Nostalgia and Grace, by Carolyn Lee (page 7)

Researching the Mysteries of Gregorian Chant (continued)

As time went on, my studies gradually revealed Gregorian Chant had come to have its sacred and universal quality. The manuscripts and early printed Chant books that I always had my nose in proved that Gregorian Chant was regulated by principles of order that were never infringed for many centuries. Every gesture, every sacramental object had its exact place and function in the liturgical celebration, just as each person participating had a specific role, seat, and appropriate vestment.

The community regarded itself as “the body of Christ” and demonstrated this by submitting all individual choice in the liturgy to the greater whole, to a sacred form that expressed an eternal reality. I found that medieval Christians believed quite literally that their solemn worship was the reflection of a Divine form, the perpetual adoration of the angels in heaven around the throne of God. When I understood the larger picture, I came to appreciate the contemplative restraint of Gregorian Chant and also of the earliest forms of sacred polyphony (or music for a group of independent voices).