On Monday one of the organists called me and said, "Hey, Jamie, could you sing at a 9:30 funeral on Wednesday?" I said, "Let me see if I can get a babysitter and I'll call you back." She said, "They want 'Panis Angelicus' for Communion." I said I thought I could swing it.
I picked up the music from her that afternoon, and we ran through Panis Angelicus a couple of times last night. The first time it went fairly smoothly, but the second time I goofed up in a couple of places. It's harder to count when there's a baby tugging at your leg and asking to be picked up. The organist left, saying we'd be fine, and I thought, "WHAT have I gotten myself into?"
I was a stressball this morning. I was worried that the 9am adorer wouldn't show and I'd be stranded in the chapel waiting for a sub after my Adoration hour was over. I was worried that the babysitter would oversleep instead of meeting the kids and me in the parking lot at 9:05. I was mostly worried that I would hit some crazy wrong note (or five) and make a mess of the specially requested music for this poor guy's funeral.
But it mostly went fine. As I stepped up to the ambo to cantor the psalm I thought, "I cannot do this." I plunged in anyway, because what choice did I have? --none, and started smiling because Ps. 23 always makes me smile. "It's a funeral," I told myself. "You shouldn't be smiling at a funeral."
It's probably not a big deal to smile at Psalm 23, funeral or no.
The introduction to Panis Angelicus triggered my arrhythmia, worse than it's been in a long time. I thought, "UGH, I should have remembered my beta blocker this morning. Am I going to be able to handle the breathing for this piece if my heart is flying like this?" But one of the priests had come back to distribute communion to the Legion of Mary ladies who come to funerals and sing the congregation's parts, and I thought, "I am just going to sing this for Jesus, the best I can, and let him worry about the details."
The angelic bread becomes the bread of men. The heavenly bread puts an end to prefigurements. O marvelous thing: a servant, poor and humble, feeds upon the Lord.
It's a lovely piece. I think it went well.