Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dies Irae

November 8th is the day on which the Order of Preachers remembers and prays for its deceased members. Today at 7:00 p.m. the Bl. Margaret of Castello chapter will recite the Office of the Dead (Vespers) for deceased Dominicans in the day chapel at St. John's Cathedral in Boise. We will begin by chanting Dies Irae (though we don't expect to sound anything like the men and boys' choir in this video).

Dies Irae is the traditional sequence of the Requiem Mass. It is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Latin poetry; its beauty is apparent even to those of us who have very little Latin.

St. Thomas More teaches that meditation on the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven) is a first-class remedy against sin. Dies Irae, rich in food for such meditation, has unfortunately been squelched in the Ordinary Rite by those who (unjustly) consider it morbid; but since it survives in the 1962 Missal, the door is open for its comeback.

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