Wednesday, July 23, 2008

For all who fail to understand plainsong

This from the Lambeth blog (it is possible to get the clerics to hear and understand - hah - I didn't know GR was not musical.)

In reciting the psalms, the brothers employ a practice that has never really worked for me -- until now. The long and pregnant pause between lines of the psalms has always seemed to me, observed in large groups, to be artificial and distracting (more worried that I'm going to start too soon and stick out like a sore thumb). But here, it is an entirely different spiritual practice. It's as if the brothers and I have become one breathing organism, finding a breathing and speaking rhythm that brings us intimately together. Rather than a distraction, it is an embodiment of the oneness life in Christ promises with one another.

As an American, I suppose, I want to voice meaning in each word, but the flatness with which the brothers recite the psalms make a strange sense to me. The reciting of the psalms becomes less about what the words mean, and more about the unity with which we are reciting them. Sounds strange, even for me to be saying. But it works. Powerfully, prayerfully and intimately.

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