Update: I wrote the choir/music director telling him how beautiful the choir always is but was especially for this (it’s important to compliment the good aspects of your parish often so people know they are doing a great job…don’t be shy!). He responded with heartfelt appreciation and said how he thinks it’s funny many people ask for the De Profundis at their wedding which then he and the pastor need to explain why it wouldn’t be appropriate because it would be like saying “Lord, save me from the abyss of suffering that I’m going to enter after marrying this person.” HAH!
That which is beautiful is often written about on this blog, including music. As a true fan of all music genres (from the Philadelphia Philharmonic to Phish) I appreciate music which is perfect for the given situation. This, of course, means no pop music at Mass just as acappela would be poorly suited for exercise. Catholicism has perhaps the richest claim to music heritage in the world and formed some of the greatest composers man has ever heard.
Being Catholic, it’s a shame more parishes don’t dig deeper (or at all) into the treasure trove of sacred music available to them for music within the Mass. Too often parishes opt for (wannabe) pop music or banal 1970’s hymns. Luckily more parishes are reclaiming their lineage of transcendent sacred music…music which opens the soul and fixates one’s gaze up towards heaven. Luckily I go to a parish which cares about such things.
During the collect at Mass, the very talented choir, in the newly painted choir loft and nave, launched into a rendition of Antonio Salieri’s (1750-1825) De Profundis (Psalm 130). Me, being relatively new revert, was not familiar with it. It was one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard in a church. It highlighted the importance of sacred music at Mass; the effect was an immediate openness to prayer. It’s known that the three marks of divinity, God, is that which is beautiful, good, or truthful and it was as if angels carried down this beautiful mark of God themselves like a silk rope connecting heaven and earth. Forgive me for the hyperbole but the amount this penitential psalm moved me is hard to convey. I was reflective the entire day because of it, it helped transform the entire Sunday into something beautiful.
Deo gratias for the liturgical revival that is happening across the country and all that comes with it, including our ever-so rich history of beautiful music!
Listen to a similar rendition, although this video doesn’t do any justice to experiencing it live while the Mass is happening in front of you:
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:
Speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?
For with you is forgiveness; and because of your law, I stood by you, Lord.
My soul has stood by his word.
My soul has hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch, even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.