Lent is now about 10% behind us. How well have you done with your resolutions this far? Hopefully your internal and external resolutions are keeping your passions in check and that it feels like lent.
The holy liturgy in its classical form likes to gently remind us of it’s Lenten presence, too. At this Sunday’s Mass, we’re presented with a lengthy Tract. Its chant is very beautiful but also long, especially if chanted in the Gregorian vs psalm tone.
The holy abbot Dom Guéranger remarks on the gradual and tract:
“The Gradual tells us that we are under the protection of the angels, and that these blessed spirits leave us not, either day or night. During Lent they redouble their efforts against our enemies, and rejoice at seeing us sinners accept the penance which is to bring us to salvation.
The Tract, too, inspires us with confidence: it speaks to us of the goodness of God, and of His fatherly watchfulness over us His ungrateful children, whom He wishes to make His faithful friends and coheirs of His kingdom.”
That should bring us some feelings of confidence and a little pep-talk to persevere.
The words of Tract are as follows:
90:1 He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob.
90:2 He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust.
90:3 For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
90:4 He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
90:5 His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
90:6 Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.
90:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
90:8 But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked.
90:9 Because thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the most High thy refuge.
90:10 There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
90:11 For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.
90:12 In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
90:13 Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
90:14 Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name.
90:15 He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.
90:16 I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.
Before coming to know the psalms more, I knew some of these words from the English Mass classic “On Eagle’s Wings.” I certainly grew up with this song, but have put it aside since going trad. But it came up the other day when I was talking with a local priest. He said to me that someone had asked him to see if “more traditional music could be played at Mass…like ‘On Eagle’s Wings.’” We had a good chuckle. I suppose if traditional means before 1980….
Have a Blessed Sunday!