Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Once just a singer in the Chapel choir in Rome, Gregorio Allegri had emerged as a talented composer. As Holy Week approached in 1638, he composed a work called Miserere mei, Deus (which, in English, means “Have Mercy on Me, O Lord”).

Performed twice that week, the setting was dramatic. Both services started at 3 a.m., and the church was only lit by 27 candles, which were extinguished one at a time. As only the final candle burned, the pope (Innocent X) humbly kneeled before the altar, praying while the Miserere was sung.

Innocent was so moved that he wanted the music service repeated each Holy Week. He even refused to allow it to be performed anywhere else.

(The ban finally was broken in April 1770 when the 14-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote out the entire piece from memory after hearing just one performance. Eventually, Mozart and his father were instrumental in having this music published.)

Today, Allegri’s masterpiece is heard during Holy Week in many churches throughout the world. Choirs sing the Biblically-based text: “Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great good goodness. Wash me from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.” It is music with a purity that quiets hearts, and causes men and women to think about God’s great mercy.

During this Holy Week and this Passover season, pause to think about what God’s mercy means to you. He sent Jesus to die for you. He has forgiven your sins and cleansed you from all unrighteousness. He has prepared riches in glory, just for you. You have not earned these blessings. But they are yours because of His mercies. Thank Him today!