Daemon Irrepit Callidus – Gyorgy Orban (b.1947)

This article was written for the March 2020 issue of our parish magazine. Here it is for you again:

I met this piece during a Manchester Chorale rehearsal early in 2020. The words struck me as perfect to represent the temptations of Lent:

Daemon irrepit callidus

Allicit cor honoribus,

Ponit fraudes inter laudes, cantus, saltus.

Quidquid amabile Daemon dat,

Cor Jesu minus aestimat.

The Devil speaks expertly,

Tempting the honourable heart;

He sets forth trickery amidst praise, song, and dance.

However appealing the Devil is,

It is still worth less than the heart of Jesus.

Caro venatur sensibus;

Sensus adhaeret dapibus;

Inescatur, impinguatur, dilatatur.  Quidquid amabile Caro dat,

Cor Jesu minus aestimat.

The Flesh is tempted by sensuality;  Gluttony clings to our senses;

It overgrows, it encroaches, it stretches.

However appealing the flesh is,

It is still worth less than the heart of Jesus.

Adde mundorum milia,

Mille millena gaudia;

Cordis aestum non explebunt, non arcebunt.

Quidquid amabile Totum dat,

Cor Jesu minus aestimat.

Though the Universe may confer Thousands upon thousands of praises,

They neither fulfil nor put out the desire of the heart.

However appealing the whole Universe is,

It is still worth less than the heart of Jesus.

The text is medieval and anonymous, but the composer uses many musical devices to depict the artifice and deceptions of the devil, including minor second intervals, augmented chords and chromatic scales.

It is possible to resist negative temptations by making opposing positive actions: instead of complaining or spreading negative gossip, praise others – and pray for them; instead of buying new clothes, donate some of what you already have – and choose to shop ‘pre-loved’; instead of eating the chocolate that you buy, donate it to Barnabus. Instead of depriving ourselves, we could modify what we do, or take on additional activities. For example:

  1. If your schedule permits, how about attending a midweek service, online or in person. We can offer
    • Compline – 9:00pm Mondays via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/StMaggieP
    • Eucharist (said) – 10:00am Wednesdays at St Margaret’s followed by coffee, or online via Facebook
    • Morning prayer – 8:30am Thursdays at St Margaret’s followed by “Warm Hub/Place of Welcome” or via Facebook
  1. Reconsider how you use technology, in particular social media. Is it a stealthy time-thief in your life? You could use social media differently, perhaps to access online prayers and services (see above). If you are able to use your phone less, spend some time with people in real life.
  2. Read a theology book. It doesn’t have to be a dry and weighty tome! There are plenty of accessible texts available, or maybe download a “thought for the day” app with guidance for daily prayer or meditation.
  3. Pray a psalm daily. This could be a different psalm for each day of Lent, or bits of one psalm (119 is a good one) each day and pray with it.

I’m sure you can think of many other examples!

You can listen to Daemon Irrepit Callidus (and follow the words and music) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oit5N9oHDDg

Carol P

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