We few, we happy few: just the nucleus of our Gregorian chant choir, our priest and a faithful parishioner, coming together to practise, to learn and then to offer our sacrifice of praise to God, singing Compline and then Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
We sang a chant new to us, one in honour of the Immaculate Conception, and customarily sung by Franciscans on Saturdays: Tota pulchra es.
V/. Tota pulchra es, Maria.
R/. Tota pulchra es, Maria.
V/. Et macula originalis non est in te.
R/. Et macula originalis non est in te.
V/. Tu gloria Jerusalem.
R/. Tu laetitia Israel.
V/. Tu honorificentia populi nostri.
R/. Tu advocata peccatorum.
V/. O Maria.
R/. O Maria.
V/. Virgo prudentissima.
R/. Mater clementissima.
V/. Ora pro nobis.
R/. Intercede pro nobis ad Dominum Jesum Christum.
V/. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
R/. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
V/. And the original stain is not in thee.
R/. And the original stain is not in thee.
V/. Thou glory of Jerusalem.
R/. Thou joy of Israel.
V/. Thou honour of our people.
R/. Thou advocate of sinners.
V/. O Mary.
R/. O Mary.
V/. Virgin most prudent.
R/. Mother most tender.
V/. Pray for us.
R/. Intercede for us with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As I worshipped the Lord present in His true Flesh, while Father censed the Host, it struck me how this is a true act of latria, offering the incense of adoration to Jesus Christ our God – it is only short of the perfect act of latria that is the Mass, when we offer not but earthly incense, but the Divine Victim, Christ Himself, to His Father.
Last night, that was our hour's pastime; as I remarked to Father, it was a spiritual recharge; he smiled and said it was that for him, too.