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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Music Video: Stella Maris

This piece seems to capture the silence and the stillness that I so covet by this point in Advent. The setting is medieval plainsong, a hymn to Mary in her title "Star of the Sea" (Stella Maris — thought by some to be an errant transcription of St. Jerome's translation of Miriam (Mary) as stilla maris — a "drop in the sea".)

The text echoes the readings many of our communities heard today, Isaiah and Matthew's pericope on John the Baptist:

Solve vincla reis,
profer lumen cæcis....

Loosen the chains of the guilty,
Send forth light to the blind...


Vitam praesta puram,
iter para tutum:
ut videntes Iesum
semper collaetemur.

Bestow a pure life,
Prepare a safe way:

That seeing Jesus,

We may ever rejoice.

I first heard this piece on the frozen edge of the Atlantic while making the Spiritual Exercises. Now I can't hear it without breathing deeply of silence, winter and the ocean.

May the silence enfold you, may drops of dew from heaven soothe your soul, may you travel in safety and may you rejoice heartily in the Lord on this Gaudete Sunday!

What joyous praises did your community give voice to this weekend? There's so much wonderful Advent music to hear, and so little time to hear it -- please share your feast with us in the comments!


  1. Thank you for the hauntingly beautiful chant on this cold Sunday afternoon.

  2. We have a recently-renovated Stella Maris Chapel here in Collegeville. It's on a bit of a peninsula that juts into the middle of the ever-gorgeous Lake Sagatagan. It's a small little thing--but oh so lovely. In order to access the chapel, one has to walk along a path all the way around the lake (about an hour) or somehow make it across the lake. The chapel is very small with only few of the monk-crafted chairs. The true gem is the statue of Mary, Stella Maris. The Blessed Mother is portrayed as pregnant. The statue is very, very fluid and wonderful. It's worth the trek (to Minnesota and then to the chapel)!


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