Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Protesting the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

In 3 weeks the "little Vatican" area surrounding Catholic University will be filled with pro-life demonstrators, pilgrims coming from all over the United States to protest on the anniversary of the legal and moral travesty of the Roe v. Wade decision by the United States Supreme Court. The religious events, including two Masses that each overflow the enormous Upper Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, culminate in a political event, a public rally and march that begin on the National Mall and end at the Supreme Court and the Capitol.

Marchers often pray the Rosary. Schools, marching together, sing.

I've often thought that it would be a good idea to have a song that was just right for this march. It would optimally be written in responsorial style, so that everyone except a leader would be able to sing without reading, and with time to catch a breath between refrains. I would want it to be theologically rich, and at the same time be an energizing, heartfelt protest song.

This is what I came up with. The music is by my collaborator on a number of projects, Charles Giffen, who administors CPDL and is a gifted and accomplished composer. Here is an mp3 of the music.

It may be surprising to note that Catholicism is not exactly a spiritual religion, but an embodied religion. It is tactile, incarnational, and bodily. God made us, body and soul, and He plans to raise us, body and soul. He, God the Son, became incarnate of the Virgin Mary. He died, and rose, body and soul.This text talks about these mysteries, and uses many of the Biblical images of bodiliness to illustrate the concrete, incarnational salvation that God has in store for all of us. Herein lies our human dignity: who were are, and what God has in store for us. This is why we feed the poor, heal the sick, and defend those who are in danger of being killed.

Anyone may use this song for any good purpose having to do with promoting the culture of life. The text appears after the break.

1. At the dawning of creation, God divided light from shade,
And He made us, male and female. In His image we were made.

(Refrain) And the life that God created we will honor and defend
From conception to the heavens; from beginning to the end.

2. God the Father called a people, and He drew them by the hand
And He led them through the desert and into the Promised Land.

3. In His saving Incarnation, Jesus bore a human frame
To restore the sacred Image hidden by our sin and shame.

4. And He walked among the people, healed the sick and raised the dead,
And the poor rejoiced at hearing the appealing words He said.

5. On the Cross, our gracious Savior Jesus laid His body down,
Dying as the Man of Sorrows; giving humankind a crown.

6. And He sent the Holy Spirit for forgiveness of our sins.
Even now God dwells among us; even now, new life begins.

7. When we share the Holy Myst’ries in the Eucharistic food
We are filled with life eternal: Jesus’ Body and His Blood.

8. When He comes again in glory, all the dead shall rise again,
And our human eyes shall see Him in the splendor of His reign.

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