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.

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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

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tenebrae factae sunt!

All is ready for our (slightly abbreviated) celebration of Tenebrae, perhaps the most evocative Office in the Liturgical year as we knew it. The texts of the Office, notably the responsories and the Lamentations have inspired a spectrum of composers from Palestrina, Gesualdo and Victoria to Poulenc and Rubbra. We don't have a choir to sing such beautiful polyphony but we shall sing the sublime plainsong responsories, using Dominican chant, which differs slightly from the (more typically-used) Benedictine versions.

A feature of Tenebrae as the names suggests is the increasing darkness or deprivation of light as the Office proceeds. This is signified by the fourteen unbleached candles on the Tenebrae hearse (shown on the right, behind me) which are snuffed out with each psalm. The fifteenth candle (which represents Christ) is not snuffed out but taken away and hidden, as our Lord was laid in the tomb.

Sadly we shall not be performing the strepitus - the loud noise made by slamming the breviaries on the choir stalls, to signify chaos in the world as Christ the light is taken from us. However, we do sing a litany at the end of the Office and the versicle "mortem autem crucis" is sung, in the English Dominican custom - a fifth above the written note, which I rather suspect should provide enough of a loud noise!!

Do join us at 8.30am for this unique liturgy or find somewhere near you that does it and join them!

I ought to acknowledge the fact that in the photo above, taken tonight, I am wearing a summer-weight habit made by the Dominican Siena Sisters in the Philippines and given to me by a friend and benefactress in the Philippines. Maraming salamat po!


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