Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dreaded Songs

We remember how you loved us, to your death,
and still we celebrate for you are with us here;
and we believe that we will see you, when you come,
in your glory, Lord.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.

Some songs are really quite difficult to pray with, especially when they're not played well - too slowly, too quickly, too playfully, to dirgishly, too fancifully, etc... One such song (at least for me) is the song above, written by Marty Haugen.

Sure, I grew up with the song and remembered it fondly throughout most of my childhood, early and even late teenage years. But that was all B.S. days (Before Seminary days). Now having learned more what the nature of the Mass is and what purpose liturgical music serves at the Sacred Liturgy, I can't stand the song, or those of its ilk.

Well, that was until recently. For some reason, God gave me the grace of an insight. I was first picking apart the song in the usual fashion: "It's using 'remembrance' in the wrong sense - it's far too weak. Christ is really present here." And on and on I would go. Well, I began down this critique this week when we heard the song again, but then moved on to critique the other movements contained in the refrain: 'we celebrate.' "Well, that's too superficial. What does he even mean by 'celebrate.'"

It was at this moment when I had my realization and I asked, "Wait a minute. Is Haugen a closet Catholic??" You see, it is a very traditional teaching to look to the three-fold significance in the Eucharist. St. Thomas Aquinas explains this quite clearly in his Summa Theologiæ. In the whole sacrament of the Eucharist, three realities are signified: 1) Christ's true death on the Cross, 2) the unity of the Church, particularly in Holy Communion, and 3) the pledge of future glory.

As "we remember," we call to mind the death of Christ. As "we celebrate," we manifest our unity in the Body of Christ by Communion. As "we believe," we await his future coming in glory when we hope to share his heavenly glory. This song, viewed from this perspective, is really very beautiful.

I think this will be one of my great tasks in the future. There are many things which exhibit truth, goodness and beauty, though in a more or less distorted manner. Sometimes, we cannot simply throw out these imperfect "tools" and replace them with other, better instruments. Hence, if we must, the key is to find the pearl contained within and help it to find its brilliance, and help others to see it.


Jeremy said...

I was at my teaching parish last night (Saturday, 22 November) for a youth event. At the 5pm Mass, the communion procession hymn was "We Remember How YOU Loved Us."

Good Thunder said...

That is some good sense Deacon Gregory, it's one of those things that makes you look like a liberal when you're really not. Personally, I loathe "All are Welcome"- but there are even parts of that that one could meditate on if in the right mind set. I think the problem is- most people aren't Deacon Gregory and don't dive deep into finding the hidden theology of sissy songs.

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