About this blogger:
Richard J. Clark is the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He is also Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. His compositions have been performed worldwide.
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“As the subject of the language of worship was discussed in the Council hall over the course of several days, I followed the process with great attention, as well as later the various wordings of the Liturgy Constitution until the final vote. I still remember very well how after several radical proposals a Sicilian bishop rose and implored the fathers to allow caution and reason to reign on this point, because otherwise there would be the danger that the entire Mass might be held in the language of the people-whereupon the entire hall burst into uproarious laughter.”
— Alfons Cardinal Stickler, peritus of Vatican II

Composing Heals a Heavy Heart
published 18 October 2013 by Richard J. Clark

USIC HEALS THE BROKEN HEART. Composing in fact, does wonders in this area. One note—one subtle change of dissonance and resolution, of tension and release—can alter the complexion of spirit. One unnoticed change of harmony can cry out to God our inmost pleading of unspeakable human emotion. One note can express the prayer we cannot or dare not put to words.

The creative act, especially in a defined prayerful structure, can sometimes uncover a wounded heart, one that is buried under its own weight. Therefore, composition is an act of prayer and release for a heart in bondage. This prayer need not be a great masterwork. Music in service to God—even for a humble group of singers—may heal and lift those weighed down. This may include the composer as well!

Meanwhile, consider composing an antiphon, and then a simple psalm tone. (Perhaps do this every week? You may become transformed!) Keep in mind, the “limitations” of liturgical structure are in fact not limitations at all, but a roadmap that leads to more focused prayer. This in turn can lead to delightful surprises both musical and spiritual.

For the antiphons and their psalms draw the composer into their wondrous revelations. The psalms expose humanity in all of its frailty and depth. The psalmist unapologetically proclaims the joyful praise of God, the distress of suffering, and the acceptance of total dependance on God. All of these things are found in the psalms ready to be rediscovered again and again in music and prayer.

Finally, here is a simple offering for Communion for this Sunday. It is simple, and I hope it can humbly serve in prayer:

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PDFDomine, Dominus noster | Communion Antiphon | 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time