Easter gifts; pulling out all the stops

Happy Easter Tuesday!

GRADUAL Ps. 117:24; Ps. 106:2
This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. Let those who have been redeemed by the Lord now speak, those whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy and gathered together from all lands. Alleluia, alleluia! The Lord is risen from the sepulchre, who for us hung upon a tree.

It’s not too late for Easter gifts. For yourself, or for your loved ones. I can’t think of anything better than this:

There are several versions out there, but I highly recommend the one pictured here, pocket sized, indestructible. My yellowed, dog-eared copy was published in 1954, but I’m hoping the new ones are of similar quality.

This thing is my daily companion, and it never fails to draw me into deeper contemplation. It also has the beauty of being effective no matter where one finds oneself on the spiritual journey. Lukewarm or fallen away friends or relatives? Perfect gift. It also has the benefit of not needing to be read front to back, and the lessons are quite short. Tell them to just crack it open to any random page, and read the lesson they fall upon. If you don’t have a copy yourself, please trust me, you will get more out of in the first week than you will ever get out of reading this space.

And now, please plug in your headphones.

I am normally a Low Mass person. I’m best able to offer worship amidst silence. But there are certain joyous days where music is so appropriate. Not in place of chant, mind you, but in addition to. Easter Day, and the days of Easter Season, are just that.

“Pulling out all the stops,” is not a metaphor. It’s literally what you do to a pipe organ to make it thunder for the final verse. Pulling out all the stops lets the air flow to every pipe, and if played well, on an actual pipe organ, the entire church fills with sound and motion… yes, booming sound makes things move, and you will feel your internal organs reverberate if the man in the loft is doing his job.

Yes, many hymns we hear at Mass today, especially Ordinary Form, were actually re-appropriated from proddyland. Many had to be reworked to remove heresy. And yes, the modern processional has wrongly replaced proper chant, instead of accompanying it… I get all that.

But it’s Easter, I’m joyful, and you need to have your organs to rumble. So here is a hymn originally from the 14th Century (Surrexit Christus hodie), Englishised in the 18th Century (John Wesley), played on an organ from the 19th Century.

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia,
our triumphant holy day; alleluia,
who did once upon the cross; alleluia,
suffer to redeem our loss; alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing; Alleluia,
unto Christ our heavenly king; alleluia,
who endured the cross and grave; alleluia,
sinners to redeem and save: alleluia!

But the pains which he endured; Alleluia,
our salvation have procured; alleluia,
now above the sky he’s King; alleluia,
where the angels ever sing: alleluia!

Sing we to our God above; Alleluia,
Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia,
Praise him, all you heavenly host; Alleluia,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Alleluia!

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