Chant: August 2008 Archives

In manibus tuis tempora mea

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In te speravi, Domine:
dixi: Tu es Deus meus,
in manibus tuis tempora mea.

The Offertory Antiphon for the Mass of the Nineteenth Sunday Per Annum is, to my mind, one of the most beautiful of the year. The text, Psalm 30, 15-16, is a familiar one; in this particular context -- the Offertory of the Mass -- it becomes extraordinarily poignant. It is an act of self-offering, of surrender, of what Dom Léhodey calls "holy abandonment."

Monsignor Knox translates it: "And still, Lord, my trust in thee is not shaken; still I cry, Thou art my God, my fate is in thy hand." I would be more inclined to render it thus: "In thee, O Lord, have I put my hope, saying, Thou art my God. In thy hands are the seasons and the days of my life."

The melody begins (like that other magnificent 2nd Mode Offertory, De Profundis) in the depths, on la, and then, over spe-ra-vi ascends to the fa and, without a breath, comes to rest in Domine. An energetic profession of faith, climbing to the summit of the melody, follows: "I have said, Thou art my God." Then, there is an act of abandonment into the hands of God; the melody lingers over the tem of tempora. "In thy hands are the seasons of my life, my days and my nights, my closures, and my new beginnings."

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.

Donations for Silverstream Priory