Saturday, 25 February 2017

Lent I

As with Advent, the season of Lent is forgotten by the modern mind. Penance, preparation, patience are all too much for it. For the modern mind, it must be fun, easy and instant. As with the hymns of Advent, the hymns of Lent can be one means of restoring the spirit of Lent. The wisdom of the Church has foreseen this need and ensures that, since the organ is silent during Lent to increase the sense of penance and simplicity, the hymns of Lent are simple enough to sing unaccompanied. Here is the first 'theme song' of Lent, Attende Domine.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi. "Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon us, who have sinned against Thee" is the constant refrain of this hymn, and the constant refrain of the Liturgy (and, hopefully, of the penitent soul) during Lent. The hymn is in Mode V and is based upon a tenth century lenten litany from the Mozarabic Rite. While most of the modern Gregorian Chant derives from the music of the Papal Chapel or the Frankish Imperial Chapel, some has been adopted, on account of its beauty and depth, from the Mozarabic Liturgy of the Visigothic Kingdom of Spain.

The gradual decline of the Mozarabic Rite began about the middle of the eleventh century, being reduced to the use of only a few Chapels and Parishes by the beginning of the twentieth century. However, the chant of the Rite survived longest in common use, being commonly used in alternation with Gregorian Chant, most notably in the Cathedral of Toledo.

Despite such set-backs as the slaughter of the whole college of Chaplains of the Mozarabic Chapel at Toledo Cathedral by Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War, the Rite has survived and a commission by the Archbishop of Toledo led to the republication of the liturgical books towards the end of the twentieth century.


Anonymous said...

It's been forty years since I heard the Attende. Whene will I hear it again in the Church?

Anonymous said...

The inclusion of the words was really helpful. Karaoke Chant. Love it!