Through their teaching, their recordings, and above all their example, the monks of Saint Benedict Abbey in Saint-Benoît-du-Lac have been, for over 80 years, staunch advocates of the Gregorian chant [...]
Meditation: Gregorian Chant
They spoke about it
The reference for gregorian chants in Quebec.
— Médium Large, ICI Radio-Canada
Inspires one to meditate.
— ICI Musique
Music therapy – the use of music to improve physical and mental health – was recognized in the West as a distinct discipline in the 1950s. While the relationships between music and human behaviour remain difficult to prove, the benefits of music on the mind and body have been definitively established.
There is a peacefulness to Gregorian chant that naturally brings about an inner calm that we all desire. The reasons for this soothing character stem from the chants’ origin in the original Latin liturgy: they are pure and linear, made up of a single musical line; there is no affectation, no other sound but voices singing in unison. This distinctive music has been forged over generations by monks practicing this meditative interpretation of sacred texts. With the first notes – their rhythm so different from that of our hectic lives – we are transported to a place that seems much more enticing than mundane everyday existence. No abrupt rhythmic changes, no vocal gymnastics – just the striking sound of many voices blending into one, a sound that makes you stop and listen, opening a path to self-reflection that has become necessary in today’s world.
Based on the cadence of the human breath, Gregorian chant creates an impression of space and of time standing still, which helps the mind focus, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure, making it a beneficial tool for both work and meditation. This in turn produces a state of relaxation and inner peace to which all practisers of meditation aspire. And is not the unison of mental and physical states one of meditation’s primary goals?
© Kathleen Désilets
Translation: Peter Christensen