the agnus dei

Apr 22, 2022

the lamb of god has conquered. follow him! grant us peace!

Lamb of God Mosiac

The celebration of life has begun. Winter is over. Summer is on the horizon and feasting is in full swing. We know how to feast now—not in the gluttonous way of the past. But, in the trading of the food-focused feast for the life-giving feast of the Lamb of the God. We have made it through the darkness of Lent, once again. We have repented and are renewed!

We have cleansed our palate so that we can taste life more fully now.

In times of religious devotion, the prayer that I have sung in Latin since I was a child falls easily from my lips: The Agnus Dei in Latin.

I always remember how and when I learned it. I was in third grade. The little public elementary school was expanding as it was over capacity in 1973, so I found myself with my classmates being schooled in a little trailer in the parking lot. Mrs. Fleming was my beautiful young teacher who was as powerful a teacher as she was kind and thoughtful.

It was a bit exciting to be housed in the trailer—especially during the inclement weather of northern Indiana. The winter was snowy and the spring was stormy. Our teacher was brave and kept her little brood of third-graders calm and steady.

And, then there was Mrs. Olson in the Music Trailer.

She sported awkward black glasses, large thick circles connected and perched upon her nose with a little black mop of hair on her head. I remember her like I’ve known her all my life. She passed around fun musical instruments for us to shake and play while using an overhead projector to teach us about the melodic meaning of notes. She taught all the usual songs, but mixed in some religious ones as well. And, I mean religious!

She taught us the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God in Latin form!

This is the Communion prayer prayed at the Breaking of the Bread during Mass, based on the proclamation of John the Baptist: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29). She instructed us in Latin form as she surely prayed over us:

Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

I will never forget. We belted it out loud and strong. That chant permeated my soul and I left that little brown trailer humming it in my mind over and over—forever. 25 little souls forever chanting the Agnus Dei.

It was a public school.

I never said thank you. I had no idea what a miracle this was and the impact it would have on my life.

Thank you, Mrs. Olson and Mrs. Fleming. Thank you.

Your love was Superabundant and helped me find my way all these years. Today I am feasting on the Agnus Dei! Dona nobis pacem.

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