Maundy Thursday, like Palm Sunday, begins in joy and ends in sorrow. The music of Maundy Thursday usually recounts the events of the Last Supper, the foot-washing, the discourses found in the Gospel of John, the betrayal, and Jesus’ arrest. Orlando di Lasso’s “In Monte Oliveti” focuses with sad beauty on the solitary time when Jesus prayed alone in the garden, overcome by the horror of what he was about to take on, yet full of that humble abandonment and receptivity that lie at the heart of all the Christian mysteries.

In monte Oliveti ad patrem oravit:
Pater si fieri potest transeat a me calix iste.
Spiritus quidem promptus est caro autem infirma.
Fiat voluntas tua.
Verumtamen non sicut ego volo, sed sicut tu vis.
Fiat voluntas tua.

On the Mount of Olives he prayed to his Father:
“Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Let your will be done.
Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will,
Let your will be done.”

Articles by Nathaniel Peters

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