In the Presence of the Lamb: A Musical Journey through Lent

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Our world is full of distractions. We have responsibilities, obligations, and a bevy of other expectations constantly vying for our limited attention, energy, and time. But, as a gift to her children, the Church has generously given us a season each liturgical year to cut through these distractions with penance and reorder our hearts, minds, and priorities towards the heavenly voices from above instead of the wailings of world. Christ calls out to us, “Take up your cross and follow me,” and we are invited to travel with Him along the road to Calvary, to tithe a tenth of a year’s time; through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; and unite our efforts, our little crosses, with His. As a language of God, I firmly believe that music can help us in these endeavors.

Beginning Ash Wednesday, I’ve been sharing my favorite music of Lent over on the facebook page. Each day I’m posting a short musical piece to help us drown out the noise of the world and focus on the sacrifice of Christ this season. Some readers here have mentioned that they are not on Facebook, so I have also created the following Lenten playlist and downloadable calendar so that all can join us for each day’s suggested listening.

Your family is free to play the day’s piece at any time, but here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  • During a meal
  • During Morning Time (“Morning Liturgy”)
  • During your daily commute
  • During your children’s play time
  • During bath time
  • During nap time
  • During afternoon tea
  • During your family’s bed time ritual

The possibilities are endless.

The daily selections are pulled from varying musical eras, medieval to modern, and include differing types of works from a wide range of composers and genres. Echoing the pattern presented in the Holy Triduum, on Thursdays the chosen piece will be in honor of the Eucharist in remembrance of its institution at the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, while on Fridays our highlighted work will be an invitation to more deeply meditate on the temporal sufferings of Christ throughout the events of His Passion. In concurrence with their usual dedication, on Saturdays we will turn to Our Lady and in doing so our designated listening will be an opportunity to ponder her grief at the foot of the cross.

To participate in this devotion, you can click on the provided links to be taken to a youtube recording for each day’s listening selection, download the digital calendar with links to reuse year after year, or use the Spotify playlist for free listening anytime. I pray this devotion is a blessing to your family this Lent!

What music do you love to listen to during Lent? I’d love to read about it in the comments!

Peace,

Ash Wednesday Week

Miserere Mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri

“O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” from St. Matthew’s Passion by J. S. Bach

“God So Loved the World” from The Crucifixion by John Stainer

“Stabat Mater Dolorosa” from Stabat Mater by Domenico Scarlatti

Week 1

Angelis Suisby Johann Joseph Fux

Remember Not Lord our Offences by Henry Purcell

“O Vos Omnes” from the Tenebrae Responsories by Tomás Luis de Victoria

“Troisième Leçon De Ténèbres À 2 Voix” from The Leçons de Ténèbres pour le Mercredi Saint by François Couperin

Ave Verum Corpusby Francis Poulenc

Agnus Deiby Samuel Barber

Lament of the Mother of Godby John Tavener

Week 2

“Ne Irascaris Domine” from Ne Irascaris Domine by William Byrd

God Be in My Head by John Rutter

“Kyrie” from Requiem in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“O Lamm Gottes, Unschuldig” from Orgelbüchlein by J. S. Bach

Nos Autem Gloriariby Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Crux Fidelisby King John IV of Portugal

Drop, Drop Slow Tearsby Orlando Gibbons

Week 3

Jesus Christ the Apple Treeby Elizabeth Poston

Lamentations of Jeremiah 1by Thomas Tallis

Lamentations of Jeremiah 2by Thomas Tallis

Wash Me Throughlyby G. F. Handel

Pange Lingua Gloriosiby St. Thomas Aquinas & Anonymous

Christus Factus Est No. 3 by Anton Bruckner 

“O Quam Tristis” Stabat Mater by Alessandro Scarlatti

Laetare Week

Rejoice in the Lord Alwayby Henry Purcell

Sicut Cervusby Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Media Vita in Morte Sumus by Henri du Mont

Salvator Mundi by John Blow

O Sacrum Conviviumby Olivier Messiaen

“Crucifixus” from Mass in B minor by J. S. Bach

Ave Regina Caelorumby Michael Haydn

Week 5

“Vater, Vergib Ihnen” from The Seven Last Words of Christ by Joseph Haydn

Ubi Caritas Et Amorby Maurice Duruflé 

“Surely He Hath Borne our Griefs” from Messiah by G. F. Handel

Vide Homo, Quae Pro Te Patiorby Orlando di Lassus

O Salutaris Hostiaby Giaochino Rossini

“The Crown of Roses” from Sixteen Songs for Children by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Stabat Mater by Antonio Lucio Vivaldi

Holy Week

Hosanna to the Son of Davidby Orlando Gibbons

Repentir (O Divine Redeemer)by Charles Gounod

Improperia (The Reproaches) by Tomás Luis de Victoria

If Ye Love Me by Thomas Tallis

Ave Verum Corpus by William Byrd

“Vidit Suum Dulcem Natum” from Stabat Mater by Giovanni Pergolesi

“Quando Corpus Morietur” from Stabat Mater by Antonín Dvořák

Sign- up here to receive your downloadable Lenten calendar!

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