Music I Love: Lux Aeterna by Morten Lauridsen

Sunday night. I think it’s my favorite night of the week. Last night Michael and I were sitting in the library. He was working away on his forthcoming book, Platform. He was in the zone. I was catching up on email, blog posts, Facebook, etc. No real agenda. Just reflecting on the past week and planning for the one in front of me.

I love Sunday nights. It’s like a reboot. “Old things are passed away. Behold all things become new.” A brand new week awaits. A week to laugh, to cry, to grow and learn. A week to live.

The past week had been one full of challenges. For example, Jonah, my new grandson from Uganda, had a tuberculosis scare following a battery of medical tests he had after coming to the United States. All turned out well, but it was quite scary for a while. Especially considering the fact that his mom, my daughter Megan, is on medications which suppress her immune system.

The biggest challenge of all came when we got the devastating news that Madeline’s boyfriend was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. A hit and run, no less. (Don’t get me started.) He has no memory of anything. He just found himself waking up in an ambulance. He’s now recuperating at our home following major hip surgery and is still dealing with a lot of pain, but … he’s ALIVE. Thank you, Lord.

As Michael and I sat with our computers last night, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. My heart was full. I found myself pausing every now and then, closing my eyes, breathing slowly and deeply. Basking in the nearness of God.

As you might suspect, there was music in the background.

Yesterday evening’s soundtrack was Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna (translated Eternal Light). Part of the reason I felt particularly thankful was due to this music. Each time I listen to it, it transports my mind and my heart to a place of light. A place of Supreme love. A place of gratitude. Often it brings me to tears.

Below is a sample from this album. You will want to hear the whole piece, but here are parts III and IV, O NATA LUX and VENI, SANCTE SPIRITUS. (Part IV begins at 4:48)

Close your eyes and listen. For the next seven minutes see if you have a similar reaction.

You can go to this site to read the lyrics with their translation from Latin. (You can follow parts III and IV.)

As you listen, may your heart soar to a higher, more grateful place.

(You can find the entire album HERE.)

Question: What music sends your heart to a place of gratitude?

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22 Responses to “Music I Love: Lux Aeterna by Morten Lauridsen”

  1. Gail, this is truly amazing!!!!! I love listening to this kind of music. Here’s some of the few I like to listen to below. 🙂

    Thomas Newman
    James Newton Howard
    James Horner

  2. It seems to me that sometimes we are given extraordinary grace to face extraordinary circumstances. But to choose joy day after day against the continual barrage of little things requires great purpose. And we must continually nourish our souls. Thank you, friend, for acquainting us with one of the (many) ways you do this.

    The music is divine. Just added it to my Christmas list. 🙂

  3. I’m always looking for beautiful music. I downloaded this onto my iPhone and love it. Thak you Gail.

  4. Hi Dan. How fun to see your name here! How’s that precious wife of yours? Miss you guys.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece. I love your comment, “True, beauty found in music can soften the scars, heals the hurts, and dissolve the disappointments of the day.” You are so right.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Gail…
    Nicely presented and encouraged. This is a frequent practice in ending my days, usually much latter than tonight! But I was stuck tonight of the sheer and pure beauty of this work. It is if…at times, a beautiful orchestral score with/without voices and all the other variations that music employs…is enough!
    True, beauty found in music can soften the scars, heals the hurts, and dissolve the disappointments of the day. So it was tonight. Thanks for the urging!
    I trust some restful and grateful days await your family this week! Greet Mike!

  6. Prayers indeed. In difficult and confusing times focus on the things you know to be true. One truth, He is always with you. He’s everywhere present and filling all things. Look for him.

  7. Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Thanks for your reply, Kevin. You perspective is interesting to me.
    So, let me try and get this “wonder of it all” business straight because although my life is fairly pleasant, I’m just not sure I see how God’s secret plan works out for say, starving children in Darfur.
    I’m confused as to what God’s plan for Pol Pot or Hitler was, and how their decisions furthered this plan of his?
    I’m also confused as to how Tsunamis and earthquakes and other “acts of God” could possibly fit in to any sort of plan, especially for the victims.
    Thank you in advance, and thank you Compassionate Gail for allowing us to discuss this.

  9. Ah, but Mark, that’s part of the wonder of it all. Yes, we have free will, and can make our decisions on what we do and how we act, even whether we worship Him or not. That doesn’t change the fact that He has plans for each and every one of us, whether we embrace our faith in Him or deny Him. Even you. Perhaps, especially you.

    Does the fact that God has plans for us mean we don’t actually have free will? No, because God is everywhere and every-when, so what we decide (and even what we will someday decide) is incorporated into His plan. He isn’t making the decisions for us, the decisions we make simply serve to further His plan, and it doesn’t matter what drove the decision.

  10. Gail, Thank you for the music. It was just what I needed today. You are a blessing! I will be praying for your family. Please pray for our family too. We are going through a very hard trial.
    God bless!

  11. IT IS full of light! Thank you!

  12. Oh my gosh. Gail this is beautiful. I’m not a classical fan, but this is so moving. Thank you!

  13. It takes one to know one. 🙂

  14. You have a beautiful spirit, Gail. I think I know you well enough to say that. The fact that you’re drawn to this music is a kind of recognition, an audible mirror of which the music itself is the lesser of the two.

  15. Never could work out how there could be both God’s will — predestination, if you like — and free will.
    And, I wonder where that leaves us with your hit-and-run?
    It feels like your faith has empowered your compassion, which is a truly wonderful thing. It’s a shame that your God doesn’t learn some lessons from you!

  16. I know. It doesn’t make logical sense. I keep thinking of that person. What would cause someone to hit and run? What is going on in that person’s life? Must be tragic!

    Make no mistake. I am angry. But at the person, not God. We each make choices and must live with the consequences. And we have to live with the consequences of choices that others make. We are all connected to one another. For good and bad.

    Our responsibility is our response.

    What I’m grateful for is that God enables us, through his modeling and through his direct involvement, to respond in a way that has the potential to transform us into men and women who reflect the person of Christ. Our responses also have the potential to transform others and the world around us. We’re all connected.

    Thanks for your comment.

  17. Interesting that you thanked the Lord that Madeline’s boyfriend is OK after the hit-and-run, but feel no ill-will towards your mythical deity that the hit-and-run occurred in the first place. What a strange and irrational response. The paradox of faith, I suppose. Like standing in the ruins of a church after an act of God and resuming worship of the force behind the destruction.

  18. Food for thought indeed! Thanks!

  19. Sometimes I wonder what exactly Heaven’s worship will sound like. Here is music that might come close, but I am left to wonder whether the “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” would sound so…well, Western. 🙂 There might be some Samba tunes in there – or African drums. Interestingly enough, nowhere in Scripture (if you study the original language) do angels sing, so the angelic choirs may actually be human choirs. Food for thought.
    May the Lord bless your family this Thanksgiving.

  20. God sure enjoys His gift of song, doesn’t He? He gives it so graciously, and those who choose to share, from the birds to the choirs, bless us immensely.

    Thank YOU for sharing this…and I will keep your family in my prayers.

    A blessed Thanksgiving to you and Michael.

  21. Thanks for listening. I’m really astonished how powerful music can be. Have a wonderful day!

  22. Really, really lovely! Listening to this — in my own humble living room, surrounded by sleeping cat, work to be done, messes to pick up — put a different soundtrack to my day and reminded me that every moment lived in God’s presence (which is to say, every moment!) is sacred.

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