As some of the Anglican readers know, Jim Naughton, formerly of the Daily Episcopalian now edits a site called the Episcopal Cafe. He has graciously invited a number of people to participate in this project including me. My first piece is up at the spirituality section there.
The communio is the music and texts appointed to be sung during the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament in the Roman Rite. The texts tend to be a combination of psalm texts and other parts of Scripture interwoven with one another. As such, they represent a classic form of interpretation through juxtaposition that is at the heart of the Western liturgical tradition of biblical interpretation. That is, the meaning of the biblical texts is neither declared nor forced upon the singers/hearers, but instead is coaxed forth by the apposition of two or more texts joined by context and experience.
The Communio Project of putting all communions with Psalms online is now finished. You can see them here. This the one place where you can find the music for the communion antiphon sung in the manner recommended by the General Instruction. They were typeset by chant master Richard Rice. At last, the full collection is available to the world for instant download and, we can hope, singing every Sunday forever more.
Do visit and check out these treasures. While they are listed for ease of convenience on the site in alphabetical order, the index file at the top shows their proper liturgical ordering. They are in Latin with the traditional square notation, but the scripture references are included and the second page contains an English translation of the text. I’ll offer one here in the spirit of the season.
With the thunderous chords of “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” Don Saliers concluded his last lecture as a professor today. Even those who don’t recognize his name have felt his impact through our liturgies. Don is one of the ringleaders of the renewal in Protestant liturgics following on the heels of Vatican II–the renewal that gave us most of the hymnals and worship books currently in use in the mainline denominations. His thought and that of his colleagues determined the majority of the changes in the ’79 BCP and the ’82 hymnal as well as the Lutheran LBW and, of course, his own Methodist ’89 hymnal.
As much as I grouse about some of the changes, theologies, and ideologies embodied in these recent books and liturgies, I–and we–owe him and his companions a deep debt of gratitude for their commitment to drawing on the best of the tradition for proclaiming the Gospel to today’s world.
Did I mention that he is a Benedictine oblate as well? I credit much of his success to this grounding, giving him a deep connection to the rhythm of communities at prayer inaccessible through academic study alone.
The old order is passing away; what is to come–has yet to be seen. Don is retiring, and his comrades with him. Too few are following in their footsteps. The next generation of liturgical scholars is small. We are now beginning to face and will soon feel the consequences of the loss of these wellsprings of wisdom who combine deep learning with great souls.