Gregorian Chant

About this point in Lent I try to move into mostly Gregorian Chant when in want of music. The link above is a Gregorian video that is worth a visit.

Intriguingly, monastic vocations are experiencing renewed interest. I used to think that monasticism was a form of “dropping out.” That sounded REAL tempting to me at several points along my higgledy -piggledy path.

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And in truth, I’ve had the enormous blessing of spending time in some of Europe’s most stunning monasteries, like Abbaye Notre Dame du Senanque in France (above) and Abbey Leyre (crypt photo below) in the Navarre region of Spain, among others.

I have heard Gegorian Chant at St. Peter’s Abbey in Solesmes, yet, somehow, up the road from the Abbey there is St. Cecelia’s where the nuns sing chant. It is arresting. Their dulcet voices so ethereal that one is lifted beyond whatever mundane cares cloud the soul.

I know now that monastic vocations are a gift we cannot readily fathom. The prayers and sacrifices made by those who pour out their lives in prayer for the world sustains the rest of us as we go about the business of lay life.

At Abbaye Senanque I met a monk whose pockets were filled with names and notes–plucked from the bulletin board in the Abbaye ‘s gift store where visitors left their worries and pleas for help. With a touching earnestness he showed me their slips of paper, these souls who would live in his care for the week.

In the first week of Lent I read Patrick Fermor’s marvelous small volume, A Time to Keep Silence. Fermor, a writer but not a believer, was in search of inexpensive accommodations in France while he worked on a book. At St. Wandrille de Fontanelle he found more than he imagined. The prose is sublime–you’ll not be disappointed.

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Please pray for the cloistered religious whose work is one of the hidden treasures of the Church.


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