Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Little Comparison

I've been meaning to write a post on liturgical music for some time, but my thoughts have been scattered here and there, and I haven't been able to pull them together for a coherent post. But yesterday evening I was playing and singing from the Adoremus hymnal, and I thought that maybe for the tim being a couple examples would suffice. And I must admit that I don't understand why they just don't suffice in general.

Here are a few verses and the refrain from Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all!

Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all!
How can I love thee as I ought?
And how revere this wondrous gift,
so far surpassing hope or thought?

Sweet Sacrament, we thee adore!
Oh, make us love thee more and more;
oh, make us love thee more and more.

Has I but Mary's sinless heart
with which to love thee, dearest King,
O, with what bursts of fervent praise
thy goodness, Jesus, would I sing!

Sound then his praises higher still,
and come, ye angels, to our aid,
for this is God, the very God
who has both men and angels made.

And then here's a piece from the OCP... I suppose one could say it was interesting, but that would still be in a rather horrified sort of way. It goes in part thusly:

I myself am the Bread of Life,
you and I are the Bread of Life,
taken and blessed, broken and shared by Christ
that the world might live.

This bread is spirit,
gift of the Maker's love,
and we who share it know that we can be one,
a living sign of God in Christ.

Here is God's kingdom,
given to us as food.
This is our body, this is our blood,
a living sign of God in Christ.

I suppose you could also say that it strikes one speechless. I must admit that every time I read it my jaw drops just a bit. But not because I'm favourably impressed.

Honestly, that is a bit of an extreme example, but compare the first hymn to so much of what you hear as "Communion hymns." Bread for the World, I am the Bread of Life, and so on and so forth. Which contain more poetry, more grace, more beauty, and more truth, both lyrics-wise and musically?

Some of the answers I've got have baffled me, but I'll keep trudging after the beauty and truth.


paramedicgirl said...

I myself am the Bread of Life,
you and I are the Bread of Life

Yup, we're our own little gods, aren't we? That is such a heretical song! There is quite a discussion going on right now over at Catholic Answers in the Liturgy and Sacraments forum about those lyrics.

Mamselle Duroc said...

Yes... as a matter of fact, I've been following the discussion, and that was partly what inspired me to write up this post. Fortunately I've never had the, er, 'pleasure' to actually hear that particular piece at a Mass, but I've heard some pretty awful things.

I much prefer old-style hymns in praise of God. I'm really very tired of hearing about how wonderful and special I am.

lissla lissar said...

Not in the dark of buildings confining
Not in some heaven, light-years away
here in this place the new light is shining
Now is the Kingdom, now is the day...

My mother calls all of the heretical New Music "The religion of ME and God", God being pretty unimportant compared with the glory of Ourselves.

Sigh. One of the very few things I miss about being Anglican is not having to sing Gather Us In every week, and getting to sing good, thoughtful hymns. I'm sure there's a huge number of wonderful Catholic hymns, but I haven't heard any of them at our church yet.