Numerous churches throughout the world will conduct a Tenebrae service on the evening of Wednesday of Holy Week, today. The service will be essentially the anticipated offices of Matins and Lauds for Maundy Thursday, tomorrow.
One of the responsories will be Amicus meus osculi, of which the setting by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), often called God’s composer, is below. It tells of the plan of Judas Iscariot to sell our Lord to the authorities and mirrors the Gospel of Palm Sunday just past. It has been suggested that Judas clinched the deal on Wednesday.
Amicus meus osculi me tradidit signo:
Quem osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum:
hoc malum fecit signum,
qui per osculum adimplevit homicidium.
Infelix praetermisit pretium sanguinis,
et in fine laqueo se suspendit.
Bonum erat illi,
si natus non fuisset homo ille.
The sign by which my friend betrayed me was a kiss:
The one I shall kiss, he is your man, seize him.
This was the evil sign he gave,
and through a kiss murder he wrought.
The wretch returned the blood money,
and in the end he hanged himself.
It were better for him had that man never been born.
For the contemplation of friends of CP&S this coming night before bed. I’m sure we too have been guilty of the odd betrayal of Him this past year.