Theme:”Sicut Cervus” and the Union of God’s Heart with Ours
The Stag (Deer)
In Christian art the stag has come to typify piety and religious aspiration and longing. The Stag symbolizes solitude, prayer and purity.
“As a Deer longs for running streams,
so my souls longs for you O God.
My soul thirsts for the living God”
( Psalm 42)
- From “A Primer to Catholic Symbolism,” Boston Catholic Journal
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“Sicut cervus is by many accounts the most outstanding example of religious choral art from the Renaissance. It was written by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, often called “The Savior of Church Music,” for his role in purging secular influences which had pervaded liturgical music in his time….”
“The Latin text is taken from Psalm 42: “As the deer longs for flowing waters, so longs my soul for you, O God.” The allusion to baptism makes this motet ideal for the Easter Vigil (Psalm 42 occurs as one of the Responsorial Psalms that night) and indeed for all of Eastertide. In a more general sense, the soul’s longing for union with God can be fulfilled in the reception of the Eucharist, making Sicut cervus an excellent choice for any Communion-time meditation.”
- From “Sicut Cervus,” Cantica NOVA Online Catalog
Free mp3 sample here.
PALESTRINA: Missa Sine Nomine / Missa L’Homme Arme / Motets
San Petronio Cappella Musicale Soloists; Sergio Vartolo, Conductor; Naxos.
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“It is precisely here that the Holy Eucharist supplies for what we could never do by ourselves: love others with total self-sacrifice. We must be animated by the light and strength that comes from the heart of Jesus Christ. If, as He said, “without me you can do nothing,” it is certainly impossible to give ourselves to others, tirelessly and patiently and continually, in a word, heartily, unless His grace gives us the power to do so.
And where does His grace come from? From the depths of His divine heart, present in the Eucharist, offered daily for us on the altar and available to us always in the sacrament of Communion.
Animated by His help and enlightened by His Word-made-flesh, we shall be able to love the loveless, to give to the ungrateful, to bear up with those whom God’s Providence puts into our lives in order to prove to Him how much we love Him. After all, He loved and loves us in spite of our lovelessness and ingratitude and downright coldness to the Lord who made us for Himself and who leads us to our destiny by the path of self-immolation – which is another name for sacrifice. We surrender ourselves to Him as He surrendered Himself for us, and thus make the Eucharist what Christ wants it to be – a union of God’s heart with ours as a prelude to His possession of us for all eternity.”
- From “Devotion to the Holy Eucharist Advances Devotion to Jesus’ Person,” Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.