Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

My Photo
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Monday, December 05, 2005

Rorate Caeli...

The Advent prose, Rorate caeli, is sung every Sunday in our Priory during Advent. It is beautiful and poignant, full of longing and set in the Dorian mode, the "mode of contemplation". Its beautiful and plaintive words, full of suppressed joy and expectation are wonderfully married to its Gregorian chant tune. It is yet another example of the evocative nature of the Liturgy; like the Conditor alme siderum and its traditional tune, the music conjures up the season of Advent. One cannot divorce the words from the music as this would rupture its liturgical integrity.

The refrain in Latin is: "Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum", which is translated as 'Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One.' There are four verses which are sung with this refrain and as the final verse is reminescent of yesterday's First Reading from Isaiah, I offer the last two verses in translation here:

"Behold, O Lord, the affliction of thy people and send forth Him who is to come:
Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth,
From the rock of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Sion:
That He may take away the yoke of our captivity.

Be comforted, be comforted, my people:
Thy salvation cometh quickly:
Why art thou consumed with grief?
For sorrow hath estranged thee: I will save thee;
Fear not, for I Am the Lord thy God,
The Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer."

Come to deliver us, O Lord God of Hosts!

The painting above of the Annunciation is by El Greco (1541-1614).


Post a Comment

<< Home