Skip to comments.Maronite Catholic: Qolo (Hymn) of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Posted on 08/04/2005 7:11:57 PM PDT by Siobhan
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And now you have the link! Finally, I can offer you something you are seeking :-)
The baby's funeral was done with beauty and great dignity. Preceeding the coffin, a young woman dressed all in black, carried a large photo of Michael. This was then placed against one of the candlesticks in the Sanctuary. The pews were embellished with white roses and a thin blue ribbon. In the Sanctuary, a simple heart of red roses had been placed. (The family specifically requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Albany Medical Hospital Children's Wing.)
Three Maronite priests + 1 Deacon, officiated at the Maronite Divine Liturgy. During communion, the physicians and nurses who had attended to Michael over the past few months, came forward and embraced the child's parents. They were most appreciative and truly moved by the sincere affection shown to them.
Michael's parents and grandparents both wrote poems and personally selected family members to read them towards the end of the service. The grandparent's poem was in Arabic. Michael's dad, however, wrote a poem on behalf of him and his wife and asked a cousin (a woman of great strength) to read it on their behalf. Twice during the reading, despite painstaking hours of rehearsal, her voice cracked). It was one of the most beautiful and moving testimonies I have ever heard. Michael turned 8 months old on the day of his death. Listening to the eulogy they wrote to their first and only child, it became obvious that Fr. Elie had counseled them well. There was no animosity towards God; rather, they assured their son that he had been loved before he was born and that with all of his physical ailments, he had taught them the meaning of love, having brought so much joy into their lives.
At the cemetery, following the final prayers, Michael's mother threw herself on his coffin and 'tapped' it, the way a mother taps a child's back in a loving embrace.
This past Sunday, his parents carried the offerings up during the Divine Liturgy. It did my heart and soul good to see them there. Afterwards, I embraced his dad, assured him of all the prayers I had offered up for his son and thanked him for teaching us the meaning of love and faith.
For those unfamiliar with the Eastern Catholic Churches, these are the moments that meld us together as a community. We share in the joy and grief of life that we all experience. We are like one big family, despite our differences.
Yes! She's really most comfortable singing religious hymns. That was where she first learned to sing after all. And she is from a very devout Maronite family.
Of her non-religious songs, I think my favorite is an adaptation she sings of a poem by Khalil Gibran, "A'tini al-Nay (Give me the flute)". A poem which I think speaks volumes about the Maronite soul -- our spirituality, our love of music, our ancient poetry, and our connection to the beauty of Mount Lebanon.
Here's a translation:
Give me the flute, and sing;
Immortality lies in a song
And even after we've perished
The flute continues to lament.
Have you taken refuge in the woods,
Away from places like me?
Followed streams on their courses
and climbed up the rocks?
Did you ever bathe in a perfume,
And dry yourself with a light?
Drink the dawn as wine,
Rarefied in goblets of ether?
Give me the flute then and sing.
The best of prayer is song,
And even when life perishes
The flute continues to lament
Have you spent an evening as I have done,
Among vines, where the golden candelabra
Did you sleep on the grass at night,
And let space be your blanket?
Abstaining from all that will come,
Forgetful of all that has passed?
Give the flute then and sing,
Singing is Justice for the heart.
And even after every guilt has perished,
The flute continues to lament
Give the flute and sing.
Forget illness and its cure.
People are nothing but lines,
Which are scribbled on water.
You got me in tears there. Yes, that is how we are as a community. I lost both of my parents back in 2002 -- 10 months apart from each other, my father in January of that year and my mother in November. They were married for 47 years and had seven children (I'm the youngest) and 14 grandchildren. At my mother's burial, we were all there and watched as she was lowered down next to my father and sang to her. It was a song that a member of my parent's parish wrote. They still make me cry thinking of the words to that song -- because it was not a lament but a song of thanksgiving to God.
These are words, from memory are:
How in the world can I ever repay you
for all of the love that you gave me today?
You gave me eyes so I can see;
You gave me home and family,
For every brother, for every sister,
how can I thank you?
How in the world can I ever repay you
for all of the peace that you gave me today?
You take us all, you make us one;
We see the mending of Your Son.
Let all be mending that once was broken,
and all enfolded.
How in the world can I ever repay you
for all of the joy that you gave me today
You take our hearts, you wash them clean;
We see fulfillment of our dreams.
Let all be spoken that once was promised,
and thus created.
I am so very sorry! Thank you for sharing that beautify composition. It is testimony to all that I have said about the Maronites.
You have made my point, though. The Maronites pull together through thick and thin. They celebrate birth, pray for those who are ill and fully join together when someone dies. When do you ever recall a priest driving 4 hours to be at the bedside of a dieing parishioner. Less than 24 hours after his return from the Maronite retreat, Abouna got the call that Michael was dieing, never batted an eyelash but jumped into his car and spent the entire afternoon and evening with this family, administering the Last Rites and counseling them in their grief. For this, he suffered the recriminations of some nun at the hospital who questioned his training and 'forgave' him for attending St. John's Seminary.
On a lighter note, in early December last year, a 95 year old parishioner died. Because he had been one of the founders, his funeral was held at St. Louis Gonzaga Maronite Church in Utica, NY - a 2 hour drive from Albany. Out of respect for the family, I took time off to attend Jay Jay's funeral.
Though early in December, a bitter cold snap had grasped the northeast with temperatures below zero. The church's funace gave out the previous night. Stepping into the church was like a trip into a meat locker. You could see your breath. I took my place in the pew near other members of the parish 'family'. The priest handed out blankets! Lol!!! I had a flashback to a conversation with Fr. Elie in which he described the churches in Lebanon. He explained that in summer, parishioners brought fans and in winter, blankets. So, here we gathered to remember a proud and honorable Maronite, shaking and shivering in the sub zero temperatures inside he church with a priest personally distributing blankets. No doubt Jay Jay cast an askew glance while laughing to himself and patting this priest on the back.
I will remember your parents in my prayers!
I am a great fan of Khalil Gibran. When I adopted my daughter, friends in Puerto Rico sent me his poem on Children - "your children are not your children.".
I have several of his books but The Prophet holds particular meaning and that poem is bookmarked forever.
I will try to obtain one of Fairuz's recordins. Thank you for sharing that!
You know, dear lady, I believe you have been listening to something of Fairuz without knowing it. The link that you posted in one of the posts above that lead to the maronite-heritage.com hymns has a hymn where Fairuz sings a little solo. Unless I'm completely mistaken (always a possibility and even a probability!) I think Fairuz sings the opening solo of the beautiful hymn "The Time Has Stopped". What a magnificagant piece of music! And so very western it's almost funny. You know how we Maronites love taking the best of other cultures and making it our own. Some of the nation patriotic songs sound very, er, European... (as in... well, never mind.) I believe if you go to Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Party website, they have free downloads of Patriotic Lebanese songs. Some are really great -- this one is my favorite. You can definitely hear the French influence in the dialect there. This one is Fairuz singing. Also anything by the Rahbani brothers is wonderful (I think this is one). Fairuz as you may know (as our globe-trotting daughter or Eire, Siobhan, will know) is married to Mansour Rahbani. Assy and Mansour Rahbani are Lebanon's -- and the Middle East in general's-- Gilbert & Sullivan or Rodgers & Hammerstein. Their musicals have traditionally performed every year at the Baalbek Music Festival in the summer held outdoors in the evening among those wondrous Phoenician ruins. When peace comes to Lebanon, and when you finally visit -- as I know you will -- you must see the great Music Festival!
I have never been to Lebanon. But I promise myself that when I do go there, I will attend that festival! And I will see the vineyards where my Sittie (grandmother) played as a little girl.
According to the booklet enclosed with the CD, the soloist is Aida Tomb. In fact, she is the principal soloist on nearly all of the selections from that CD - NDU Choir Roma 2003 LIVE. And .... that's the one I have been listening to this afternoon. There are several selections that I absolutely love. Oh to attend one of their concerts!
The NDU Maronite hymns are rich and sumptuous, like their beautiful liturgy. Here again, we see how the 'influence' from the Latin Church has impacted them, with seminaries in Paris and Rome. The Maronite Church has blossomed through these principal seminaries and contributed much to Western culture. Perhaps the Latin Church should consider building a seminary in Lebanon :-). Just imagine how the Maronites could influence the Latin Church!
Born in 1934! Remarkable that she is still going strong.
"The Lebanese dialect of Arabic is very different from that used by other Middle Eastern countries. As you've no doubt noticed, there is a very obvious French flavor to it. IMHO, that influence makes the language especially pleasant."
I've chanted with the Maronites a couple of times in Arabic. Arabic is an incredibly beautiful language to sing in, which I find surprising because spoken Arabic to my western ear sounds harsh.
I think you're right. The Lebanese dialect sounds softer come to think of it.
"This is what I love so much about the Maronite Church! We gather as a community to pray and then share our mutual faith afterwards, with coffee and special delicacies offered up by a member of the congregation."
I think this is a bigger eastern tradition. We do much the same thing in the Byzantine church. There's always food and fellowship after liturgy, and it seems that we always have visitors. We also seem to have at least one Roman Catholic seminarian as well as a deacon or two attending Divine Liturgy.
And this in a parish that has maybe 50 families.
Perhaps it was John Paul's funeral or the Novendiale Masses that followed but US catholics are beginning to discover the Eastern Churches. Like you, we seem to have visitors each week. One woman who came today is from a local parish that was just shut down by the bishop. She was so impressed and plans to return.
You speak Arabic! I'm impressed!!! How and were did you learn it? Do you also read Arabic characters? I speak French and Italian, and can figure out Spanish and Portuguese but the great consternation with Arabic is the different alphabet. It's a double learning experience but one I would like to attempt. Any suggestions?
Speak Arabic? Heavens no...just some Italian and English. They have phonetic translations for the Arabic challenged. I follow along as best I can.
Bump for the Solemnity of the Assumption.
BTTT, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 2005!