The Soul of Sound and Silence – Br. Jim Woodrum

Br. Jim Woodrum

Finding God in Harvard Square:

1 Kings 19:9-13a;
Psalm 62;
Mark 4:35-41

Last week there was an interesting factoid released on rating the ten busiest Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority stations in Boston.You’ll be very proud to know that our very own Harvard Square Station ranked third just under South Station (#1) and Downtown Crossing (#2) with an average of 23,199 travelers entering the station on weekdays.[i]  So it comes as no surprise that at any time of day you can find a diverse and frenetic populace bustling through the Square and its surroundings on an infinite variety of missions be it school, work, or play.  And with all this activity comes a cacophony of sound that you’d expect to accompany the bronze medalist of busyness.  At any moment you could witness a motorcade transporting high ranking government officials or foreign dignitaries speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School, or an acrobat thrilling an audience with an impromptu performance of stunts, or hear any and all kinds of music being played live while waiting for the T to arrive.  Sometimes the sounds are not so pleasant.  The other day when I was taking a run along the Charles River, I experienced someone laying on their car horn to signal their displeasure at someone trying to make a illegal left turn onto JFK Street from Memorial Drive.  The sound was immensely disconcerting. Read More

Music and Photographs from Easter

7074228989_9f71e5257f_zClick on the links below to listen to musical selections from the Easter Vigil at the Monastery:

The Exsultet
Psalm 33:1-11
Psalm 46
Psalm 33:12-22
The Song of Moses
Psalm 122
The First Song of Isaiah
Psalm 42:1-7
Psalm 30
Psalm 98
The Litany
Jesus Christ is Risen Today


Click here to view a gallery of images from the Great Vigil of Easter 2012. Read More

Music from Good Friday

7056792311_3765a149bc_zClick on the links below to hear musical selections from the Good Friday liturgy.

Psalm 40:1-14
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended
Three Plainsong Anthems (We glory in your cross; We adore you, O Christ; O Savior of the world)
Four American Hymns (Jesus keep me near the cross; When Jesus came to Golgotha; When Jesus wept; Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow)
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle
And now, O Father, mindful of the love
Were you there?

Read More

Good Friday – Sung Passion Gospel

6910690172_c6ddacd2cd_zClick on the player above to hear the recording.
The Passion Gospel is sung by:

Br. Jim Woodrum (Narrator)
Andrew Sinnes, SSJE Intern (Jesus)
Noah Van Niel (Pontius Pilate, the crowd, and other voices)

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. Read More

Music from Maundy Thursday

Click on the links below to listen to audio selections from Maundy Thursday:

Gradual Psalm 78:14-20, 23-25    
Anthems sung by the Schola
Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love
Ubi Caritas
Go to dark Gethsemane

7053559059_225b86c1ab_zTo view photos from Maundy Thursday 2012 at the Monastery click here.

Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the holiest three days in an already holy week.  The liturgies of the so-called Triduum (from the Latin meaning ‘three days’) are in actuality one liturgy beginning with the Maundy Thursday eucharist and foot washing, continuing on Good Friday with the veneration of the cross and communion from bread and wine consecrated on Thursday, and culminating with the renewal of our baptismal vows and the first eucharist of the resurrection at the Great Vigil of Easter.  Once we commence with worship on Maundy Thursday, we are not formally dismissed until Easter Day.  The liturgy of Maundy Thursday commemorates the humility of the Lord in his willingness to do the most lowly of tasks.  The word ‘maundy’ is an English corruption of the Latin mandatum, from the ‘new commandment’ that Jesus gives his disciples after washing their feet.  In our re-enactment and remembrance of that event, the Superior washes the feet of members of the community, who in turn wash the feet of other community members, who in turn wash the feet of the gathered congregation, who in turn wash the feet of one another.  At the conclusion of our eucharistic feast, we are invited, as were the first disciples, to watch and pray with the Lord on the night before his crucifixion and death.  Consecrated bread and wine will be removed to the Lady Chapel, and the brothers will keep watch through the night.  Any and all are welcome to join us, for as long or as little time as is possible.  It is a solemn, sober, and somber night – for we know what the first disciples did not:  that Jesus will soon be arrested, tried unjustly, and put to death.  Accordingly the church is quietly stripped of all adornment, and the organ and all the bells of the monastery are silenced until the Great Vigil of Easter.

The Holiness of Beauty: Paraphrasing the Psalms – An Interview with the Rev. Dr. Carl P. Daw, Jr.

How did you begin writing hymns and psalm paraphrases?

When I was a seminarian at Sewanee, my liturgics professor, Marion J. Hatchett, was the chair of the text committee for The Hymnal 1982, and since I didn’t know that this was the sort of committee to which one was appointed – in all my experiences of committees to that point volunteers were welcome – I approached him and said, “I hear that you’re on the text committee; I’d like to work on that.” Fortunately, he did not tell me that I was an upstart (he likely assumed that, as a PhD in English, I would at the very least know how to punctuate). Instead he said to me, “Well, actually, we’re having a meeting in Nashville in a few weeks. Why don’t you come along and see what you think.” Of course, what was really happening was that they were seeing what they thought of me. Apparently, I was not completely useless, since they invited me to keep coming. Bit by bit, I’d help out with the revision of a few lines, then a stanza here, a paraphrase there. The first time I wrote a hymn on my own was because we had the tune Bridegroom by Peter Cutts, but found that the old words were just not salvageable. So I was asked to write a hymn text to fit that tune. The resulting hymn was “Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song” – my first hymn. That’s how it transpired that I worked my way up from revisions to paraphrases to hymns of my own. Read More