Ad te levavi is an introit sung during the first Sunday of Advent. As the church cycle begins, a song of hope and reliance of God is lifted to the heavens, this cry for help and deliverance forming the structure of all that is to come, a musical anticipation of Christ’s advent and the salvation of the world.
Before the proliferation of the printing press, musical memory was an important aspect of liturgical life, as the very melodies used during worship marked the times and seasons, the notes themselves serving as signposts for days and hours. From the first few notes of the original chant, worshipers would instantly know: it is now Advent. God has come to dwell with humankind. The darkness of sin and death has been scattered by the unapproachable light of the divine glory who will become approachable in the manger in Bethlehem.
Ad te levávi ánimam méam:
Déus méus in te confído,
neque irrídeant me inimíci méi:
étenim univérsi qui te exspéctant,
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul
In You, my God, I put my trust
Let me not be humiliated
Nor let my enemies triumph over me
Let none who look to you be put to shame (Psalm 25)