INTROITUS: 5th Sunday of Lent

Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me: quia tu es Deus meus, et fortitudo mea.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the chant.
Sung by Br. Jacob Berns, OSB, of St. John’s Abbey.

“Be my judge, God, and plead my cause against an unholy people. Deliver me from the deceitful and malicious human. For you are my God and my strength.” (Ps 43(42):1–2)

This supplication for help leads us closer to passion and cross. Its melody seems highly emotional and affectionate: The words causam meam (my cause), doloso (deceitful), and eripe me (deliver me) let us hear the praying person howl and yell, without any glamor or happiness.

At quia tu es Deus meus (for you are my God) we can – just like in some of last weeks’ introits – identify a play with the directions upward (to God) and downward (to the earth): Tu addresses God directly with the eyes up to heaven, but then the singer metaphorically bows down in humility when he or she finishes the words Deus meus (my God).

These are the days when we confront ourselves with all abysmal evilness humans are capable of. If there is any power that can save us, it must be divine. This knowledge requires openness for heaven as well as humility on earth.

4 comments

  1. I must echo this note of thanks!

    Ever since I started reading this series, which made the music and texts come to life with insightful commentary, I have longed to hear these texts actually sung. (My ability to read chant notation is pretty much nonexistent.)

    Actually, because of having read the commentary, I am better able to hear the nuances in the music which otherwise would have flowed past me. So thank you to all concerned.

    This was a tough text with which to begin, I suspect, because of its length.

    1. Our choir sings these wonderful introits (in English from the great work of Burgess) at our Solemn Mass during Advent and Lent. They are indeed treasures and a joy to hear and to lead our prayer.

  2. Alas, the link to the sound file now returns an error message, as follows:

    Sorry, the link has expired.
    The link was set to expire after a certain amount of time. Please contact the person who shared this link with you.

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