Adoro Te Devote

With devotion I adore
You, O God concealed;
Hidden under figures here,
yet by faith revealed.
Even prayer is silent now.
All my heart bows low.
Deepest truth is present here,
More than minds can know.

Seeing, touching, tasting You–
Senses can deceive.
Hearing is the path of faith
This shall I believe.
Jesus said it; I believe.
True His words must be:
God the Son, the Word of truth,
must speak truthfully.

On the cross You only hid
Your divinity.
Here You also have concealed
Your humanity.
Yet I still believe in both,
and this faith I say,
And the prayer the good thief prayed,
this I also pray.

Thomas saw Your wounded hands
And your wounded side
Even though I do not see
I am satisfied
Jesus Christ, my Lord, my God,
Gladly I adore.
Make me trust you, hope in you,
Love you more and more.

O memorial of the death
of my living Lord,
Living Bread whose saving health
Human life restored.
Let me find my life in You,
Ever-living food.
Let me ever taste of You,
Knowing You are good.

Pelican, so full of love,
Jesus, gracious Lord,
Wash me, cleanse me of my sins
in Your blood outpoured.
All the sins in all the world
that have ever been–
Just one drop is blood enough:
all may be made clean.

Jesus, hidden from my eyes,
Bring me to that place
Where your saints in endless joy
See you face to face.
How I long to gaze on you
Through eternity.
Blest are they who trust in you
And your glory see. Amen.

Imagination and the New Evangelization: For Greater Glory

The movie For Greater Glory opened this weekend, with the topical subject of religious freedom. It tells a story of martyrdom, heroism, and discernment, in a time and place not far from our own.
Movies, like music, aim a message towards the entire human person, in their spiritual, emotional, and intellectual life. They can convince more deeply than rational arguments, setting the whole person towards that most precious human capacity for commitment.


That Old Time Religion

One of the many wonderful things about this weekend’s Solemnity is that every parish can make some movement towards truly liturgical music. Hopefully some parishes who sing hymns, for example, will slip in a proper or two, or chant some of the presidential prayers, or at the very least sing a Psalm at the beginning of Communion.

For those parishes so far away from solemnity that propers are completely out of the question, Trinity Sunday still affords an opportunity to sing texts that are really worth singing, and which very, very few congregations would find objectionable: two of the most excellent hymns in common usage. Holy God, We Praise Thy Name is a remarkable hymn and very apt for this feast. Msgr. Ratzinger, the Holy Father’s brother, sat down at the piano to play it as soon as he returned from World War II, and the whole family sang it together. It is a paraphrase of the Church’s hymn of thanksgiving, the Te Deum, and long associated among US Catholics with Benediction, which is a liturgical action. And as an added bonus, people love it! A music ministry moving towards solemnity will make friends, not enemies, by singing this hymn, and goodwill in situations like this is priceless. The same goes for O God, Almighty Father, which is not an excellent hymn but is certainly acceptable and which people enjoy singing.

Most importantly, this Sunday everyone would be happy to sing Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. The tune is called Nicaea for a good reason, as the hymn expresses the Trinitarian faith of the Church from this early Christological Council. And again, no one will object. It may not be as beloved as Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, but it is a great hymn.

If you are looking for a way to begin moving a parish away from an All Are Welcome/ Be Not Afraid/ One Bread, One Body/ Sing a New Church into Being rut, the hymnody appropriate to this Sunday’s festival is a great place to begin. And these hymns sound just fine on a guitar.

Hymn Tune Introits for the Most Blessed Trinity and Corpus Christi

As mentioned here previously, the Hymn Tune Introits are a way to incorporate the proper texts of a Mass in the liturgies of parishes that are very much accustomed to singing hymns. I’ve taken the entrance antiphons for the next two Sundays and put them into verse form.

The Missal presents as the Entrance Antiphon for the Most Blessed Trinity: Blest be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, for he has shown us his merciful love.

While my versification misses some important elements of this text, particularly regarding the Son, it is certainly closer than Holy God, We Praise Thy Name, or other beloved hymns  which might be chosen.

May God the Father blessed be,
And His one Son eternally,
And blest the Spirit from above:
For He has shown His gracious love.

The verse is in “Church meter” (Long Meter, Ambrosian meter), which has 4 lines of 8 syllables each, and which attempts to be, at least in the 2 and 4th feet of each line, iambic. Tunes such as Jesu Dulcis Memoria and Duke Street would be good matches.

For Corpus Christ, I have included Alleluias which are reflective of the abundant use of Alleluia in the proper introit, Cibavit eos.

He fed them with the finest wheat
And sated them, alleluia,
With honey from the rock to eat,
Alleluia, alleluia.

As a rather unusual option, perhaps a parish might consider singing this Corpus Christi antiphon to the tune Sweet Sacrament, and adding the refrain usually sung with Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All.

Hymn to St. Anne: Nocti succedit lucifer

This is my translation of the office hymn Nocti succedit lucifer, a hymn in honor of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the patroness of Canada, as well as Detroit. The feast of St. Anne with her husband St. Joachim is celebrated on the universal calendar on July 26th.
One of the hymn’s strengths is its use of the imagery of light in the first two verses. In verse 1, we move forward in time as we move through the series of celestial images: first Anna, the morning star, then Mary, the dawn, then Christ, the Sun. (The forward motion is found in the popular hymn Mary the Dawn as well.) In verse two, the images work in reverse, perhaps in order of importance for salvation: Christ the Sun, Mary the dawn, and Anna, who warms the sky to a pre-dawn red–the “rosy fingered dawn” of Homer.
The third verse’s imagery is familar from the O Antiphon O radix Jesse, which draws from Isaiah 11:1, the messianic prophecy that numbers the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Where Mary the Dawn has a binary quality, this hymn is more of a waltz, in three. Working backwards from Christ, the evident Savior, we find His mother, and we study to understand who she must have been, to bear such fruit in her womb. Then we take one further step, and find her mother, not immaculately conceived, but the natural mother of the mother. Already in St. Anne, in whose womb the Immaculate Conception took place, we have reason to hope, that soon the Sun will shine.

The morning star is on the rise
And soon the dawn will fill the skies,
Foretelling of the coming Sun
Whose light will shine on everyone.

The Sun of justice, Christ, true Light,
And Mary, grace’s dawning bright,
And Anna, reddening the sky,
Have caused the night of Law to fly.

O mother Anna, fruitful root,
From you came your salvation’s shoot,
For you brought forth the flow’ring rod
That bore for us the Christ of God.

Christ’s mother’s mother, by the grace
Your daughter’s birth brought to our race,
And by her merits and her prayer
May we her favors come to share.

O Jesus, Virgin-born, to You
All glory is forever due.
To Father and the Spirit, praise
Be sung through everlasting days.