Monday, April 28, 2008

Grace before meals in Latin chant

I teach the table prayer (which is part of Luther's Small Catechism) to my Latin students. As a family, we sometimes pray it at home in Latin before meals (though Leo typically protests that he wants to pray in English - but then again, he would also like to eat gummi worms for supper, so it's not up to him now, is it?). ;-)

Of course, teaching very young children is easy if you employ repetition, and double easy if you sing.

We do have yet to chant the table prayer, either in Latin or in English, at the "Hollywood" home, but I really do like the idea. Click here for a link from which you can not only learn the words of the prayer in Latin, but also a peek at the musical notation of Gregorian chant in its traditional form (which has four lines instead of five, no stems on the notes, and freedom to set the initial pitch in any range). There is also an MP3 of the prayer.

Gregorian chant is making quite a comeback, both among Roman and Evangelical Catholics (the latter of which are known popularly by the epithet "Lutheran") - not to mention Anglicans and other Western Christians of a traditional and historical bent. I do think this is part of a greater movement within the Church that yearns for stable tradition over and against the shifting sands of perpetual change, as well as a desire to see beauty once again become the hallmark of Christian worship over and against gimmicks and the lowest common denominator of lowbrow culture that sadly typifies what is done in many of our churches across denominational lines.

"Benedic, Domine" indeed!

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