Music For The Sprinkling Rite: From Your Side, O Christ

The last of five given Easter antiphons for the Rite of Sprinkling is an old, traditional text. The allusion is clear: the soldier plunging his spear into the side of the dead body of Jesus and from there, acclaiming him as Son of God.

Here is the text as given in the Roman Missal:

From your side, O Christ,
bursts forth a spring of water,
by which the squalor of the world is washed away
and life is made new again, alleluia.

Here’s an earlier version of this text set by J Michael Thompson. The acclamation had a somewhat different wording in earlier versions of the Missal.

If I were considering a setting of this, I might look to using the antiphon with one of the Christological New Testament canticles, Ephesians 1:3-10 perhaps. The 66th might be a prime choice from the Psalter.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Music For The Sprinkling Rite: From Your Side, O Christ

  1. Liam says:

    I am not familiar with this antiphon. The word “squalor” struck me so that I was curious about the Latin original:

    “E látere tuo, Christe, fons aquae prorúmpit, quo abluúntur mundi sordes et vita renovátur, allelúia.”

    So “squalor” renders the “sordes” of the Latin. More typically, that’s referring to dirt or filth of some sort. A perhaps more familiar use of the root word is in the Pentecost sequence: “Lava quod est sordidum” – wash what is dirty, clean what is unclean, et cet.

    “Squalor” was likely chosen because it’s a noun (rather than an adjective, which would be easier –
    sordid vs sordidness, unclean vs uncleanness, dirty vs dirtyness, et cet..) that combines references to material and non-material uncleanness, as it were. But I must admit it’s an awkward English word to try to set to song well – it will likely stick out even in recto tono cantillation. If someone had asked me to be involved with the reading, I might have suggesting a gerund (I know, I know, gerunds are like bunts, or should I say bunting?) as a crutch alternative rendering, such as soiling.

    I would probably prefer to sing the Latin (with the English translation provided), though one would need to be careful with pronouncing abluúntur clearly.

    Going to the sources can help us reflect on layers of meaning and the varied geniuses of languages.

  2. Liam says:

    PS: RM1 translation was “Lord Jesus, from your wounded side flowed streams of cleansing water: the world was washed of all its sin, all life made new again, alleluia.”

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