Prayer has always been central to the great spiritual traditions of the world. While there are diverse styles of prayer, the aim of every act of prayer is the same: communion with the absolute. One style of prayer that seems to be at home in many a tradition is the chant.
What makes the chant so powerful a prayer?
First, a chant must be simple, in terms of lyric and melody. In its brevity, it is able to convey a deep spiritual truth. Secondly, it must be repeated, whether by line or as a whole, whether daily or multiple times within the day. Part of the spiritual discipline of the chant is the patience that repetition requires. Lastly, it must demand our attention. The chant asks us to be fully present to it and to ourselves, that we may see the depth that it reveals in its simplicity, and the newness it achieves in repetition.
“To Love and To Serve,” the newest album from Bukas Palad, follows this tradition of chant. It is, in a sense, the most experimental and ambitious album Bukas Palad has produced. Each of the 10 chants follows the discipline of the chant. Each chant has a different musical style and setting for prayer, but every song follows the discipline of the chant.
Find joy and peace in repeating “In omnibus, amare et servire Domino” – In everything, love and serve the Lord. Journey with Ignatius, Xavier, and Faber: “companions of Christ, friends in the Lord; pray for us, guide us still.” Rediscover hope in hearing that “For you, for you I have a plan. For you, for your welfare not for woe.”
Depth in simplicity, newness in repetition, communion in presence and attention: these are the spiritual riches waiting to be discovered in the tradition of chant. Join Bukas Palad in rediscovering this tradition of prayer as they launch “To Love and To Serve: Bukas Palad Chants” on Friday, 11 December 2009, half past seven in the evening, at the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University.