Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gregorian Chant: Good for the soul

Gregorian Chant speaks to more than just the ears, it speaks to the soul. When I hear Gregorian Chant, my mind is elevated to contemplation, my soul is flooded with peace. Prayer comes easier, and there is a connection with eternity (as well as our Catholic history). It even helps me sleep! Gregorian Chant was once synonymous with the Mass, and it is extremely important for us to embrace it once again.

Documents from the Second Vatican Council call us to use Gregorian Chant within the Liturgy. From Sacrosanctum Concilium:

112. The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.

116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

The musical tradition of the universal Church  has been Gregorian Chant, and the definition of pride of place is as follows: 'the first or highest or most important place.'   If Gregorian Chant is suppose to hold the most important place, why don't we hear it in every Mass?

One might make the argument: "Well, it does say that other forms of music are equal..." But even using that argument, there should still be at least some Gregorian Chant within the Liturgy, but alas, there is none that I know of. We are discarding music that is truly Catholic for music that is infused with secular society, and it is detrimental to the Faith. For some reason we think that children will be drawn more by drums and electric guitars in Mass and so we don't even try to show them the beauty of Gregorian Chant. This results in kids growing up without a clear understanding of what Catholic music is. In my opinion, this lack of understanding (regarding the music in this case) contributes to the fall away from the Faith.

I don't even particularly need to know what the Latin means when I hear it, because my soul understands the prayer that is happening, and the prayer is efficacious even if my mind does not fully comprehend. That being said, I hope to one day be able to understand and sing Gregorian Chant better. For now, I will resign myself to the Chants in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary in private.

An increase in the use of Gregorian Chant within our lives (especially in the Liturgy) will bring us closer with Our Lord. That will then supply us with abundant peace, and therefore we will have greater fortitude in this turbulent world.

The Catholic Faith and all of its culture is interesting, it's beautiful, and above all- it's True. Gregorian Chant should be sung in every Diocese, at every Parish, within every Mass. That's what the Second Vatican Council teaches us, and I pray that we would soon live that reality. I hope that one day Gregorian Chant is taught at every Parish, so that each Parishioner is able to join in the prayers of our Catholic brothers and sisters of ages past.

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