More Reflections for New Year and A Chant for New Year's Eve

My own reflections for this Sunday's Mass which falls on New Years Day are here.

Scripture readings and various commentaries for Sunday's Mass are here
( from The Centre for Liturgy at St Louis University USA.)

Fr.John Kavanaugh S.J suggests in his fine reflection here that we should sing the Te Deum on New Years Eve.

In this extract He says : "Sometimes the years seem to hurtle by. There are those days when I, my parents’ child, wonder: How do I let it all get away so fast? How can I hold on to it better? How can I see it better?

Well, at least numbering the years helps. Like birthdays and the change of seasons, the marking of a New Year invites us to remembrance and recollection. We all could learn a thing or two from that old religious practice of singing the Te Deum on December 31: a day to thank God for all the days, a moment to bless all the moments of mind and heart, breath and sight. A time to “see” and savor.

It is our celebration of Mary, the mother of God, who “treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart,” that starts our new year. And the gospel tells us of shepherds who took time to approach the mystery and wondrously saw Mary and Joseph and the child. “Once they saw, they understood.”

Even the ancient feast of the Epiphany celebrates our seeing, our witnessing of the mystery that God could take our very flesh and bones. In the light of the Incarnation, with the “showing” of God in Jesus, all is changed, all human ordinariness transformed, all of the commonplace transfigured and blessed.


A sense of how God “shows” in each day, how grace is manifest in every numbered year, allows us to take possession of our moments gently as time flashes by. We develop a richer taste for life itself, and our thanksgiving reaches deeper into our being.

If we fully enter into the revelation of Christmas, if we truly savor it and thereby savor the lives we’ve been gifted with, we may find ourselves joining the long march of witnesses, sent to all times and nations, to bestow the blessing of God that the Book of Numbers gave to

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord look kindly upon you and give you peace.”

There are many versions and translations of The Te Deum. It is attributed to two Fathers and Doctors of the Church, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine and is considered one of the most majestic chants in the Liturgy of the Church. 

It is sung in traditional seminaries and monastic houses at the Divine Office and for Double feasts of the First Class, The Nativity, Easter, Corpus Christi, Epiphany, Pentecost and those which have an Octave. The solemn Te Deum is sung on all occasions of public Church rejoicing (in Traditional Catholic Churches.)

If you want to know more on its history and uses of it click here
Here is just one version of the beautiful chant by the monks of one of the Abbeys of the Solesmes Congregation that I particularly like. (The video graphics are secondary to the music)

The words of the Te Deum are in English below - I have taken the liberty of replacing the thees and thous with You, because I like to talk to God in a normal voice. 

I didn't know what to put as more modern translation of the line "You did not abhor the Virgin's womb." and I don't really know what to make of that line anyway. If anyone would like to explain it I'll be grateful.

We praise You, O God :
    we acknowledge You to be the Lord.
All the earth worships You :
    the Father everlasting.
To You all Angels cry aloud :
    the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To You Cherubim and Seraphim :
    continually do we cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy :
    Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Your glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise You.
The  fellowship of the Prophets : praise You.
The noble community of Martyrs : praise You.
The holy Church throughout all the world :
    acknowledges You;
The Father : of an infinite Majesty;
honourable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit : the Comforter.
You are the King of Glory : O Christ.
You are the everlasting Son : of the Father.
When You decided to deliver man :
    You did not abhor the Virgin's womb.
When You overcame the sharpness of death :
    You opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
  You sit at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
We believe that You will come : to be our Judge.
We pray to You, help us, Your servants :
    whom You have redeemed with Your precious blood.
Make us be numbered with Your Saints : in glory everlasting.

[added later, mainly from Psalm verses:]

O Lord, save Your people :
    and bless Your heritage.
Govern them : and lift them up for ever.
Day by day : we magnify You;
And we worship Your Name : world without end.
Grant us, O Lord : to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let Your mercy light upon us :
    as our trust is in You
O Lord, in You have I trusted :
    let me never be confounded.

No comments: