Source & Summit Founder Receives Lumen Vitae Medal
Source & Summit
Apr 5, 2023
On April 1, 2023, Source & Summit founder and CEO Adam Bartlett received the Lumen Vitae medal from St. Benedict's Abbey at the tenth annual Abbot's Table event in Kansas City, MO. He was recognized "for his work in growing the faith and elevating Catholic Liturgy through sacred music." We are deeply honored by the award that he received on behalf of all of those who have contributed in some way to the work and mission of Source & Summit, and he dedicates it to all those who use the Source & Summit Missal and Digital Platform in their efforts to elevate the liturgy and to share the Light of Life with the Church and the world.
The following is his award acceptance speech as well as the video of the award segment of the Abbot's Table event:
It is an indescribable honor to be here with you all this evening. As I’ve reflected upon this event over the past weeks, wondering what I might possibly say as I accept this award, the only images that have consistently come to mind are these:
Images of our Lord choosing the weak to lead the strong; of his call to fishermen on the shore of the Sea of Galilee to lead his Church; and of his calling a lowly 14 year old girl to bear the savior of the world. It is images like these that give me comfort when I consider how, in my case, he called a lowly Millennial musician out of the chaos of the postmodern world to a vocation that would lead him eventually to craft melodies for monks. And not only for monks, but also for college students, for youth conferences, and for parishes and cathedrals across the country and around the world where Catholics are gradually rediscovering the riches of the sung liturgy and of the sacred music tradition, not as a lifeless vestige from the past but as a means of encountering the Light of Christ and receiving the Light of Life.
As I have spent these past few days at St. Benedict’s Abbey and at Benedictine College, this is exactly what I’ve encountered. And these moments are always the greatest reward for me in the work that I do with Source & Summit day after day.
This has been my first actual visit to the Abbey in Atchison, though I have been with the monks in spirit for several years now. This is far from my first encounter with Benedictine life and spirituality, though, and with Benedictine monks. It’s no stretch for me to say that my vocation and entire imaginative vision are deeply Benedictine in character. My first visit to a Benedictine monastery was as a student when I attended a seminar on Gregorian chant offered by my soon-to-be chant teacher and mentor of many years, Fr. Columba Kelly of St. Meinrad Archabbey. He was inspired to take his monastic name from another spiritual friend and guide of mine, Blessed Columba Marmion, who was Abbot of the Belgian Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous in the early 20th century. But since Marmion was not yet beatified, Dom Columba had to reach back even further to the 5th century Irish monk, St. Columba of Iona, to take his monastic name.
These three different Columbas—these three holy monks—exemplify for me what it means to possess the Light of Life, or the Lumen Vitae, each in their own way. And I think that they also can help show us why Benedictine monks are so important in our times.
Beginning with the elder Columba, his principle task was to preserve the Light of Life that the Church had received directly from apostolic times, and to keep it burning for the future ages of Christendom. Of course, this Light was threatened to be snuffed out in the Western Church by the barbarian attacks from the north amidst the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. But the first Columba helped ensure that the Church would not be left to walk in darkness, but to be equipped to preserve and pass on the Light of Life to future generations, which he and his contemporaries successfully achieved.
The second Columba, Dom Columba Marmion, saw his task as helping us to possess the Light of Life within our souls, which is nothing more than the Divine Life of Jesus Christ that we receive as adopted sons and daughters of God. Marmion the Benedictine has had a tremendous influence on my life through his spiritual writings and letters of spiritual direction, all produced from within the silence of the monastic enclosure, and I believe that he is an important guide and intercessor for us all in our times.
The third Columba, who I knew well personally as a friend and teacher, Dom Columba Kelly, dedicated his life to helping the Church learn how to proclaim the Light of Life through the words and chants of the sacred liturgy. As he reiterated to me constantly, the Light and Life of Christ in the liturgy is made perceptible to us through the liturgy’s system of signs and symbols, of which the words and the chants of the liturgy are an integral part. His mission was to help bring to life the Word of God in song, both so that the Light of Christ might shine more brightly in our celebrations of the liturgy and also so that this Light might shine forth more brightly upon the face of the Church in the world as we go forth to live lives of missionary discipleship.
And so, it seems to me that these three dimensions of the Lumen Vitae—that it be constantly preserved, possessed, and proclaimed—illustrate precisely why we need monks, and especially Benedictine monks, in our times. And I truly mean it when I say that I rely upon their prayers daily, keeping the Light of Life burning in the Church and supplying for what is lacking in the Mystical Body of Christ in the world. It is my greatest comfort to think that resources that I helped produce might contribute in some small way to the continual sacrifice of praise that is offered, through work and prayer, by the holy ones in hidden places. The effects of their life and vocation are felt, I can assure you, by those of us who labor in the world.
And so I thank Fr. Abbot James, Prior Leven, Dwight Stephenson, Br. Florian, and all of the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey for their kind invitation to be here this evening and for the immense honor of this award. I also thank all of those who have helped in some way through the years to make the work that I do as a composer, editor, publisher, teacher, entrepreneur, and as a businessman possible. As the founder and head of Source & Summit, I truly lead what I believe is one of the most talented, innovative, and disruptive music and liturgy resource providers and tech companies in the Catholic Church today. And I thank them for their work that is helping hundreds (and soon-to-be thousands) of Catholic parishes, cathedrals, communities, seminaries, colleges and schools succeed in their efforts to elevate the liturgy through sacred music. I also thank my wonderful wife Brindy who has been faithfully at my side through the past 18 years as we have cast into the deep with great faith and profound patience, following wherever the Lord has called us. I also thank my children, Anna Maria, Ivy, and little Sawyer, for their bravery and fortitude in our many adventures across the country, following their father’s many crazy visions and ventures. And I would also like to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Benedict, St. Gregory the Great, Blessed Columba Marmion, Pope Saint John Paul II, and especially Pope Benedict XVI for their patronage, inspiration, and intercession during this period of authentic liturgical renewal that been burgeoning in the Church in recent decades. And above all I thank our merciful and provident Lord for beginning this good work, for sustaining it with his grace, and for guiding it to where I hope one day it will be brought to completion in the liturgy of the Heavenly Jerusalem where we will see God face to face and where our sacrifice of praise on earth will become the song of eternal glory.