Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, then we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy. - Psalm 126:1-2a

I am a cantor at my church, Our Lady of the Lake. Part of what I do is to chant the Psalm of the day which is between the reading from the Old Testament and the Epistle. Actually it is my favorite part of being a cantor. As Catholics, our worship is often antiphonal, and this is the case with the Psalms. The way it works is the cantor proclaims an antiphon, the congregation repeats it, and the cantor chants verses of the Psalm. The congregation responds to each verse of the Psalm with the antiphon. Done in the proper way, it is really quite beautiful.

Todays antiphon for the congregation is "The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy." So, as is usual, I led the Psalm. And as is almost always typical, the congregation weakly responded. When I finished the Psalm and returned to my seat, I commented to my friend Loretta who was sitting next to me, "They didn't sound like they were filled with joy."

The joy of the season of Advent is that of anticipating. Children anticipate the joy of the coming of Santa. Parents anticipate the joy of their children's faces when Christmas morning arrives. When December 25 rolls around, the hours of daylight begin to increase, and we begin to anticipate spring. All of these events find the source of their joy in the birth of Christ in the manger in Bethlehem. Without Christ, what is there to anticipate?

So, although the congregation may not seem to be filled with joy while singing the response to the Psalm at Mass, I find consolation that joy is there nonetheless. How can it not be? The Lord is coming!

You are the joy of every human heart, king of all the nations. Lord Jesus! Come!