The peace of Gregorian singing and John’s Letter (1 John 4,7-21) /Matins, Third Wednesday after Trintiy Sunday, BCP /
‘God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ The most beautiful ‘rhythm’ and harmony emanates from this line of the Gospel. There is an unsurpassable peace which captivates us immediately.
There is an inherent music in this verse which we can compare best to the tunes of Gregorian singing. The closing antiphon of the night prayer, is a twin sister of John’s line. It is our response, yearning for, and being transformed by the same peace: ‘Save us, Lord, while we are awake. Protect us while we sleep, that we may keep watch with Christ and rest with him in peace.’
This parallel with Gregorian singing offers a challenging thought. Our world, and this is our daily experience, has broken and fallen apart into thousand of pieces. The sense of unity, at all levels of life, is lost… In this modern culture, we are forced to live with an unmanageable ‘diversity’. Space, time, love, personal life, machines, gadgets, regulations, processes, news, excitements, de-centre us continuously – and keep our truer self in exile.
So what has remained of the experiences of ‘unity’? Literally hardly anything. Even our personal memories, photos, letters have vanished into the ‘digital’. Yet, there is something, one thing that remained unbroken. This is our ancient prayers, particularly the ‘timeless’ purity of Gregorian tones. These words have remained un-manipulated. The unity of the world is pulsating in every word of this singing. They heal, they re-ignate our lost desire to yearn for God. Our truer self can return to us through the inner peace and humble energy of this singing.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..