frames of sin and pain
A little longer we remain,
Our flesh may here in such wise sleep,
That watch with Christ our souls may keep.

O free us, while we dwell below,
From insults of our ghostly foe,
That he may ne'er victorious be
O'er them that are redeem'd by thee.

We pray thee, King with glory deck'd,
In this our Paschal joy, protect
From all that death would fain effect,
Thy ransom'd flock, thine own elect.

To thee who, dead, again dost live,
All glory, Lord, thy people give:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

Here's an interesting alternatim of this hymn; I believe this is Thomas Tallis' composition:

Sing Jesu, nostra Redempcio to Melody #34 "On Ascension Day & daily until Whitsun Day":

Giovanni Viannini has posted this as an Inno Gregoriano per la solennità dell'Ascensione I e II Vespri; it's Melody #34, for sure:

The Hymner has an English translation (not a good one, alas!) for this one, too:

JEsu, Redemption all divine,
Whom here we love, for whom we pine,
God, working out creation's plan,
And, in the latter time, made Man:

What love of thine was that, which led
To take our woes upon thy head,
And pangs and cruel death to bear,
To ransom us from death's despair!

To thee hell's gate gave ready way,
Demanding there his captive prey:
And now, in pomp and victor s pride,
Thou sittest at the Father's side.

Let very mercy force thee still
To spare us, conquering all our ill;
And, granting that we ask, on high
With thine own face to satisfy.

Be thou our Joy and thou our Guard;
Who art to be our great Reward:
Our glory and our boast in thee
For ever and for ever be.

All glory, Lord, to thee we pay,
Ascending o'er the stars to-day:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

CPDL has the Latin words, along with a non-metrical English translation here; it's quite a beautiful hymn, actually:
Jesu, nostra redemptio,
Amor et desiderium,
Deus creator omnium,
Homo in fine temporum.

Quae te vicit clementia,
Ut ferres nostra crimina,
Crudelem mortem patiens
Ut nos a morte tolleres!

Inferni claustra penetrans,
Tuos captivos redimens,
Victor triumpho nobili
Ad dextram Dei residens

Ipsa te cogat pietas
Ut mala nostra superes
Parcendo et voti compotes
Nos tuo vultu saties.

Tu esto nostrum gaudium,
Qui es futurus praemium,
Sit nostra in te gloria,
In sempiterna saecula.

Jesus, our redemption,
love and desire,
God, Creator of all things,
becomes man in the fullness of time.

What mercy made thee
bear our crimes,
to suffer a cruel death
that we might be saved from death!

Descending into Hell’s prison,
freeing thy captives,
Thy noble triumph won,
dwelling at the Father’s right hand.

Let pity compel thee
to overcome our evils,
granting pardon,
fulfil and satisfy us with thy face.

Be our joy,
who will be our future prize;
let all our glory be in Thee
forever, throughout all ages.

Tomas Luis de Victoria had something (beautiful!) to say about this hymn as well:

Here's still another English translation found in an 1837 book by John Chandler, Hymns of the Primitive Church, at Google Books that has the Latin words.
O Christ, our Hope, our heart’s Desire,
Redemption’s only Spring!
Creator of the world art Thou,
Its Savior and its King.

How vast the mercy and the love
Which laid our sins on Thee,
And led Thee to a cruel death,
To set Thy people free.

But now the bands of death are burst,
The ransom has been paid,
And Thou art on Thy Father’s throne,
In glorious robes arrayed.

O may Thy mighty love prevail
Our sinful souls to spare;
O may we come before Thy throne,
And find acceptance there!

O Christ, be Thou our lasting Joy,
Our ever great Reward!
Our only glory may be it be
To glory in the Lord.

All praise to Thee, ascended Lord;
All glory ever be
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Through all eternity.
And this is another chant version (mp3) of Jesu, nostra redemptio - but it's not Melody #34.   Again this comes from the St. David's Choir, and seems to be an entirely different translation from any of those we've seen here.  The version sung here is taken from #38 (for Compline) in the 1982 Hymnal. The note there says that the words are "Latin, 10th cent.; ver Hymnal 1982. St. 5, Anne K. LeCroy (b. 1930)."  The tune, BTW, is also used for #238 for Martyrs, and there is a metrical version at #233 for Apostles, as well. This page at Google books notes that Jesu nostra redemptio is "an Ascension hymn of the 9th or 10th Century."

The last two hymns are Sequences, and I'll make a separate post about them.

Here's a peek-in to the SSM Breviary entry for Compline:

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Hymns at the Lesser Hours: Compline I

The following are the hymns listed for Compline, in Hymn melodies for the whole year, from the Sarum service-books:
Daily throughout the year, except on Double Feasts & from the 1st Sunday in Lent until Trinity Sunday inclusive :-
Te lucis ante terminum

(1) On Sundays & when the Choir has Rulers ... ... 14
(2) On Ferias & Simple Feasts of the lowest class ...11

On Double Feasts during Advent & daily from Xmas Eve to the 8ve of Epiphany, & on all Double Feasts from thence until the 1st Sunday in Lent, on the Vigil of Pentecost, on the Thursday, Friday, & Saturday in the 8ve of the same, & on all Double Feasts from Trinity Sunday until Advent, except on the Feast of the Holy Name :

Salvator mundi Domine ... ... 8

[At Christmas-tide (York): Corde natus ex Parentis ... 73]

On the First Sunday in Lent & daily until Passion Sunday :

Christe, qui Lux es et Dies ... ... 12

On Passion Sunday & daily until Wednesday in Holy-Week inclusive:

Cultor Dei, memento ... ... 13

From Maundy Thursday to Low Sunday no Hymns are sung.

On Low Sunday & daily until Ascension Day :

Jesu, Salvator seculi, Verbum ... 14

On Ascension Day & daily until Whitsun Day :

Jesu, nostra Redempcio ... ... 34

On Whitsun Day, (but not on the Vigil, see above) & on the three days following, & on the Feast of the Holy Name :

Alma chorus Domini ... Sequence p. (xxiij)

[On Monday & Wednesday in Whitsun Week (York):

Laudes Deo devotas ... Sequence p. (x)]

There are so many hymns and tunes here that I plan to break this post into sections; here I'll deal only with the first four melodies listed.  Follow along with the office here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).    I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the post too.

Now, let's work our way through all these hymns and melodies, starting with Te lucis ante terminum, the hymn sung "On Sundays & when the Choir has Rulers" (melody #14) and "On Ferias & Simple Feasts of the lowest class"  (melody #11) .   And, no:  I have absolutely no idea what "when the Choir has Rulers"means; that's definitely what it says.  I'm totally stumped.

Nevertheless, here's hymn melody #14:

Here's an mp3 of this hymn sung to melody #14, sung by the St. David's (Austin, TX) Compline Choir, during an actual service of Compline.   TPL notes that Te lucis ante terminum is:
An old and venerable Ambrosian hymn from the 7th century for the close of day at Compline. This version is the one found in the Monastic Breviary and the Roman Breviary. The current version in the Liturgy of the Hours, which is given below, drops the second verse and replaces it with two other verses.
The words below are from CPDL; the English translation (a version of J.M. Neale's translation) is slightly different from what's on the audio file, as you'll note.  
TE lucis ante terminum,
rerum Creator, poscimus
ut pro tua clementia
sis praesul et custodia.    

Procul recedant somnia
et noctium phantasmata;
hostemque nostrum comprime,
ne polluantur corpora.    

Praesta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
cum Spiritu Paraclito
regnans per omne saeculum.

To thee before the close of day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That, with thy wonted favor, thou
Wouldst be our guard and keeper now.

From all ill dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Withhold from us our ghostly foe,
That spot of sin we may not know.

O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally. Amen.

Here's a fantastic Tallis alternatim composition based on melody #14:

Here's melody #11, the ferial tune:

Here's Te lucis ante terminum sung to melody #11, again sung by St. David's Compline Choir; this time, though, it's the "Ferial Tone, à 5," a composition by Thomas Tallis that includes the plainsong tune, and sung in Latin.   The doxology is slightly different on the audio file.

The next hymn is Salvator mundi Domine, sung on a variety of occasions (see list above) to melody #8

Melody #8 is the famous Pentecost hymn tune for Veni, Creator Spiritus.   CPDL has the words in Latin, at a link to a John Sheppard composition, and notes that:
This Compline Hymn setting for the Vigil of Christmas in the Sarum Rite makes use of the Sarum Plainchant also associated with Veni Creator Spiritus. Sheppard sets the second and fourth verses, the odd verses being sung as plainchant.
I would dearly love to have a recording of the Sheppard composition, but alas!  Here, though, via mp3 from the LLPB, is what melody #8 sounds like; just substitute the Salvator mundi Domine text.  The English words below are from the SSM Breviary:

Salvator mundi Domine,
Qui nos salvasti hodie,
In hac nocte nos protege,
Et salva omni tempore.

Adesto nunc propitius,
Et parce supplicantibus;
Tu dele nostra crimina,
Tu tenebras illumina.

Ne mentem somnus opprimat,
Ne hostis nos surrepiat,
Nec ullis caro, petimus,
Commaculetur sordibus.

Te, reformator sensuum,
Votis precamur cordium,
Ut puri castis mentibus
Surgamus a cubilibus.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Eiusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
Et nunc et in perpetuum.

SAVIOUR of man, and Lord alone,
"Who through this day hast saved Thine own,
Protect us through the coming night,
And ever save us by Thy might.

Be with us, Lord, in mercy nigh,
And spare Thy servants when they cry;
Blot out our every past offence,
And lighten Thou our darkened sense.

0 let not sleep oppress the soul,
Nor Satan with his spirits foul;
Our flesh keep chaste, that it may be
An holy temple unto Thee.

To Thee, Who makest souls anew,
With heartfelt vows we humbly sue;
That pure in heart, and free from stain,
We from our beds may rise again.

All laud to God the Father be;
All praise, Eternal Son, to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the blessed Paraclete. Amen.

The hymn at York for Christmastide is an ancient, wonderful and famous one:  Corde natus ex Parentis (Of the Father's Heart Begotten).  The melody prescribed, though, isn't the well-known tune called Divinum mysterium, but melody #73, this one:

Again, I have no recording this melody tune above; will try to remedy that.    Here, though, are the Latin words - there are a lot of them! -along with J.M. Neale's English translation:
Corde natus ex parentis
Ante mundi exordium
A et O cognominatus,
ipse fons et clausula
Omnium quae sunt, fuerunt,
quaeque post futura sunt.
Saeculorum saeculis.
Ipse iussit et creata,
dixit ipse et facta sunt,
Terra, caelum, fossa ponti,
trina rerum machina,
Quaeque in his vigent sub alto
solis et lunae globo.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Corporis formam caduci,
membra morti obnoxia
Induit, ne gens periret
primoplasti ex germine,
Merserat quem lex profundo
noxialis tartaro.
Saeculorum saeculis.
O beatus ortus ille,
virgo cum puerpera
Edidit nostram salutem,
feta Sancto Spiritu,
Et puer redemptor orbis
os sacratum protulit.
Saeculorum saeculis.
Psallat altitudo caeli,
psallite omnes angeli,
Quidquid est virtutis usquam
psallat in laudem Dei,
Nulla linguarum silescat,
vox et omnis consonet.
Saeculorum saeculis.
Ecce, quem vates vetustis
concinebant saeculis,
Quem prophetarum fideles
paginae spoponderant,
Emicat promissus olim;
cuncta conlaudent eum.
Saeculorum saeculis.
Macte iudex mortuorum,
macte rex viventium,
Dexter in Parentis arce
qui cluis virtutibus,
Omnium venturus inde
iustus ultor criminum.
Saeculorum saeculis.
Te senes et te iuventus,
parvulorum te chorus,
Turba matrum, virginumque,
simplices puellulae,
Voce concordes pudicis
perstrepant concentibus.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre
hagioque Pneumate
Hymnus, decus, laus perennis,
gratiarum actio,
Honor, virtus, victoria,
regnum aeternaliter.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd;
He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean
In their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun,
Evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion,
Death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below,
Evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Saviour of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed,
Righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted
None in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive,
Evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honour, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!

And just because I love the (11th C., I believe) melody Divinum mysterium, I'll include this video from "Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne Kantorei. Recorded in Kramer Chapel on the campus of CTS, Ft. Wayne." I would certainly recommend its use during Christmastide as an alternative!  They are using a different set of words here, though.

Here's more about the hymn from the Wikipedia page linked above:
Of the Father's Heart Begotten alternatively known as Of the Father's Love Begotten is a Christmas carol based on the Latin poem Corde natus by the Roman poet Aurelius Prudentius, from his Liber Cathemerinon (hymn no. IX) beginning "Da puer plectrum," which includes the Latin stanzas listed below.[1]

The ancient poem was translated and paired with a medieval plainchant melody Divinum mysterium. Divinum mysterium was a "Sanctus trope" - an ancient plainchant melody which over the years had been musically embellished.[2] An early version of this chant appears in manuscript form as early as the 10th century, although without the melodic additions, and "trope" versions with various melodic differences appear in Italian, German, Gallacian, Bohemian and Spanish manuscripts dating from the 13th to 16th centuries.[2]

Divinum mysterium first appears in print in 1582 in the Finnish song book Piae Cantiones, a collection of seventy-four sacred and secular church and school songs of medieval Europe compiled by Jaakko Suomalainen and published by Theodoric Petri.[3] In this collection, Divinum mysterium was classified as "De Eucharistia" reflecting its original use for the Mass.[4]

The text of the Divinum mysterium was substituted for Prudentius's poem when it was published by Thomas Helmore in 1851. In making this fusion, the original meter of the chant was disturbed, changing the original triple meter rhythm into a duple meter and therefore altering stresses and note lengths. A later version by Charles Winfred Douglas corrected this using an "equalist" method of transcription, although the hymn is now found in both versions as well as a more dance-like interpretation of the original melody.[2

Here's a peek-in to the SSM Breviary entry for Compline:

Here's something about Compline; as noted, much of the content comes from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917:
Compline (/ˈkɒmplɪn/ kom-plin; also ComplinNight PrayerPrayers at the End of the Day) is the final church service (or Office) of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. The English word Compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The word was first used in this sense about the beginning of the 6th century by St. Benedict in his Rule (Regula Benedicti; hereafter, RB), in Chapters161718, and 42, and he even uses the verb complere to signify Compline: "Omnes ergo in unum positi compleant" ("All having assembled in one place, let them say Compline"); "et exuentes a completorio" ("and, after going out from Compline...") (RB, Chap. 42).

CatholicEastern OrthodoxAnglicanLutheran, and certain other Christian denominations with liturgical traditions prescribe Compline services. Compline tends to be a contemplative Office that emphasizes spiritual peace. In manymonasteries it is the custom to begin the "Great Silence" after Compline, during which the whole community, including guests, observes silence throughout the night until the morning service the next day.

Historical development

This section incorporates information from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917. References to psalms follow the numbering system of the Septuagint, as said in the Latin of the Vulgate.
The origin of Compline has given rise to considerable discussion among liturgists. In the past, general opinion (including Bäumer and Batiffol) ascribed the origin of this Hour to St. Benedict, in the beginning of the 6th century. But Jules Pargoire and, later still, A. Vandepitte oppose this opinion and seek a more ancient origin for this Hour.

A text in Callinicus (between 447 and 450), first introduced in Father Pargoire's argument, informs us that betweenVespers and the Night Office there was celebrated in the East a canonical Hour called in this text prothypnia, because it preceded the first sleep, being nothing other than what the Greeks today call apodeipnon, on account of the meal it follows (see Compline in Byzantine usage, below). However, in the thirty-seventh question of his Great Asketikon (Long Rules), St. Basil the Great, also, speaks of an intermediate Hour between Vespers and the nightly Office. Father Pargoire therefore disputes the assertion that St. Benedict was the originator of Compline, being rather disposed to trace its source to St. Basil.

In the article mentioned above, Father Vandepitte confirms these conclusions; nevertheless he states, in the clearest terms, that it was not in Cæsarea in 375, but in his retreat in Pontus (358-362), that Basil established Compline, which Hour did not exist prior to his time, that is, until shortly after the middle of the 4th century. Dom Plaine also traced the source of Compline back to the 4th century, finding mention of it in a passage in Eusebius and in another in St. Ambrose, and also in John Cassian. These passages have been critically examined, and Fathers Pargoire and Vandepitte have proved that before St. Basil's time the custom of reciting Compline was unknown.

At any rate, even if these texts do not express all that Dom Plaine says they do, at least they bear witness to the private custom of saying a prayer before retiring to rest. If this was not the canonical Hour of Compline, it was certainly a preliminary step towards it.

The same writers reject the opinion of Paulin Ladeuze and Dom Besse, both of whom believe that Compline had a place in the Rule of St. Pachomius, which would mean that it originated still earlier in the 4th century.

It might be possible to reconcile these different sentiments by stating that, if it be an established fact that St. Basil instituted and organized the Hour of Compline for the East, as St. Benedict did for the West, there existed as early as the days of St. Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria the custom of reciting a prayer before sleep, in which practice we find the most remote origin of our Compline.

Compline in the Roman Rite

Prior to Vatican II

It is generally thought that the Benedictine form of Compline is the earliest western order, although some scholars, such as Dom Plaine, have maintained that the Hour of Compline as found in the Roman Breviary at his time, antedated the Benedictine Office. These debates apart, Benedict's arrangement probably invested the Hour of Compline with the liturgical character and arrangement which were preserved in the Benedictine Order, and largely adopted by the Roman Church. The original form of the Benedictine Office, lacking even an antiphon for the psalms, is much simpler than its Roman counterpart, resembling more closely the Minor Hours of the day.

Saint Benedict first gave the Office the basic structure by which it has come to be celebrated in the West: threepsalms (4, 90, and 133) as noted above said without antiphons, the hymn, the lesson, the versicle Kyrie eleison, thebenediction, and the dismissal (RB, Chaps. 17 and 18).

The Roman Office of Compline came to be richer and more complex. To the simple Benedictine psalmody—modified, there is a fourth psalm, "In te Domine speravi" (Psalm 30)— and perhaps at a fairly late date it added the solemn introduction of a benediction with a reading (based perhaps on the spiritual reading which, in the Rule of St. Benedict, precedes Compline; RB, Chap. 42), and the confession and absolution of faults. This is absent from parallel forms, such as that of Sarum.

The distinctive character and greater solemnity of the Roman form of Compline comes from the response, In manus tuas, Domine ("Into Thy hands, O Lord ..."), with the evangelical canticleNunc Dimittis, and its anthem, which is particularly characteristic.[1]

The Hour of Compline, such as it appeared in the Roman Breviary prior to the Second Vatican Council, may be divided into several parts, viz. the beginning or introduction, the psalmody, with its usual accompaniment ofantiphons, the hymn, the capitulum, the response, the evangelical canticle, the prayer, and the benediction.

By way of liturgical variety, the service of initium noctis may also be studied in the Celtic Liturgy, such as it is read in the Antiphonary of Bangor, its plan being set forth by Warren and by Bishop (see Bibliography, below).

Current usage

In the breviary of 1974 Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, Compline is divided as follows: introduction, an optionalexamination of conscience or penitential rite, a hymnpsalmody with accompanying antiphonsscriptural reading, the responsory, the Canticle of Simeon, concluding prayer, and benediction. The final antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Salve Regina, etc.) is an essential part of the Office.[2] Summorum Pontificum does allow Compline to be recited according to the older form.

Compline in Byzantine usage

Compline (GreekApodeipnonSlavonicPovecheriye; literally, "after-supper" prayer) in the Eastern Orthodox andGreek-Catholic Churches takes two distinct forms: Small Compline and Great Compline. The two versions are quite different in length.

At Compline (whether Small or Great), a Canon to the Theotokos in the Tone of the Week will normally be read (these Canons will be found in the Octoechos). Services to saints in the Menaion that, for one reason or another, cannot be celebrated on the day assigned to them, may be chanted on the nearest convenient day at Compline. In such cases, the Canon for the Saint would be read together with the Canon to the Theotokos, followed by theStichera to the saint from Vespers. There are also particular days (such as certain Forefeasts, Afterfeasts, and days during the Pentecostarion) that have special Canons for Compline composed for them.

The Office always ends with a mutual asking of forgiveness. In some traditions, most notably among the Russians, Evening Prayers (i.e., Prayers Before Sleep) will be read near the end of Compline. It is an ancient custom, practiced on the Holy Mountain and in other monasteries, for everyone present at the end of Compline to venerate the Relics and Icons in the church, and receive the priest's blessing.

Small Compline

Small Compline is served on most nights of the year (i.e., those nights on which Great Compline is not served). On the eves of Sundays and feasts with All-Night Vigil, Compline may be either read privately or suppressed altogether. Among the Greeks, who do not normally hold an All-Night Vigil on Saturday evenings, Compline is said as normal.

The service is composed of three Psalms (50, 69, 142), the Small Doxology, the Nicene Creed, the Canon followed by Axion Estin,[3] the TrisagionTroparia for the day, Kyrie eleison (40 times), the Prayer of the Hours, the Supplicatory Prayer of Paul the Monk, and the Prayer to Jesus Christ of Antiochus the Monk.[4] Then the mutual forgiveness and final blessing by the Priest. After this, there is a Litany and the veneration of Icons and Relics.

Great Compline

Great Compline is a penitential office which is served on the following occasions:
Unlike Small Compline, Great Compline has portions of the service which are chanted by the Choir [8] and during Lent the Prayer of St. Ephraim is said with prostrations. During the First Week of Great Lent, the Great Canon ofSaint Andrew of Crete is divided into four portions and read on Monday through Thursday nights.

Due to the penitential nature of Great Compline, it is not uncommon for the priest to hear Confession during the service.

Great Compline is composed of three sections, each beginning with the call to prayer, "O come, let us worship...":

First Part

Psalms[9] 4, 6, and 12; Glory..., etc.; Psalms 24, 30, 90; then the hymn "God is With Us" and troparia, the Creed, the hymn "O Most holy Lady Theotokos", the Trisagion and Troparia of the Day, Kyrie eleison (40 times), "More honorable than the cherubim..." and the Prayer of St. Basil the Great.
Second Part

Psalms 50, 101, and the Prayer of Manasses; the Trisagion, and Troparia of Repentance,[10] Kyrie eleison (40 times), "More honorable than the cherubim..." and the Prayer of St. Mardarius.
Third Part

Psalms 69, 142, and the Small Doxology;[11] then the Canon followed by Axion Estin, the Trisagion, the hymn "O Lord of Hosts, be with us...", Kyrie eleison (40 times), the Prayer of the Hours, "More honorable than the cherubim....", the Prayer of St. Ephraim, Trisagion, the Supplicatory Prayer of Paul the Monk, and the Prayer to Jesus Christ of Antiochus the Monk.[4] Then the mutual forgiveness. Instead of the normal final blessing by the Priest, all prostrate themselves while the priest reads a special prayer intercessory prayer. Then the Litany and the veneration of Icons and Relics.

Anglican usage

In the Anglican tradition, Compline was originally merged with Vespers to form Evening Prayer in the Book of Common PrayerECUSA's Book of Offices of 1914, the Church of England's proposed Prayer Book of 1928, and the Anglican Church of Canada's Prayer Book of 1959 restored a form of Compline to Anglican worship. Several contemporary liturgical texts, including the American 1979 Book of Common Prayer, the Anglican Church of Canada's Book of Alternative Services, and the Church of England's Common Worship, provide modern forms of the service. The Common Worship service consists of the opening sentences, the confession of sins, the psalms and other Bible lessons, the canticle of Simeon, and prayers, including a benediction. There are authorised alternatives for the days of the week and the seasons of the Christian year. As a public service of worship, likeMorning Prayer and Evening Prayer, Compline may be led by a layperson.

Lutheran usage

Among Lutherans, Compline has re-emerged as an alternative to Vespers. The Office of Compline is included in the various Lutheran books of worship and prayer books [along with Matins/Morning Prayer and Vespers/Evening Prayer]. Quite similar to Anglican use, in some Lutheran Churches Compline may be conducted by a layperson.

Don't forget, either, to subscribe to the podcasts of the Compline Choir of St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle; they are well worth a listen each week.

More Compline links here.