INTROITUS: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Omnia quae fecisti nobis, Domine, in vero judicio fecisti, quia peccavimus tibi, et mandatis tuis non obedivimus: sed da gloriam nomini tuo, et fac nobiscum secundum multitudinem misericordiae tuae.

“Everything that you did for us, Lord, you did in true justice. For we have sinned against you, and we did not obey your mandate. But give glory to your name, and act toward us according to the richness of your mercy.” (cf. Dan 3)

Click here to listen to an audio of the chant.
Sung by Liborius Lumma, Innsbruck (Austria).

In the third line we find a sentence that is set almost exclusively in a syllabic way: one tone per syllable: et mandatis tuis non obedivimus (“and we did not obey your mandates”). Syllabic structures are typical for antiphons in the Office, not in Mass; and whenever we find completely syllabic chants in the Mass, we can be quite sure that they used to be antiphons for the Office, but later were put into the Mass.

Of course this is no explanation for et mandatis tuis non obedivimus. There must be a reason why a syllabic sentence is in the middle of a complex and long introit. Maybe the composer wants to say: The message of our own failure is something we do not want to hear. We want to overlook or hide it. So let us just go quickly to the end of this clause and then continue with the appeal da gloriam.

But Christianity does not hide sins. Faith confronts us with our sins, even if we want to hide them. And that might be the reason why the sentence reduced its speed at the end: obedi-vimus. We have to say the truth, even if it hurts.

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