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Musical Musings: Lent

A New Lenten Hymn

One of the Latin chant hymns for Lent is Nunc tempus acceptabile (Now is the acceptable time). It paraphrases the sixth chapter of Saint Paul's second letter to the Corinthians:

Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: "In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. [II Cor 6:1-2]

The hymn Nunc tempus acceptabile is called for in the Liber hymnarium for the First Sunday of Lent. The pericope from II Corinthians is heard as the Second Reading on Ash Wednesday.

Kathleen Pluth, Communications Director for the Washington Theological Consortium, offers us a timely gift in this her original hymn text, paraphrasing the liturgical hymn above and useful during Lent. A cantor at Saint Louis Church in Alexandria, Virginia, she is working toward her Licentiate degree in Sacred Theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC. She has completed a cycle of new hymn texts for the liturgical year, updating traditional images and using Scripture from the Lectionary for each of her new hymns. CanticaNOVA Publications publishes these texts in our volume, Hymns for the Liturgical Year , by Kathleen Pluth. The preface, The Holy Circle, can be viewed on our website.

At the author's suggestion and with her kind permission, CanticaNOVA Publications offers this new Lenten hymn, similar to the ones in the collection, which you may use free of charge in your parish. We ask that you include the author's name and the copyright notice on any copies you make for choir or congregation.

The meter of the hymn is Long Meter (LM) Some tunes with this meter:

  • Conditor alme siderum   O Lord of Light
  • Duguet   O salutaris / O Saving Victim
  • Duke Street   Jesus Shall Reign / I Know That My Redeemer Lives
  • Eisenach   The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky
  • Erhalt uns Herr   Again We Keep This Solemn Fast / The Glory of These Forty Days
  • Jesu dulcis memoria   O Radiant Light / O Sun of Justice / Around the Throne a Glorious Band
  • Lledrod   Forth in the Peace of Christ
  • O waly waly;   As Longs the Deer
  • Old Hundredth   Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow
  • Tallis' Canon   All Praise to Thee, My God, this Night
  • Truro   Lift up Your Head, Ye Mighty Gates
  • Vexilla Regis   The Royal Banners Forward Go
  • Wareham   O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts
  • Werner   O salutaris hostia / O Saving Victim
  • Winchester New   On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry

Today Is the Accepted Time

   Kathleen Pluth Christ the Redeemer
  1. Today is the accepted time.
    Christ's healing light, the gift divine
    Shines forth to save the penitent
    To wake the world by means of Lent.
  2. The light of Christ will show the way
    That leads to God's salvation day.
    The rigor of this fasting mends
    The hearts that hateful sinning rends.
  3. Keep all our minds and bodies true
    In sacrifice, O God, to You,
    That we may join, when Lents have ceased,
    The everlasting Paschal Feast.
  4. Let all creation join to raise
    Most gracious Trinity, Your praise.
    And when your love has made us new,
    May we sing new songs, Lord, to You.
   Copyright © 2006 Kathleen Pluth

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