Dicit Dominus: Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis: invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.
“The Lord says: I know plans of peace, not of dejectedness. You will call upon me, and I will hear (answer) you, and I will bring you back from your captivity in all places.” (Jer 29:11–14)
Click here to listen to an audio of the chant sung by Br. Jacob Berns, OSB, of St. John’s Abbey.
Gregorian Chant does not always follow the Latin Vulgate text. Some of the chants might have been passed down from different Latin translations of the Bible long before the Vulgate became the most common. Some other chants are a summary of a longer Biblical pericope.
A small group of chants got a dicit Dominus or Dominus dicit added. Sometimes those words stand at the beginning of an antiphon, sometimes at the end. We do not know whether this was done due to a different translation of the Biblical text or due to a personal decision by the composers. But in most of these cases we can see that the composer took the dicit Dominus very seriously. Our melody goes very deep down in the beginning before the actual Lord’s words are quoted. You might imagine a movie where a powerful hero rises from the earth or even from deep down in the earth or in a sea, and then triumphantly routs the evildoers.
In this introit God is shown as such a hero rising upwards from deep down and raising his voice. And what is his message, what is his power? Peace and freedom.