A Glimpse into an Influence from My Past

I listen to this chant pretty much everyday when I first sit down to work at my computer. I find it deeply soothing because of its connection to my past.

When I was growing up, my family attended a little Episcopal mission in my hometown of 7,000 people in North Central Texas. Believe it or not, this Latin chant was part of our service. Not always as gorgeous as this is – or close to it – but the Latin words coupled with this music were a familiar part of our Sunday worship. So, this conjures up years of Sunday masses at Holy Trinity Episcopal church, which also had acolytes, incense, vestments for the priests and altar candles. Fast forward to my life in Los Angeles and I am active (in non-Covid-time) at St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood. We sing this same chant there and these words anchor me in a way that is very hard to explain. You might even call it mystical.

According to Wikipedia, the etymology is from Ecclesiastical Latin Kyrie, contraction of the Ancient Greek phrase Κύριε ἐλέησον (Kúrie eléēson, “Lord, have mercy”).

Kyrie eleisonLord have mercy
Christe eleisonChrist have mercy
Kyrie eleisonLord have mercy

I often sing along to this while working and feel my breath deepen and my sense of calm return. I particularly love the primary chanter’s voice, which is deep and resonant and fills me with peace. I can almost feel my father’s arm draped over my shoulder as we sit in our family pew and feel my mother’s warmth as I snuggle against her.

Pure comfort.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Hoye says:

    Thanks for this, Len.

    1. Thank you for letting me know this was helpful, Linda!

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