Patrick's Blog

Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel)

February 6th, 2014 | Posted by pmpax in Music

Some months back I was approached where I attend the traditional Latin Mass to sing within the choir. Well, I wasn’t so much approached as socked in the arm as I was walking out of Church after finishing my prayers after Mass by Marietta, who happens to be the organist. She is as you can probably infer is a total character and dare I say firecracker! One of the members of the choir happened to be sitting in the pew closest to me when all of this transpired and began to chided Marietta, to which she responded with, “It’s ok! I’ve known him for years!”

That is pretty much how I was strong-armed into singing in the choir. I have never had any voice training, let along any idea how to read music. So why was I “asked” to sing? Simple enough answer, they were looking for some guys to help add to the small choir group.

I really have no clue as to what I am doing, I just basically parrot back what I hear by way of when we spend time practicing before Mass.

Even though I have no real idea as to what I am doing per se, I really have enjoyed singing within the choir during which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is taking place. Just as an aside, I have to mention how the other members are all so friendly, warm and inviting and that it has been really a lot of fun to able to get to know them better and to sing with them!

Here is the thing though that I have come to find in the short time that I have been “singing”, that there really is a deeply spiritual aspect to singing during Mass, it has made itself evidently clear that such is the case.

Our ever patient and kindhearted choir master Julie gave me an essay entitled “On the Duties of a Choir Singer” which was written by a religious about the sacred duties that are taken upon those who do sing during a religious ceremony. I will share that essay in the coming weeks by way of my Saintland web page, where it would be well suited to post there. Suffice to say, one point that was brought forth within the essay was that the choir singers raise their voices to give praise and glory to God, just as the Heavenly, Angelic Hosts do at the Throne of God.

Reading of that distinct reality really struck me in a way that while I knew it intellectually, it truly made me step back figuratively and take time to genuinely reflect upon and ponder the actuality of what that profoundly means. However much our amateurish voices may sound, that we are singing with our hearts and minds raised in prayer to give glory to Him who is King of All and the Lord of Lords and are doing so just as those Angelic Hosts are before God.

What a powerful realization of yet another example of how our material reality is so closely tied and overlaid of the coexisting spiritual reality.

Secondarily, the essay mentions how those of the choir help others to contemplate the glory and goodness of God, simply by way of our voices lifted in song. The choir is utilized by God to provide a further means by way of lifting those present to contemplate the goodness and glory of God.

Pretty heady stuff to think of if you think of it I think.

It goes without saying, but God certainly works in mysterious ways. If Marietta never popped me in the arm, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to come closer to Him and to help others to do so as well.

Pretty wild indeed! But then again God is wild like the wind.

A song which we sung recently is called Flos Carmeli, or the Flower of Carmel. It is a song dedicated to Our Lady, the Mother of Christ, whose whole mission is to lead us to Her Son and to the love and mercy of God.

Flos Carmeli, Flower of Carmel

Flos Carmeli, Flower of Carmel,
tall vine blossom laden; splendour of heaven, child-bearing yet maiden. None equals thee.

Mother so tender,
who no man didst know, on Carmel’s children
thy favours bestow.
Star of the Sea.

Strong stem of Jesse,
who bore one bright flower, be ever near us
and guard us each hour, who serve thee here.

Purest of lilies,
that flowers among thorns, bring help to the true heart that in weakness turns
and trusts in thee.

Strongest of armour,
we trust in thy might: under thy mantle,
hard pressed in the fight, we call to thee.

Our way uncertain, surrounded by foes, unfailing counsel you give to those who turn to thee.

O gentle Mother
who in Carmel reigns, share with your servants that gladness you gained and now enjoy.

Hail, Gate of Heaven, with glory now crowned, bring us to safety
where thy Son is found, true joy to see.

Vid Link: Flos Carmeli – Schola Cantorum Sancte Michael Archangele

flos carmeli


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