Plainchant power, or why we need to mourn

It’s about time we made sure plainchant regains a valued place in Philippine liturgy. If it can’t be done every Sunday, we should use prominent public celebrations of the liturgy to reintroduce it to people. I offer the following introit (or opening hymn of the liturgy) as a starter for a particularly prominent celebration:

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

The adoption of this particular chant, and indeed of many of the chants of the older repertoire restores one aspect of the funeral liturgy I think has been lost in the mania for emphasizing the Resurrection as a theme in funerals, an awareness of the judgment that awaits us all. It is particularly necessary in the light of a suggestion a friend of mine made: sometimes, especially when we remember deceased leaders like the one we recall now, we should be utterly penitent for not having done enough ourselves, especially when things have gone wrong since then. I think this has to be emphasized, and I am coming to the conclusion that in a sense the old ways are better.

Now more than ever, we need to be shaken to the core of our fallenness, shaken enough to be awakened that we have to take on that mantle, fallen though we are, not because of our own merits, but because of the same God who graced us with that kind of leadership.

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