March 30, 2009

You Are Mine

Probably a Cranky Cathy post. I’m trying to be charitable but well, you know…

I love my parish. I think our music director is awesome and does a really good job. I despaired last year when the parish changed out our Breaking Bread hymnal for the Gather hymnal (Comprehensive-which I have fun with and interpret to mean chock full of as much dreck along with solid material as you can stand!). However, I have to say that our music director does a good job of selecting mostly solid classic material from Gather. Once and a while though, he’ll pick a piece that sets my teeth on edge. Yesterday, before Communion, we had this piece by David Haas.

"You are Mine"
Reprinted without his permission because he didn’t ask for mine before he wrote this ____

I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear My voice
I claim you as My choice
Be still, and know I am near

I am hope for all who are hopeless
I am eyes for all who long to see
In the shadows of the night,
I will be your light
Come and rest in Me

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

I am strength for all the despairing
Healing for the ones who dwell in shame
All the blind will see, the lame will all run free
And all will know My name

Repeat Chorus

I am the Word that leads all to freedom
I am the peace the world cannot give
I will call your name, embracing all your pain
Stand up, now, walk, and live

Repeat Chorus

Friends, I try to be a sport and sing on but this was SO bad that I quit after the first two lyrics. I scanned on ahead (I read fast) and quickly decided that I had a problem singing this piece because I know I often struggle to define myself and my relationship to the world but I can say with certainty that I long ago figured out that I am not God. My fans are probably devastated by that revelation but it is what it is. LOL!

Look at the tense of this piece. Aren’t we singing like WE are God? I am the Word? I am or I AM? Should everyone be bowing before ME? If I am God much less a god than we should all despair.

As the song labored on, I retreated into myself and meditated upon the De Profundis.

I noticed, though, that few were singing along. Is it possible that more Catholics have figured out that not only is this material suspect theologically it’s also embarrassing? How many of us want to sing out “I love you and you are mine” to a room full of strangers? Honestly, maybe I’m not in touch with my “feelings” but I’d have trouble even singing this to my family. As a matter of fact, my Dad was with me at Mass and he wasn’t singing either. I should probably be upset that he doesn’t love me enough to yell it out in public but I’m not because I know he loves me without having to be forced to tell me so at Mass. Speaking of which, I’m probably a complete dummy, but aren’t we supposed to, in a way, tell God we love Him at Mass? Even so, these lyrics still make no sense to me. God can just go sit down and take it easy because it appears I’ve got all the worlds healing and despair covered. It says so.

The Gather hymnal, helpfully, has themes listed at the top of each section. For example; this set of songs is for Lent, this set is for Advent etc. I’m thankful they do this because much of the time I have no idea what the editor was thinking including some of these pieces where they are much less in a Catholic hymnal. The thematic guide helps me figure out where his head was at. I think.

This song. “You are Mine” is in the section marked (wait for it!): “Comfort” which I take to mean: “Funeral” which is another reason why I wonder that we are singing this piece beside the fact that it’s dreck. Oh, I get it, it’s Jesus’ funeral? No, wait, it’s OURS because we are singing it?

I’m not comforted, I’m confused.


Blogger Chris said...

Well, I would compare a song like this to a lector reading a Bible verse where God is talking - the long, fiery bits from the Book of Job come to mind.

That being said, I'm familiar with this particular song, and I think it sounds like a love song from a musical. There are VERY few things that make me long for the good old Protestant days, but song like this would be one of them.

Still, I suppose we *could* all be singing modern evangelical praise music....



March 30, 2009 2:16 PM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

There's a reason why I quit the contemparary choir at my old Roman Protestant parish. For singing tacky songs such as these :)...Inspite of my infulence to do the propers or sing well Catholic hymns, to no avail, but it's a Roman Protestant Church, so why would I expect any less?

I guess I'm too rigid, narrowminded to worship me, either that, or I just don't want to be God. I'm doing my part by establishing the Resistance.

March 30, 2009 2:54 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

I know the INTENTION of this song is to be as scripture read to us as God is speaking, and if that's the case, then I could understand it being sung as a meditation by a CANTOR and ONLY a cantor.

However, I agree that because we're all singing it, we're singing as if WE are God, and that is VERY problematic. Mass is to be directed TO God, and instead, these hacks have decided to direct God to worship US.

I don't sing it, either. I like the melody, and have found value in the lyrics at certain moments, (because God can work through anything), and maybe because when I hear it I work HARD to remember that we need to listen to God in moments of silence and meditation.

I think I'm totally butchering what I'm trying to say, hope you can udnerstand it anyway.


Can't we have PROPER music at Mass? Please?

Gotta say...just don't spend a lot of time at my parish. You'll get everything BUT something directed to God. You'll get performance, you'll get gospel, outright sung heresy ('Soon and very soon" as we're going forward for COMMUNION!)


OK, I'm done lest I REALLY get going....!

March 30, 2009 3:48 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Go to the Cathedral - Masses are celebrated as they should be, and the music is very Roman Catholic, the priests are excellent, and there is no nonsense going on - straight Roman Catholicism.

March 30, 2009 5:02 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ter: I thought I go to your parish! :-)

Adoro: I get it, you, I think. LOL!

Joe: I'm glad you are not worshiping yourself. :-)

Bede: Can you clarify what you mean? I think you are saying you like this music during Mass?

March 30, 2009 5:44 PM  
Anonymous tebesco said...

As a musician, I despair when I hear people call dreck like this "traditional" Catholic music.

My choir director thinks that people have a deep-seated need to hear this stuff because they've been hearing "all these years" -- since the 70s, never mind the rest of Church history. With all the beauty the Church has to offer for Easter Sunday Mass, she's programmed "River of Glory" for the sprinkling rite and, as if that weren't bad enough, "Lord of the Dance" for the communion meditation.

I'm a cantor, and whenever I have to sing pure garbage like that I want to both go to confession and make a personal apology to our pastor, who is a phenomenally talented musician.

March 30, 2009 5:57 PM  
Blogger Mairin :o) said...

I'm not a fan of any song sung from God's point of view.

March 30, 2009 7:04 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

What Terry said about the Cathedral.

March 30, 2009 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Adoro - this sappy music that is suppoed to be God talking to us, but you have to be really attentive to figure it out. Confusion can come easy. It is sappy because God (Jesus) does not always come to put His band aid on our every pain. Just ask Saint Therese, the Little Flower who died of TB. Sometimes we suffer in order to identify with Jesus or to make reparation for sin. If we can wrap our mind around it, that kind of suffering can be a gift. It's just hard and come with a price. Still, we have the promise that He will be with us.

March 30, 2009 8:02 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...


As I told Adoro a while back, this isn't a Catholic-Protestant fight; it is an Emergents versus God's Word fight.

And the hymnals of all major denominations, under the influence of GIA, OCP, and the major secular publishers (EMI, Warner, Vivendi) that own most of the religious music publishing houses are full of this dippy junk.

Some of the songs in hymnals in certain denominations are bad enough I've pulled a Durán and said the two words that had him in trouble after Leonard took the pulp out of him in Nouvelle-Orléans 30 years ago when I see those songs.

I shall not sing those songs. They are junk. One church musician insists everything be played like country music. Sorry, but you're dealing with a classically trained singer, and if I'm lost in the woods, I only know that proper singing. I am not singing country, rock, or any absurd arrangement that makes the Mississippi Squirrel cringe as badly as I would.

And don't get me started on the Chris Tomlin junk which is as pathetic as [i]Gather[/i]. I was at a college friend's wedding in Nashville two years ago and the congregation stood for him, but not Händel. It was bad enough that one attendee said, "Bobby, I admire you for standing for 'Hallelujah'. Nobody in this (Foursquare) congregation stood for that!"

It takes someone who has sung in the masterpiece, and have attended concerts with it to know that? And do they remember former The Nashville Network personality Eli Gold refer to crowds where people stand in unison "like the congregation standing up for 'Hallelujah' from Messiah"? (Of course, that channel was killed by MTV, which led to some hatred of MTV by Sprint Cup fans; I remember TNN airing North Series races that the Martin Truex the elder won at Loudon; Martin the Elder gave up his driving so Martin the Younger could start.)

Too many of the "modern" songs are self-centred, and have no message. Feelings have become the standard at church. Songs with suspect, or no theology are now the new standard. I have questioned church leadership over focus on entertainment in recent weeks, and a fight is brewing.

March 31, 2009 7:01 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

The music drove me out of my parish church. 'Nuff said!

March 31, 2009 11:49 AM  
Blogger Carolina Cannonball said...

completely unrelated... but I posted a photo of "the gang"

March 31, 2009 12:52 PM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...

The older I get, and the more 'church" music I hear, the more I wish they'de just stick to the graduale and let us get on with full ACTUAL (as in actuosa) partcipation in the mass.

March 31, 2009 4:50 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

Bobby ~ I have sung Hallelujah from the Messiah, and I know what you mean! When I was in high school I was a cantor and a high soprano in the adult choir, and I gotta tell ya, we worked HARD on that one, and on Easter when we sang it we MEANT it!

I love good music. I love good lyrics. I like most music as long as it's in the proper venue and there are even some "contemporary liturgical" songs I might like if I heard them elsewhere and NEVER at Mass!

And just to clarify my earlier was about the music only. Our priests are solid, holy, and surrounded in a choke hold by left-wing liberals who are doing their utmost to convince them that "no one" wants "traditional" music.

I know our Pastor prefers Latin, but he's trying to keep people in the Church is is being fed the line that they will leave if he gives them something real.

Rather...they'd come in DROVES if he enforced the proper music! He's already doing things right at the altar, and he's a very holy priest. But he's overwhelmed and it's hard to get through the protective custody they have him in. :-(

March 31, 2009 7:22 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

I can verify what Adoro says: her priests are solid, her music director...well...

March 31, 2009 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh, I hate the songs sung in the First Person when it should be God talking!!! But one of the contemporary favorites, Be Not Afraid, I go before you always... is also sung in first person with God doing the talking. And that song is played often on EWTN, as a lead in to some show or another--I think. It does seem to reinforce the idea that "we are all as gods" (an echo from the Garden of Eden, no?) Oh, it can be all so confusing these days. A friend told me just yesterday that her priest advised that whenever she observes something irritating in Mass like this, to say an Our Father for the person(s) doing the irritating.

Praying for your intentions, Cathy. God bless you!


April 03, 2009 12:23 PM  
Blogger RickyLee said...

Hummmh..As an older catholic, I was surpised by how many of you are 13th century Monks, especially the original author. Poor Sanhedrin like. Was their something our savior said about the letter of the law. Today I had the fortune to sit next to a very old friend with many many health problems. I am sure getting to mass is easy for you. You get up throw on soemthing to wear and go to church. She, unfortunetly with her disabilities takes approx. 4 to 5 hours. When looking at the hymnns for that day, she spotted the song, YOU ARE MINE. She was thrilled and during communion as it was sung, there were tears on her cheek. As she placed her ancient hand with a kleenex on my arm she said, "I love that song so much." So for a moment, she felt no pain or discomfort as she tried to sing a song she loved to the lord. But as I gather from you, maybe a nice chant would have been more to your liking and less to hers.

Shame on you! Next time at mass look around and see if you see Jesus there with you. He may not be there, maybe you should look for him in your Ipod.

June 28, 2009 12:15 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ricky Lee: I don't know how you judged me with all that based upon reading exactly one post. I don't like that particular song because the of the "tense" of it. It makes it sound like YOU are the Lord.

I don't own an iPod. I look for Jesus at Mass in the Blessed Sacrament.

June 28, 2009 1:07 PM  
Blogger Ralph said...

I really enjoyed reading all the comments..I liked Ricky Lee's especially..If we are singing for the I, Me, and Mine, bless your Doctor Phil says "It's not about YOU! We should be building our church and singing songs for those who have not been invited, for those who have not entered, and those yet to come. If Chris Tomlin's song brings in a new comer to Christ, Let's sing a new religious song, careful in the message of it yes, but keep the Hymnal songs there as well..

March 15, 2010 1:49 PM  

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