26 July 2020

'My actions and my desires can have a divine scope and can change the face of the earth.' Sunday Reflections, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Feeding the Hungry
Master of the Acts of Mercy [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Matthew 14:13-21 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’  Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Stamp issued in Chile for the beatification of Fr Alberto Hurtado SJ, 16 October 1994

The late Fr John Griffin, a Columban colleague from New Zealand, who after many years in the Philippines went to work in Chile, wrote about a great saint of our times, San Alberto Hurtado SJ, a native of that country, in the last printed edition of Misyon, the Columban magazine in the Philippines that I edited from 2002 until 2017, the March-April 2008 issue.

One story he told in that article is a perfect expression of what happened in today's gospel. But first a little background in that same article:

Overall, Fr Hurtado is best known and remembered throughout Chile for his Hogar de Cristo (Christ’s Home) Foundation. The seed for this was sown late one night when he was on his way home to San Ignacio. He met a man who was in poor health, had eaten nothing all day and had nowhere to go.
This was the priest’s first encounter with such poverty and it moved him greatly. He did what he could for the man and then asked: ‘What are our Catholics doing for those who have no roof over their heads?’ He began asking this question during his retreats and so was born the idea of ‘Hogar de Cristo’. He formed a board of directors from people eager to help – six men and 30 women. Land was available alongside the Jesuit parish of Jesus the Worker and the first night-shelters were built and an appeal for funds began. By 1945 there were five shelters that had been able to house 12,000 poor men. Now it was time to do something for the numerous ‘street kids’ who spent their nights under the many bridges over the Mapocho River which runs for miles through Santiago. These youngsters needed educations as well as shelter and land was donated for this purpose a few miles to the north of the city near Colina railway station and a children’s home was built.
Today's gospel tells us: Jesus said to them, 'They need not go away; you give them something to eat.'

Stamp issued in Chile in 2001 for the centennial of the birth of  Padré Hurtado

Fr Griffin continues about San Alberto: 
Providence was always on his side. At a meeting one night his board of directors was unwilling, for lack of funds, to approve a new project. In the midst of discussions there was an unexpected call for Fr Hurtado to attend to someone at his front door. He had a brief conversation with the caller who said she wanted to leave a gift to help the great work he was doing.
He gratefully put her envelope in his pocket, wished her a good evening and returned to his meeting. He looked at the contents of the envelope as he sat down. Then he tossed a cheque onto the table saying, ‘There you are, you of little faith!’ It was for one million pesos – worth about US$30,000 at that time.

Statue of San Alberto Hurtado SJ
Viña del Mar, Chile, his birthplace [Wikipedia]

The directors on the board of Hogar de Cristo were being prudent, as they were supposed to be and, in being so, following what Jesus teaches us elsewhere in the gospels. But Father Alberto was listening to what Jesus said to the Apostles today: They need not go away; you give them something to eat.
I'm sure that when Father Alberto threw the check on the table and said 'There you are, you of little faith' he did so with a smile that expressed both irony and gratitude and that the board members saw the irony and felt the same sense of gratitude.
Once again we find the presence of Jesus in the needs of others - and in one who joyfully lives the Gospel.

Smile and move forward! Total sacrifice is perpetual joy. The squaring of the circle? No. Because there is a secret link between the gift of self, out of love, and peace of soul(San Alberto in a retreat to priests, 1948.)

The Gospel, radiant with the glory of Christ's cross, constantly invites us to rejoice. (Pope Francis, Evangelii GaudiumThe Joy of the Gospel, No 5, 2013.)

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes
Lambert Lombard [Web Gallery of Art]

Meditation during a retreat by San Alberto on the gift of self and cooperation.

Some of the details here are found in St John’s Gospel.
Indecision, faintheartedness is the great obstacle in the plan of cooperation.  We think: I’m not worth all that much, and from this comes discouragement: It makes no difference whether I act or fail to act.  Our powers of action are so limited.  Is my unpretentious work worthwhile? Does my abstaining from this have any meaning? If I fail to sacrifice myself nothing changes.  No one needs me . . . A mediocre vocation?  How many vocations are lost. It is the advice of the devil that is partly true.  The difficulty must be faced.

The solution

5,000 men along with women and children have been hungry for three days… Food? They would need at least 200 denarii to feed them and this is the approximate yearly salary of a labourer.

In the desert!  Tell them to go! But Andrew, more observant says: There are 5 loaves and 2 fish, but what are these among so many! Here we have our same problem: the disproportion.

And the loaves.  Made of barley, hard as rocks (the Jews used wheat).  And the fish.  They were from the lake, small, rather mushy in texture, carried by a young boy in a sack that had lain on the ground for three days in the heat . . . not much of a solution. 

Did the Lord despise this offering? No, and with his blessing he fed all the hungry and had leftovers. Neither did he despise the leftovers: 12 baskets of the surplus were gathered, fish heads and bones, but even this he valued. 

The young boy consented to give Christ his poor offering, not realizing that he would feed the multitude.  He believed that he had lost his small possession but he found instead that there was even a surplus and that he had cooperated for the good of the others. 

And me . . . like those fish (less than those loaves) bruised and perhaps decomposing but in the hands of Christ my action may have a divine scope a divine reach. 

Remember Ignatius, Augustine, Camillus de Lellis, and Matt Talbot, base sinners whose lives were converted into spiritual nourishment for millions who will continue to feed on their witness. 

My actions and my desires can have a divine scope and can change the face of the earth.  I will not know it, the fish did not know it either. I can do a great deal if I remain in Christ; I can accomplish much if I cooperate with Christ . . .

A Hymn to Alberto Hurtado SJ
Written by Pablo Coloma for the beatification of Blessed Alberto on 16 October 1994, Sung by Pablo Coloma and Ximena Concha

Alberto, hoy resuena tu nombre                        
Se escucha tu palabra encendida
Tu rostro hoy recorre las calles
Tu huella marca un nuevo camino
Profeta que anunciaste el Reino
Supiste denunciar el dolor
Reíste con un canto a la vida
Mostraste un camino mejor.

Alberto, your name resounds today,
your enlightening word is heard, 
your face is seen today on the streets,
your footprints mark a new path.
A prophet who proclaimed the Kingdom,
who knew about pain,
who laughed with a song to life,
who showed a better way.

Alberto contemplé tu figura
incendiando las calles de una oscura ciudad.
Y vi que mil rostros reían
y otros más comprendían que era el paso de Dios.
Alberto has tocado nuestra alma
y ya siento que enciende ese fuego de Dios.
Tu vida fue un regalo divino,
una historia que hizo de este Chile un hogar.

Alberto, I watched you
lighting up the streets of a dark city.
And I saw a thousand faces laughing
and others who understood that that was the way of God.
Alberto, you have touched our soul
and I feel that I am lit by the fire of God.
Your life was a divine gift,
a story that made this Chile a home.

Maestro que enseñaste a vivir
la vida como lo hizo Jesús,
mirando en los hombres que sufren
su cuerpo castigado en la cruz.

A teacher who taught how to live
as Jesus did,
looking at those who suffer,
his body punished on the cross.

Apóstol, compañero de pobres,
viviste en tu carne el dolor
de tantos que viván despreciados,
tus manos fueron pan y un hogar.

Apostle, companion of the poor, 
you lived in your flesh the pain
of the many who are despised,
your hands were bread and a home.

Alberto contemplé tu figura
incendiando las calles de una oscura ciudad.
Y vi que mil rostros reían
y otros más comprendían que era el paso de Dios.
Alberto has tocado nuestra alma
y ya siento que enciende ese fuego de Dios.
Tu vida derramada en las calles
se alsa inmensa hasta el cielo en las manos de todos.

Alberto, I watched you
lighting up the streets of a dark city.
And I saw a thousand faces laughing and others who understood
that that was the way of God.
Alberto, you have touched our soul
and I feel that I am lit by the fire of God.
Your life poured out on the streets
is infinitely raised to heaven in the hands of all.

Just as St Teresa of Kolkata is known to everyone simply as 'Mother Teresa' and St Pius of Pietrelcina as 'Padre Pio', San Alberto is known to Chileans still as 'Padré Hurtado'.

Schola Gregoriana Abba Caelum, Seoul, Korea

Antiphona ad communionem  
Communion Antiphon Wisdom 16:20

Panem de caelo dedisti nobis, Domine,
You have given us, O Lord, bread form heaven,
habentem omne delectamentum, et omnem saporem suavitas.
endowed with all delights and sweetness to every taste.

On Sundays in Ordinary Time there is a choice between a Communion Antiphon with an Old Testament text and one with a New Testament text. The above is the former.

Extraordinary Form of the Mass
Traditional Latin Mass (TLM)

This Sunday, 2 August, is the Ninth Sunday After Pentecost in the calendar that uses the TLM. Complete Mass in Latin and English here.

23 July 2020

'On finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.' Sunday Reflections, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Girl with a Pearl Earring
Johannes Vermeer [Web Gallery of Art]

On finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it [Matthew 13:46].

In his Introduction to the Devout Life (1608), which was published in a Dutch translation in 1616, the mystic St Francis De Sales (1567-1622) wrote, 'Both now and in the past it has been customary for women to hang pearls from their ears; as Pliny observed, they gain pleasure from the sensation of the swinging pearls touching them. But I know that God's friend, Isaac, sent earrings to chaste Rebecca as a first token of his love. This leads me to think that this jewel has a spiritual meaning, namely that the first part of the body that a man wants, and which a woman must loyally protect, is the ear; no word or sound should enter it other than the sweet sound of chaste words, which are the oriental pearls of the gospel.' [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Matthew 13:44-52 or 13:44-46 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

Jesus said to his disciples:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.’

[‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’]

The Institution of the Eucharist
Federico Fiori Barocci [Web Gallery of Art]
A couple of Sundays ago I took part in Mass, as a concelebrating priest, outside of where I live for the first time since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in Ireland in early March. It was in the monastery of the Poor Clares in Dublin. The Mass was for a friend and former parishioner of mine in Tangub City, Misamis Occidental, Philippines, Mrs Sophronia Gelera, who died in June at the age of 86. Nang Ponying, as she was known, had lost her husband Fortunato, whom I never knew, in an accident when Gina, the youngest of their six children, was less than a year old. (Nang is an honorific used by Visayan-speakers when speaking or referring to a woman or girl older than themselves, including sisters). 

Jimmy, the second in the family and the eldest of three brothers, was killed in a motorcycle accident on 26 January 1980, a Saturday, a few weeks after his 24th birthday. Just a few hours after giving him Holy Communion at Mass that morning I was called to the hospital to give him the Last Rites. That was when I became really close to the Gelera family. Jimmy's funeral Mass was the most difficult I have ever celebrated. But I remember at the very end of the funeral in the cemetery Nang Ponying said a prayer in which she handed back her eldest son to God.

Gina's graduation from college, October 1983
Immaculate Conception College, Ozamiz City.
With her sister Grace, her mother and me.

None of Nang Ponying's children were in the Philippines when she died, though they were able to 'meet' her before she died through Zoom family gatherings. And because of quarantine restrictions none of the five were able to travel home for the funeral.

Gina works with the Poor Clares and at the end of the Mass she gave a beautiful testimony to her mother's faith. It wasn't the shallow 'canonisation' that has become all too common at funeral Masses, but something that showed me the depth of Nang Ponying's faith.

Gina told of how on one day not long after Jimmy's death her mother had run out of cash and the only food in the house was a bunch of bananas (probably of the kind you cook - something Westerners are not familiar with). At the time only two of the family were still living with their mother, Gina and Grace, both in their teens. Nang Ponying decided that they would have half the bananas for breakfast and the other half for lunch. As it drew near six in the evening Gina asked her mother what they would do, since they had no food, Nang Ponying said, 'We will pray the Rosary as we always do at this time'. 

As they finished the Rosary there was a knock on the door. It was a neighbour who knew nothing of their situation bringing them newly-harvested rice as a gift.

After Mass on Nang Ponying's 80th Birthday
11 March 2014, with family and priests

Gina mentioned a number of times her mother's great trust in God's providence. Her words reminded me of a wonderful book called Self Abandonment to God's Providence by Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade SJ, which I am re-reading at the moment for the fifth or sixth time. It was edited and put together more than a century after Fr de Caussade's death in 1751.

Nang Ponying had developed a form of dementia in recent years but still got up each morning at 5 to attend the parish Mass at 6. And Gina wrote on Facebook that her mother had once said to her, I will not stop going to Holy Mass everyday even if my feet and slippers are worn out.

Gina spoke of her mother's great trust in the presence of Jesus the Risen Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. She went to the parish church and poured out her heart to the Lord  in the Blessed Sacrament whenever she felt burdened. She truly believed the words of Jesus: Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

Nang  Ponying was not a Scripture scholar or a theologian. But she knew that God had given her two precious 'pearls' as gifts. One was the gift of her Christian faith through baptism. The other was the gift of Jesus the Risen Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Blessed Sacrament. And by her example she continues to share these 'pearls' from God with her family and with many others, including myself. Solas na bhFlaithease uirthi - The Light of Heaven upon her.

The last photo of Gina with her mother

An Old Irish Prayer for the Dead

Abraimís cúig Phaidir do na mairbh, le hanam ár n-aithreacha, agus ár máithreacha, ár ndeartháireacha agus ár ndeirfiúracha, ár gcomhluadar agus ár ngaolta agus ár ndaoine muinteartha go léir a d’fhág an saol seo. Gach 
n-aon nach bhfuil duine aige, guímid leis: go dtuga Dia cuidiú na guí seo dó agus dea-bhás dúinn féin an lá déanach. Amen.

Let us say the Lord’s Prayer five times for the dead, for the souls of our father and our mothers, our brothers and sisters, our family and our relations and all the members of our community who have left this life. For those who have no one, we pray: may God help them with this prayer and give us a good death on the last day.

From Paidreachana Gaeilge, Prayers in Irish, edited by Donla uí Bhraonáin.

Adoro te devote
Produced by Canto Católico

Across the Pacific from the Philippines is Chile where this video is from and where Columban missionaries have been working for nearly 70 years. The video intersperses footage of La Fiesta de Cuasimodo, held on the Second Sunday of Easter, now also known as 'Divine Mercy Sunday', with the singing of a Eucharistic hymn in Latin composed by St Thomas Aquinas, Adoro te devote. An English translation is on the video. Below is the Latin text. The priest, carrying the Blessed Sacrament, is taken in a horse-drawn carriage to bring Holy Communion to the sick and the elderly who were unable to attend the ceremonies of the Sacred Paschal Triduum (the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday to the Easter Vigil).

This celebration takes place especially in communities near Santiago, the capital of Chile, some of which have now become part of the growing city. Again, it shows how the precious 'pearls' of the Christian faith and of the Blessed Sacrament are shared with the sick and the elderly while being passed from one generation to the next. The name Cuasimodo comes from the opening words in Latin of the Introit (Entrance Antiphon) on the Sunday after Easter: Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia - Like newborn infants, alleluia.
Adoro te devote, latens deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo Veritátis verius.

In Cruce latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et Humanitas,
Ambo tamen credens atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro pœnitens.

Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor:
Deum tamen meum te confiteor.
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.

O memoriale mortis Domini,
Panis vivus, vitam præstans homini,
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.

Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo Sanguine:
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ. Amen.

Salve Regina - Hail, Holy Queen
Produced by Canto Católico with 450 singers from 33 countries in April during the Covid-19 quarantine.

14 July 2020

‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.' Sunday Reflections, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Sheaves of Wheat
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

Jesus put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’
[He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet:
‘I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.’

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears  listen!]
Burning Weeds
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

In 1997 while on a visit to Toronto I read in a newspaper about a woman from the Philippines  who had been found guilty of embezzling about Can$250,000 over a period of time from the company for which she worked. The judge had no alternative but to send her to prison. However he was a very compassionate man. 

The judge was aware that the woman was no Al Capone. She had spent the money on surgery for her father in the Philippines, on improving her family's house there and on other family needs.

She was also pregnant.

The judge delayed the woman's imprisonment until six months after the birth of her child. She was also to serve her time in a women's prison near where she lived so that her family and friends could visit her easily.

The First Reading gives context to the parable of the good seed and the weeds: Through such works you have taught your people that the righteous must be kind, and you have filled your children with good hope, because you give repentance for sins (Wisdom 12:19)

The judge in this case was both righteous and kind. As one implementing justice on behalf of the state he had to punish the person before him because she had committed a serious crime. But he also filled her with good hope and, I've no doubt, gave her an opportunity to repent of her sins.

The parable shows once again God's mercy, God's desire to be merciful. He doesn't want to destroy what is good. He wants what is good to grow. He wants to cultivate the virtues in our lives by nourishing them through his grace and with our cooperation. 

But the parable also acknowledges the reality of evil. Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, the householder instructs his workers. We can choose to be 'weeds', to spurn God's mercy. The consequences are the result of our choice, not of God's. The author of the Book of Wisdom says to God, you give repentance for sins. God himself offers the grace of sorrow for our sins, the grace to ask God for forgiveness, won for us by Jesus on the Cross. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

The greatest expression of the God's mercy, given as a gift to the Church, is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which we often call confession or penance. On 28 March 2014 Pope Francis said this to confessors (emphasis added): 

First of all, the protagonist of the ministry of reconciliation is the Holy Spirit. The forgiveness that the Sacrament confers is the new life sent by the Risen Lord by means of His Spirit: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained' (Jn 20:22-23). Therefore, you are called to always be 'men of the Holy Spirit,' witnesses and heralds, joyful and strong, of the resurrection of the Lord. This testimony is read on the face, is heard in the voice of the priest who administers with faith and with 'unction' the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He welcomes penitents not with the attitude of a judge, not even with that of a simple man, but with the charity of God, with the love of a father who sees the son returning and goes to meet him, [with the love] of the shepherd who has found the lost sheep. The heart of the priest is a heart that knows how to be moved, not by sentimentality or mere emotion, but to the 'tender mercy' [viscere di misericordia] of the Lord! If it is true that tradition points out the dual role of doctor and judge for confessors, we must never forget that as a doctor he is called to heal and as a judge, to absolve.

The judge in Canada, though he had to be primarily a judge, also showed the charity of God, as many judges do. He showed compassion, which was expressed not only in the respect he showed the woman from the Philippines, but also in the respect he showed to her unborn child.

And Pope Francis shows us the way to avail of God's mercy so that when the reapers come there will be no 'weeds' to burn.

Lenten Penitential Service, St Peter's Basilica, Rome, 28 March 2014

The music being sung at that moment during the service was Miserere by Gregorio Allegri, a setting of the Latin translation of Psalm 51 (50). The refrain is the opening line of the psalm: Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam (Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love).

Miserere, by Gregorio Allegri
Sung by the Tallis Scholars

Wheat Stacks with Reaper
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

An old Protestant hymn from the USA, Bringing in the Sheaves, performed by the choir and orchestra of the New Apostolic Church in Cape Town (Kapstadt), South Africa. The hymn is based on Psalm 126 [125]:6.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
 carrying seed for the sowing; 
they come back, they come back, full of song, 
carrying their sheaves.