Thursday, April 26, 2012

Prayer to Jacinta

And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.
 – Mark 10:13-16
Happy Easter to everyone!

You may recall that Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco were the three children that saw the Virgin Mary appear at Fatima, Portugal in 1917. We are approaching the anniversary date on May 13 of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin.

I was reading an account that Sister Lucia wrote about her cousin Jacinta. In the usual style of saintly people she begins very humbly to tell the story. She was writing at the request of a bishop and begins by insisting that she is not a good writer and so on, but the account is fascinating to read. Lucia has a fine memory for small details which gives real life to her small intimate portrait of her good friend and cousin.

At the top of the story is a poem. I was touched by it and wondered who wrote it. I don't know why I was surprised to find out that it was Lucia herself who was the poetess.

I had been working on a song earlier. I had some chords that I liked and some ideas for a melody. I had been searching for some words that might fit. It may seem like a strange fit to have a bossa nova style song with saintly lyrics. But as I listened to it repeatedly, it began to feel right. I did the first version using Lucia's original words in Portuguese, and then I did a second version with English words that I translated myself. I didn't do a literal translation because I needed the words to fit the song. I think the meaning and sense of what Lucia is saying is conveyed in my translation. But of the two versions, I much prefer the original Portuguese one.

I apologize to Portuguese speakers for my pronunciation. I can understand Portuguese, but don't really speak it properly. I tend to mix in some Spanish pronunciation.

Here is a video of the song which I call "Prayer to Jacinta".

When I was doing the recording, I found that I couldn't sing and play at the same time as I usually do. I just found there was too much syncopation in both the guitar part and the vocals for me to get it right. So I recorded the guitar first and then added the vocals.

I decided to try adding a bass part. I had no idea what it should sound like. I was amazed that I came up with this wonderful bass line. I consider this a minor miracle. At times when I was playing it was as if my fingers had a mind of their own. I've only been playing bass for a few months, so I consider this bass part to be a tiny gift from God. I take it as a bit of encouragement to keep working on songs like this which I feel are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

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Prece à Jacinta (a poem by Lucía to Jacinta)
[Music by Michael of PublicVigil  © 2011]

Ó tu que a terra
Passaste voando,
Jacinta querida,
Numa dor intensa,
Jesus amando.

Não esqueças a prece
Que eu te pedia.
Sê minha amiga
Junto do trono
Da Virgem Maria.

Lírio de candura,
Pérola brilhante
Oh! lá no Céu
Onde vives triunfante,
Serafim de amor.

Com teu Irmãozinho
Roga por mim
Aos pés do Senhor.


Prayer to Jacinta
(This is my own, slightly liberal translation. But I think it captures the intent of Lucia.)

You flew through this life
Like a  little bird
My dear friend Jacinta

You sacrificed everything
For love of Christ

Please grant me this favor
I humbly beg of you
Remember our friendship
As you kneel in adoration
Before Our Lady’s throne

O lily of candor

O shining pearl

Now you’re in Heaven
Living eternally 

O Angel of love

With your brother Francisco
My dear friend Jacinta

Pray for me

At Our Lord’s feet

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