Alessandro Vettori “Poets of DIVINE LOVE – Franciscan Mystical Poetry of the Thirteenth Century”, Fordham University Press, 2004, Introduction, pages XV and XVI
LAUDS AS PRAYERS
Alessandro Vettori writes:
The vernacular lauda was a rather primitive poetic form. Thanks to its inelegant, rough quality it could occupy a crucial position as a means of spiritual and moral growth among the lower classes. What the mendicant movement did on a sociological level, the lauda did on a catechetical level …. Likewise, the lauda provided a form of prayer both accessible and comprehensible to the majority of the people, and was a much-needed instrument of spiritual elevation and instruction.
The fact that most of the poetic texts considered are prayers introduces a discussion about their “sacredness” …. Music facilitates the complicated task of communicating verbally with God in prayer. The melody of “The Canticle of Brother Sun” and of Iacopone’s lauds that may be classified as prayers poses the question of an understanding of music, as a concept of natural harmony …. Through this all-encompassing idea of harmony, Franciscanism evinces the originality of its mission and the novelty of its inspiration.
I cannot understand
how the Church of Todi could underestimate all this. Jacopone, following the example and recommendation of Francis, taught the poor illiterate people of his time to pray by singing in the vernacular. What mission could be more noble and holy than this?