Friday, August 28, 2009

picking hymns...sigh

once again, here I go...picking hymns for Mass. I used to think that was one of the best parts of my job, and people still ask me if I "get to pick the songs," but now that I look at the Proper texts for the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion for every week, and I try to pick songs that match those, I'm frustrated and struck by how different the feeling is behind all of the options for hymns, compared to, for instance, the Introit.

Maybe it's just the texts for this upcoming time of the year, but almost all of the entrance antiphon texts fall along the lines of, "Have mercy on me, O God, I call upon you, have mercy on me..."

How many of our hymns even remotely have that as an idea?!

All of the protestant hymns that I use are just "praise, praise, praise," and the contemporary Catholic shmaltz (which I try to avoid using but is the other half of the hymnal,) is just "everyone is welcome, we love everyone..."

well, there is a time and a place for both of those...but for the first 1,950 years of the Roman Catholic church, it wasn't most of the opening texts of the Holy Mass!

1 comment:

Scelata said...

My "default" for so many liturgies whose introit strikes a tone similar to today's is "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," but even that states the sinner's receipt as a fait accompli rather than us having the humility and good sense to actually ASK for God's mercy.

The more immersed in Liturgy I become (and the progression through the psalms in the LotH is GREAT for this,) the more I need to say or sing all those different things which the psalms encompass, often vastly different from verse to verse in a single psalm.
Prayer become a process rather than a moment.

The Hymn Sandwich leaves us so theologically impoverished!
There are theologically profound hymns, of course, but they are not the ones that acheive Top Ten status, and in the utilitarian practice of only singing the number of verses necessary to get from point a (in time or space,) to point b, we seldom enjoy their richness even when we do sing them.

The general instruction for the LotH has something about the desirability of using the appointed psalms even if they don't fit your current mood or perceived needs.

I suspect the psalms we resist, are the ones we most need to pray.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)