Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beautiful new version of the Ubi Caritas written for Royal Wedding

I do hope that this clip is not taken down from YouTube.

Paul Mealor
Photo: Lillian Bain Christie

A Welsh composer at the University of Aberdeen, Paul Mealor (b. 1975), composed this version of the ancient hymn, Ubi Caritas for the Royal Wedding and it was heard for the first time yesterday by an estimated 2 billion people. The words go back to somewhere in the 10th to the 14th century. It is a hauntingly beautiful setting. I was mesmerized when I heard it during the wedding as I got ready for work. I had to go online to find out who the composer was, not realizing it was brand new.

Based on what I was seeing on the internet last night, I'm not alone in being very hyped up by this beautiful piece.

As I listened to it over and again, I found myself pondering that separation which took place during the reformation with an ache in my heart that  longed deeply for a time when we are rejoined by all of our separated brethren. When I hear this beautiful version written by Mealor, I'll always lift my heart in prayer for that cause.

There is some background to this hymn worth noting. It is Eucharistic. Since our protestant brothers and sisters do not believe in the Real Presence, they would have a different take on the meaning of the words than Catholics (see Scriptural basis for Real Presence here).

From what is probably the greatest collection of Latin prayers online, with background ( -  for Ubi Caritas, they explain:

Ubi Cartitas is taken from the antiphons sung during the ceremony of the Washing of the Feet at the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. As is the entire Mass of the Last Supper, this hymn is intimately connected with the Eucharist, and is thus often used during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Recent tradition has the first line as "Ubi caritas et amor" (where charity and love are), but certain very early manuscripts show "Ubi caritas est vera" (where charity is true). The current Roman Missal favors this later version, while the 1962 Roman Missal and classical music favors the former.

The translation they have is as follows:

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.

WHERE charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.

Sheet music was just released for it. Here are some reviews I found online.

It's good to see that the Wikipedia page for Ubi Caritas has been updated to include a note about the Paul Mealor composition.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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