Nostalgia and Grace, by Carolyn Lee (page 6)

Researching the Mysteries of Gregorian Chant

As a graduate student in England, I turned to a more detailed study of Gregorian Chant, hoping to discover what it was about it that had moved me so much. I made a pilgrimage to Salisbury Cathedral, the original home of the English “dialect” of the Chant. And back in London, I would sit day after day in the Music Room of the British Library and cover the desk with black-bound Chant volumes, trying to assemble the entire daily liturgy in the life of a traditional Christian monk.

It is amusing to recall my first encounter with the Introit of the Easter mass, “Ressurexi...” (“I am risen”). I remember singing it to myself, sotto voce, in a corner of the Music Room. The simplicity and sobriety of this chant astonished me. Having been raised on rousing Methodist hymns, I could not get over the feeling that the announcement of the Resurrection should have some kind of fanfare. It was very puzzling to find an unremarkable melody gently undulating on a minor third. I thought it was boring.

This indicates how little I understood sacred principles in art. As Adi Da Samraj has often pointed out, true sacred art is not sensationalist, or sentimental-it rather moves one to self-transcendence and the contemplation of Divine mysteries that have nothing to do with mere enthusiasm.