At chant practice this evening, it being the last week of November and the week before Advent, we first sang through the Lux æterna, the Communion chant of the Requiem Mass (praying especially for my dear friend Ben, God rest him, at my request) and then turned our thoughts to the coming Advent. To prepare for Advent, we began by singing “O come, O come, Emmanuel” – Neale’s masterly Englishing of the Veni, veni, Emmanuel, itself a versification of the ancient O Antiphons, which contain (affirms Dom Guéranger) “the very marrow” of Advent – and then concluded by practising the marvellous Advent Prose, the Rorate cæli desuper, with its plaintive pleas for salvation preceding God’s answering promise of consolation, foreshadowing the coming Messias.
Father was unable to be with us (having visitors to entertain), but with Mary’s help in playing our new church organ to give us the note, all went well. As we did not sing Compline nor have Benediction, we had a chance to look more into the meaning and signifcance of that which we sang, which seemed a useful course to pursue. After more than the usual hour, we then repaired next door for nibbles, wine and good conversation, we happy seven. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your truth in the watches of the night” (Ps 91(92):2-3).