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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“Chants closely related to the readings should, of course, be appropriately transferred for use with these readings. For pastoral reasons also there is an option regarding the chants for the Proper of Seasons: namely, as circumstances suggest, to replace the text proper to a day with another text belonging to the same season.”
— Ordo Cantus Missae (1971)

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When the Liturgy Astounds • The Fire of Divine Love
published 11 March 2016 by Richard J. Clark

Y HEART IS bursting with love for my children, sometimes to a degree that it is painful. This may not be rational. But it goes with the lifetime of worry for the wellbeing of one’s child. But more interestingly, it is a love so great that I find the intensity of such emotion to be too great at times.

If God feels this way about us, we cannot conceive of what things he has in store for us. It is difficult for us to imagine that we are even worthy of such love. Oculus non vidit…

This is what the liturgy does. It is designed to receive all of our emotions from grief and loneliness to a heart bursting—or yearning for love. God has placed this yearning within us, something so well expressed in Divine Worship. The liturgy has the ability to astound us.

Here is an example from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A and for those celebrating the First Scrutiny):

“For when he asked the Samaritan woman for water to drink,
He had already created the gift of faith within her
And so ardently did he thirst for her faith, that he kindled in her the fire of divine love.”

I found these words to be jaw dropping—utterly astounding. What Jesus did for the Samaritan woman, he does for us. He wants us to have faith and helps us to the ends of the earth to have this faith.

This is a time of intense preparation for church musicians. It is difficult to be spiritually present at all times because of great attention to detail. But we are mindful that preparation itself is prayer. That preparation is an act of great love. It is a fire of Divine Love that God has placed within us.