Friday, July 18, 2014

DIES irae, dies illa

I just come across the Gregorian Chant Youtube of "DIES irae, dies illa" and the full text with English translation. Even though we are in the ordinary time of the liturgical year right now, but hearing the chant again bring back to the Lent season of 1957 or 1958 ,I am not quite  certain. That was a time I was still serving the ROTC active duty at the ROC Headquarter and stay at home. I was trying to attend daily mass during lent. Father Joseph Kung celebrated holy mass every morning, I went and served the mass. I remembered on one occassion Father Kung started singing Dies irae, dies illa. I also had the book to follow, so I started to sing the response, that surprised the Father. He turned around to tell me I did not have to do the response, he'll do them all. Even I insisted to continue, but those Latin verse were way over my head, I finally gave up so Father Kung did it all by himselfn as usually ther was no server during the week days. But for that one attempt that beautiful melody stayed with me all my life. Today for the first time I got the English translation and finally realized how beautiful the words are. The Englisg translation is just fabulous. For example these: 
O Judge of justice, hear, I pray,
for pity take my sins away
before the dreadful reckoning day.
[Iuste iudex ultionis,
donum fac remissionis,
ante diem rationis.]


You gracious face, O Lord, I seek;
deep shame and grief are on my cheek;
in sighs and tears my sorrows speak.
 [Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce Deus.]

I guess all I can say now is Deo gratias! for letting me relive this relished memory. I'm going to revisit the pages again next Lent season next year for certain.

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