Kyrie, eleison

Kyrie, eleison.
Christe, eleison.
Kyrie, eleison.

The Kyrie is an early Christian prayer, with antecedents even before Christianity, with which we open our daily Mass most days at our parish church (we sing it after the Confiteor, “I confess,” in our Sunday Mass). It’s transliterated from the Greek, Κύριε, ἐλέησον — “Lord, have mercy” — and borrowed directly from the litanies of Eastern Christianity. It’s simultaneously a prayer of petition and thanksgiving, asking God to have mercy on our sins, as part of our penitential rite, and thanking Him for his great mercy and grace in our lives.

Last night I had an argument with a girl on the Internet, and reacted defensively and with anger and pride. I woke up this morning under a burden of guilt, shame, and embarrassment, not just for my ungraciousness in dealing with that situation, but for my whole demeanor yesterday. What kind of arrogant fool goes into a church meeting and signs documents in Latin? And then goes home, full of pride and self-importance, to write about his own personal transformation? As if his life and his experience were worth reading about?

I have always struggled with pride in blogging. How can one have a positive enough attitude about oneself and one’s life that one would write about it publicly, sharing oneself with the world, and yet not become so puffed up about it that one is consumed with pride? How can I blog humbly?

I was beating myself up so badly all this morning that I figured I would come home and delete this blog. But then I went to noon Mass, and with the Kyrie, threw myself upon the mercy of my Father…

At Mass Sunday, Ms. Betty, our organist and pianist, who’s not Catholic but Baptist, and who plays a rich and diverse repertoire of Christian music, stunned me all of a sudden with a song from my early childhood, that went straight to the tenderest part of my heart. I was taught it as a child at a Christian conference in Richmond we used to go to, and though I hadn’t heard it since, its simple words have never left me:

I cast all my cares upon You;
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.
And any time I don’t know what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon You.

And that’s who my Father is. His mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). Today when I laid down my burdens at His feet, I immediately found His peace. And throughout the rest of my day, was filled with love for Him and for others.

(I google and find, to my delight, that the song is “Cares Chorus” by Kelly Willard, first recorded back in 1978. And it’s a wonderful recording. And a new addition to my collection.)

2 thoughts on “Kyrie, eleison

  1. I’ve also struggled in the past with blogging, and being susceptible to showing off a little — and I found it REALLY difficult to blog or even talk about my conversion during the year or so it was really “happening.” It’s much easier for me to write about my indecision and vulnerability in the past tense than while it’s going on.

    I love that song; we also sang it a lot when we were little kids. During the year I was preparing to enter the Church, and for several months afterward, I would be moved to tears whenever Catholics sang songs (at Mass or elsewhere) that were really Protestant songs, especially the ones from my childhood. I cried once after Mass just because the children’s choir that was visiting the Cathedral in St Louis sang “He is Exalted,” the Twila Paris song. Something was so poignant and even awful about hearing Catholics sing something that felt like “ours” — both because it seemed sometimes like a move downward for the Catholics (like singing Shout to the Lord at Mass…and Shout to the Lord is even a comparatively good worship song), and because I really had to part from and grieve for my evangelical past. And the songs were embedded so deeply in that experience. I think music is the evangelical sacrament. I often felt like, “these Catholics can’t even understand what this song means to evangelicals and meant to me.” But still, I used to love/hate hearing evangelical worship songs in a Catholic context, for all of those reasons. (Now I mostly just hate it. But I’ve gotten snobbier. :P)

  2. Pingback: The First Harbingers « Catholicus nascens

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