Carmelite Family Prayers: Chant Composition
  • Greetings, CMAA community! Laudetur Jesus Christus!

    This is my first post in the forums, although I have long benefitted from reading others' thoughts in the discussions here. I am a seminarian at St. Patrick's Seminary in California, where we are blessed with the presence of Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB on our faculty. Previously, I was in formation with the Discalced Carmelite friars, who pray these "Carmelite Family Prayers" every night after Vespers. Since discerning the Lord's call to diocesan priesthood, I have continued that practice on my own as a way of remaining in spiritual communion with the Carmelite Order. Since I often like to pray sung Vespers, however, I began ad libbing chant versions of these four prayers to follow the chanted office more naturally.

    The chants I came up with are based on the Gregorian psalm tones (for example, you will see the chanted prayer to St. Teresa borrows the incipit from tone seven), but have become more complex than simply singing the text to a psalm tone, which would bore one to tears over many repetitions!

    After about a year of singing these chants in various permutations, I have finally sat down and attempted to write them out. In doing so, I edited and refined them a bit, but they may still be a little rough around the edges (especially the one to St. Teresa— after much work it still strikes me as a bit awkward to read and sing). I would greatly appreciate any improvements you all might suggest. This is my first composition project.
  • Matthew,

    Welcome to the comment side of the forum.

    I have a simple question. Is there a reason that your response is "That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ"?

    I have a not so simple question. Do Carmelites have their own tones for these prayers?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    "Become" is the word used in the current official English translation of various litanies. See, for example, the Litany of Loreto in the current Manual of Indulgences.
  • Thanks, Chris and chonak. "Become" is what the Carmelites use in their response to these prayers as well. There are no existing melodies, as far as I know; they might exist in the old Rituale Carmelitanum, but I don't believe so, and in any case they would be in Latin. The Carmelites (at least out West) don't have much of a chant tradition.
  • Chonak,

    Thank you.

    I shall put this factoid in the large basket marked "Reasons to mistrust the Vernacular renderings".
  • Andrew Malton
    Posts: 852
    I'll bite, cautiously. What's so different from "be made" to "become" that engenders such mistrust, @Chris?
  • Andrew,

    "To become" may indicate merely, "When he became an adult...." i.e., there isn't necessarily anyone acting on him.

    "To be made", strongly indicates "Someone acted to cause this change, other than the person changed."

    Since worthy-ness for the fulfillment of the promises of Christ requires us to respond to grace, and Grace is a gift, God Himself, we can't become worthy of the promises of Christ unless He make us worthy.