Song du Jour

Song du Jour

Benedictine Thoughts, Teachings, and Prayers


February 25, 2013

On February 23, 2013, I had the privilege to give a presentation to women and men Religious in the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware on: A Lenten Afternoon of Prayer, Reflection and Sound. Everything in our Universe is connected and through my own personal prayer, I wanted to correlate prayer and sound through two elements of music: Call/Response and Texture.


Call/Response is a dialogue that we have with one another and with God.

All the way back in time, St. Augustine created the Te Deum which he sang with St. Ambrose. Augustine would sing a section and then Ambrose would answer back. Then in St. Mark’s Cathedral, there are two choir lofts facing one another containing an organ in each along with two choirs…one in each loft. One choir would sing across to the other choir and then that choir would respond. It was the beginning of antiphonal singing. When we ask someone how they are, we expect a response. There was a German mathematician by the name of August Ferdinand Mobius who invented from a round ring, a mobius which consists of twisting the ring to reconfigure its shape to look like a figure 8 on its side. When the mobius is flat in the figure 8 position, we can write: I speak, God listens; God speaks and I listen. The figure 8 symbol became the sign for infinity which means spiritually that our dialogue with God never ends but grows into a beautiful correspondent relationship. Every time we get together for a family event, we are layering time whereby creating a bond that will never die because it becomes thicker: this we call texture.


The Psalter, also known as the Book of Psalms, is the oldest book for Jews and Christians. The Psalms bring us closer to God because they speak with emotion. There are three languages that we use in our lifetime:


 Language I~ uses sounds and emotions

Language II ~ uses words, vocabulary, knowledge, and conversation

Language III ~ uses corporate, business, marketing exchange of words


Language II and Language III are used the most in our society.

Language I is neglected.

Language I is what we use when we come into the world as babies. They say

                    that it is the Language of lovers and saints


Language I is what God wants us to use when praying the Psalms.

God wants us to cry and speak to him in tears with a contrite heart.

The picture at the top of the page, as you can see, is half “ear” and half “heart.” When I looked at this word, I wanted to find the root of the word. I found “cor,” “cardio,” and “cardiac.” But my eyes didn’t see this word heart in this way. I see the word EAR and then I see the word HEAR and then I see the word HEART. My interpretation of it is that I use my ear to hear the Word of God and then it goes directly to my heart. This is where God wants the Word to go…to our hearts so that we will find our tears and our tears will purify and cultivate our souls.


The next aspect that I covered was SILENCE and how important it is for us to sit still and listen. When we are still, we think that there is nothing going on around us, but there are many things happening…the Holy Spirit is inspiring us…we are awaiting to hear a message from God. For it is in the silence of our hearts that we can hear God and have a conversation with him without anyone else knowing. I see this as the most beautiful aspect of all…that we have all of the privacy that we want and no one knows what is going on within us.


There are five weeks left to change ourselves, to change our relationship with God, to change our relationship with others. Jesus Christ gave us the example of what we were to do to model him and the Catholic Church gives us the opportunity to set aside six weeks each year to move our souls spiritually closer to the Trinity: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God the Holy Spirit.


 My Song du jour for this week: A New Commandment I Give to You.


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.


“That in all things God may be glorified”


Sr. Jo-El McLaughlin, OSB


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