Où donc est ta demeure?

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A number of years ago, I composed music for a French Office hymn for the feast of Saint Andrew. It was a feastday gift for Dom André, O.Cist. The text spoke to me very powerfully. A melody for it came to me all at once, in a kind of stream of inspiration.

Why was I so touched by the text of this hymn when I first discovered it? There was something in it that connected deeply with the Magnificat Antiphon of the feast:

When blessed Andrew came to the place where the Cross had been prepared, he cried out and said: O goodly Cross, so long desired, and now made ready for my eager spirit; fearless and joyful do I come to thee; therefore, receive me also gladly, as the disciple of him who hung upon thee.

There was something else too: in the text of the hymn were many things deeply related to my own life experience.

As I prayed over the day's texts, it occurred to me that I might translate the text of this hymn. It is being sung in a number of French-speaking monasteries today. Accept it as a kind of meditatio, as way of repeating the Word in other words. This hymn has been for many a kind of gift; may it speak to your heart as compellingly as it first spoke to mine.

Where then is Thine abode,
O Lamb of God who invitest us?
Could it already be the tenth hour
for the disciple who set out to seek Thee?
For who canst know the day and hour
when Thou wilt turn to us and say:
Come and see!

The joy of meeting Thee
is a transfiguring brightness:
a flame in this world's night
since Thy Pascha's dazzling light.
Shine Thou within and overcome the darkness,
that we may hear the Spirit's murmur:
Jesus is Lord!

Filled now with Thy presence,
O God, our every dawn indwelling,
we announce to all who seek Thee
a burning joy, an incandescence.
Thou, Thou alone canst tell us
how that cry first didst pierce the silence:
Blessèd those who believe!

Lord, shall we not then follow Thee
with the faith of those fishers of men?
In this night of catching nothing
we know Thy hands are full.
Stand again on this our shore,
and cry Thou to us once more:
Cast the net!

On the threshold of Thy dwelling
Thy Cross shall be our sign;
for each apostle will have his hour
just as Thou didst have Thine.
Stay Thou with us, God our Master,
to sing in Thy disciples:
Hail, Cross of Life!

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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