Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Catholic hymns

I'm too tired to go find the links, but a number of people (e.g. Bill Cork and George Weigel) have commented of late on the state of Catholic hymnody, which is in many ways woeful. Someone, somewhere recently pointed out the fact that many Catholic liturgical songs are sung from God's perspective. I thought about this, and was struck by how many of the "big" hymns of the 70s and 80s are of this nature. For example, On Eagle's Wings, (I am the) Bread of Life, and Be Not Afraid are all in part or completely written as if God is speaking, when in fact we are the pray-ers!

Hymns, after all, are prayers put to music; as St. Augustine put it, "singing is praying twice". Now, what kind of a "prayer" is it in which we pray from God's perspective?!

Perhaps there is some theological/liturgical explanation for this, but whatever it is is beyond me. If you have a good explanation for how I can sing/pray that lil ole me can claim to be the Bread of Life, by all means, please do!

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