It’s been a long hiatus since my posting in May, but I’ll try to make up for it in the coming weeks. First, I wanted to share some great news: the book I have been writing, Prayer as Night Falls: A Journey with Compline, has been accepted by Paraclete Press. I will be getting the completed manuscript to Paraclete in January; hopefully it will be published next year! More about that over the next few months…
There were so many wonderful things to write about Compline over the past summer, but I’ll focus on one of our services in August. Here’s a link to our podcast of The Office of Compline for August 12, 2012 (just press the play button to begin listening) . The Gospel reading for that Sunday was John 6:35, 41-51, including the words “I am the Bread of Life”, and “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever…” This reading always reminds me of the story of how the men walking “on the road to Emmaus” were accompanied by a stranger, who was revealed to them as the risen Christ “in the breaking of the bread.”
Jason Anderson, director of the Compline Choir, selected music that conveyed this eucharistic theme beautifully, beginning with the chant “Humbly I adore Thee, Verity unseen” (words by Thomas Aquinas). I think our singing of the hymn for the service, “O food to pilgrims given” (sung to one of the tunes of the 16th-c. French psalter), was one of the highlights for me from the summer (listen to it at about 8:55 on the podcast):
O food to pilgrims given, O bread of life from Heaven,
O manna from on high!
We hunger, Lord, supply us, Nor Thy delights deny us,
Whose hearts to Thee draw nigh.
O stream of love past telling, O purest fountain welling
From out the Savior’s side!
We faint with thirst; revive us, Of Thine abundance give us,
And all we need provide.
O Jesus, by Thee bidden, We here adore Thee,
Hidden in forms of bread and wine.
Grant when the veil is riven, We may behold, in heaven,
Thy countenance divine.
The anthem for the service was “Jesu, dulcis memoria”, written in 2009 for the Compline Choir at St. Mark’s, Seattle by Iain Quinn (listen at about 22:50 on the podcast). Three of the many stanzas of this hymn, originally written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, are set here by the composer:
| Jesu, dulcis memoria,
dans vera cordis gaudia:
sed super mel et omnia
ejus dulcis praesentia.
| Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy Presence rest.
| Jesu, spes paenitentibus,
quam pius es petentibus!
quam bonus te quaerentibus!
sed quid invenientibus?
| O hope of every contrite heart!
O joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!
| Sis, Jesu, nostrum gaudium,
qui es futurum praemium:
sit nostra in te gloria,
per cuncta semper saecula.
| Jesus! our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize shalt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity.