Your Weekly Fix of Catholic Art – Audrey Assad

I know a girl who was abused by a boy she was in a relationship with, a boy she truly, truly loved. Needless to say, she struggles daily with the fact. I find that Jesus’ command to love your enemy seems embraceable enough until something like this happens. Then you realize to what radical extremes you are actually being called to. Whenever the topic comes up, I revert instantly to the Mosaic Old Law and my head is filled with various methods of execution the man deserves. But in a miracle of grace and absolute awe-inspiring strength, this girl sings this song to him:

The song was not written by Audrey Assad with such a thing in mind, but this is what the depth and beauty and sweet sorrow of her music allows. It allows for “You made me afraid/Thank you/I’ve got to thank you/Cause now I know his strength” to take on new meaning, and to play a role in healing my dear friend. To which I can only say “Thank you.”

Audrey is spectacular. Her music is everything Christian music should be and so often isn’t. Authentic. Rich. Endued with the ancient sorrow of the world as much as present hope. Her Catholicism is present in her songwriting, and proudly and wonderfully professed:

I did and do take solace in the Church, as a sparrow makes a nest in an old, solid oak; the Church’s very age and wisdom speak quietly for themselves, silently drawing in wanderers like me. Jesus loves wanderers and prodigals; and the Church must welcome them with open arms — in my case, she did, and warmly at that.

I find it beautiful about Catholicism that worship, in her way, is not so much an experience as it is an act of the will; yes, the senses are engaged by the sweet, thick smell of incense at the alter, the soft flickering of candles, the otherworldly melodies of chant; but ultimately, as a Catholic, I go to Mass to worship — to give Jesus the honor and glory He is worthy of; I go to Mass because I love Him.

I love Pope Benedict XVI particularly because it is the Church’s very historicity that he symbolizes. He stands, unmoved, against the tides of post-modernism and materialism that ravage the West, (often) a lone voice in the battle. I admire and respect his staunch willingness to be Catholic — theologically, intellectually, volitionally, and emotionally Catholic — in a world where religious freedom and tolerance are preached by many, but where the Catholic voice has for centuries been either stifled or diluted. On the heels of the much-beloved John Paul II, any flimsier man would perhaps have been cowed; but Benedict, speaking with both grace and power, has preached Christ, and Him crucified, as the answer to the questions of every man — Jew or Greek, Muslim or Hindu, black or white, man and woman.

She has a new album coming out, which I am incredibly excited for. You should all buy the first single released from that album, Sparrow.

This is the stuff I’m talking about. It’s Beauty that will save the world, Beauty inseparable from Truth and Goodness. So pray for her, and for her journey as an artist, especially as the Christian music scene isn’t always the easiest place to be a staunch papist. Also, pray for her husband, who I have been told is sick (in the negative sense).

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