We finished off our celebration of New Year's Day and the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God last night by singing the akathist, a hymn of praise to the Theotokos (God-bearer, or Mother of God). I love, love, love this chant, which comes from the Eastern rites. It is beautiful!
Here's just a brief excerpt:
Rejoice, tree of shining fruit, whereby the faithful are nourished;
Rejoice, tree of goodly shade by which many are sheltered;
Rejoice, thou that hast carried in thy womb the Redeemer of captives;
Rejoice, thou that gave birth to the Guide of those who stray!
It had been a while since I'd sung it; I had to go dig through the bookshelf to find it, and I was a little bit worried that I'd have trouble with the chant because it's been so long since I've used anything other than Gregorian (with the exception of a few Pascha bits in Slavonic), but it all came back quickly.
Wow, I miss living in an area with Eastern Catholic churches! There aren't any here for hundreds of miles; while I was in college, there were two close enough to easily attend on Sundays. Matt's newest coworker is Russian Orthodox, and has invited us to attend Divine Liturgy with him--hopefully we will be able to take him up on that soon.