One of our parishioners captured one of my new compositions, a setting of Psalm 4, nicely led by one of our parish’s fine singers, Norie. The psalmists at my parish are very patient with new compositions, and in turn, I can try to accommodate them as best as I can when I compose for them.
A note on Psalm 4–it’s used every night in some monastic communities for Compline. One Trappist friend once explained to me that Night Prayer is in the dark and kept simple, and the same. I suppose that after some weeks acclimating to monastic worship, people can close their eyes and let the words wash over them.
The Grail translation (which I did not use) concludes the Psalm with these verses:
You have put into my heart a greater joy
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.
I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
My first exposure to monastic liturgy was at the Genesee Abbey when I was a college student on retreat there. The “corn and wine” festival caught my eye and made me wonder–did the ancient Hebrews really have maize? These days, my attention is drawn more to the Psalmist’s conclusion, a wish for which many of us hope, to lie down and find sleep coming easy.
The image above is from another Trappist community, Our Lady of the Mississippi.