Prayers of Saints (1994)
1. Prayer of Saint John Chrysostom
2. Prayer of Saint Augustine
3. Prayer of Catherine of Siena
4. Three Prayers
5. Prayer of Christina Rossetti

soprano and guitar
Texts: St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, Catherine of Siena, Mother Theresa, Soren Kierkegaard, and Christina Rossetti
Duration: 15 minutes

Premiere: Tim Johnson, guitar; Jenice (Gasior) Riebe, soprano; Weisman Art Gallery, University of Minnesota, June 1995  

Other performances: 
Megan Buness, soprano; David Evans, guitar; Metropolitan State College of Denver, February 15, 2005

Program notes:  
Kirchoff composed the music for Prayers of Saints in 1994 while a graduate student at the University of Minnesota.  The prayer texts selected for the five movements were penned by saints, theologians and poets spanning several centuries:  Saint John Chrysostom (c. 347-407); Saint Augustine (c. 354-430); Catherine of Siena (1347-1380); Christina Rossetti (1830-1894); Mother Teresa (1910-1997); and Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).

1. Prayer of Saint John Chrysostom

I am not worthy, Master.  I am not worthy Lord that you should come beneath the roof of my soul yet since you in your love toward all wish to dwell in me in boldness I come.  You command open the gates which you alone have forged and you will come in with love toward all as is your nature, you will come in and enlighten my darkened reason.  I believe that you will do this for you did not send away the harlot that came to you in tears; nor cast out the repentant publican; nor reject the thief who acknowledged your kingdom; nor forsake the repentant persecutor, but all of those who came to you in repentance were counted in the band of your friends who alone abide blessed forever, now and unto the endless ages.

2. Prayer of Saint Augustine

How then do I seek thee, O Lord?  For when I seek then, my God, I seek a happy life.  I will seek thee, that my soul may live.  For my body liveth by my soul; and my soul by thee.  How then do I seek a happy life, seeing as I have it not, until I can say, where I ought to say it, “It is enough?”

3. Prayer of Catherine of Siena

You eternal Trinity, you are a deep sea in which the more I enter the more I find, the more I find the more I seek.  The soul cannot be satiated in your abyss, for she continually hungers after you, eternal Trinity, desiring to see you in the light of your light.  As the heart desires the springs of living water, so my soul desires to leave the prison of this dark body and see you in truth.  O abyss, O eternal Godhead, O sea profound, what more could you give me than yourself?  You are the fire that ever burns without being consumed; you consume in your heat all the soul’s self-love; you are the fire which takes away cold; with your light you illuminate me so that I may know your truth.  Clothe me, clothe me with yourself, eternal truth, clothe me so I may run this mortal life with true obedience, and with the light of your most holy faith.

4. Three Prayers

Open wide the window of our spirits, O Lord, and fill us full of light; open wide the door of our hearts that we may receive and entertain you with all our powers of adoration and love.  (Christina Rossetti)

Lord, give me an open heart to find you everywhere, to glimpse the heaven enfolded in a bud, and experience eternity in the smallest act of love.  (Mother Teresa)
Father in heaven!  When the thought of you wakes in our hearts, let it not awaken like a frightened bird that flies about in dismay, but like a child waking from its sleep with a heavenly smile.  (Soren Kierkegaard)

5. Prayer of Christina Rossetti

O Lord God of time and eternity
      Who makes us creatures of time
That, when time is over,
      We may attain your blessed eternity;
With time, your gift,
      Give us also wisdom to redeem the timeß
            Lest our day of grace be lost;
                  For our Lord Jesus’ sake.

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