Blessing at the Close of the Day

Sacred Space

A spiritual practice to close the day:

At the end of the day, we are sometimes tired, worn out, and ready to sleep.  For many of us, our minds don’t turn off quite as quickly as our bodies may wish.  A spiritual practice of closing the day with prayer and reflection may offer us an opportunity to set aside the chaotic thoughts and align our body, mind, and spirit into rest.  In this prayer, “Vespers”, John O’Donohue blesses this closing time of day.  Read it quietly, either silently or out loud, as you close your waking day:

As light departs to let the earth be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind, and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colors
Gathered from within the sacred meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.

After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow…

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Rachmaninoff, Sergei: Vespers

Kurt Nemes' Classical Music Almanac

At the mention of Rachmaninoff’s name, I always think “piano.” His first, second, and third piano concertos followed by the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, of course, place him at the pinnacle of composers for that instrument. But every so often, I come across a recording of his Vespers and remember that it contains some of the most beautiful choral music ever written.

I discovered this recording by accident and by luck. While combing through the bins of Rachmaninoff’s music at the local mall one day in 1974, I came across the recording of the Vespers. The lucky thing for me was that the two-record set had been mismarked as a single, so though unfamiliar with the music, I snapped up the album anyway.

What I heard completely astounded me. Written between 1910 and 1915, it is a series of A capella (voices only) choruses. They have…

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Sermon in a Sentence: St. Thomas Aquinas (March 30, 2014)


“God with patience and mercy awaits the sinner until his death in order to have pity upon him, should he, even in this last moment, regret his evil ways and turn toward Him. For the Lord who is merciful does not rejoice in the loss of the living.” –From “Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life; Vol. 5: St. Thomas Aquinas,” pg. 136. Selected and Arranged by John P. McClernon.


I just now listened to a wonderful sermon of St. Alphonsus de Liguori for this Sunday, which is Laetare Sunday, on this very point. He spoke of the tender compassion which Our Lord had for those who were suffering hunger as they gathered near to him on the mount. The gospel for today relates this miracle of the loaves and fishes. But going further, he reminded the listener of the greater compassion Our Lord…

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Morning is broken

A Labor of Like

Morning is broken

I am not a morning bobolink (above)(Disclaimer: I’m not sure what the AM counterpart of the night owl is, but I’m certain it’s somewhere in the kingfisher/cockatiel/hippogriff family, so I rounded off to bobolink.)

Years ago, a priest friend of mine told me he didn’t like to say Mass at 7:00 in the morning, because he didn’t want to wake up God with all that loud praying.  This is the reason that 7:00AM is called an “ungodly hour”.  I have always taken that to heart.  (Word of advice: Any time a priest tells you what you want to hear, grab it and hold on for dear life, as this almost never happens. Mostly they just go on about forgiveness and repentance and holiness, which are much harder, particularly before breakfast.)

But as I was coming home from church this afternoon, I realized that as a good Catholic catechist…

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2014-02-16 Notes from the Bench

All Saints' Episcopal Church - Friends of Music

“Lord, Make Me Know” by William Byrd

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate

The composer William Byrd (c. 1540-1623) is considered one of the great masters of English Renaissance music. His oeuvre of approximately 470 compositions includes sacred and secular vocal works, keyboard pieces, and music for small, Instrumental ensembles or consort music. Byrd made significant contributions to the sacred music repertoire of both the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions, composing church anthems, motets, masses and service music, and psalm settings. Through his works, Byrd assimilated and transformed the compositional forms and styles of his native England as well as those of continental Europe in a manner that gives his works their unique identity. Many of Byrd’s compositions were published during his lifetime; he and Thomas Tallis held a joint patent for the printing of music from 1575 until 1596.

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The Tallis psalter



The Tallis psalter: Psalms and anthems, canticles, preces and responses (London: Novello, 2013) is a complete edition of the Psalter, enabling a performance within the Anglican liturgy for the first time in centuries.

The original Psalter contains Thomas Tallis’s nine tunes set to metrical verses by Archbishop Matthew Parker, and published around 1567. Many of the tunes have since been reworked as popular hymns.

Also included are Tallis’s surviving English anthems, including popular works and lesser-known miniatures. The volume is edited by David Skinner.

Below, Stile Antico performs Tallis’s nine psalms.

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