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:

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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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  • Liesl

    Thanks for featuring Audrey Assad – because her music truly is Catholic art! I cannot wait for her second album – so excited!

  • Anonymous

    That’s a terrific song and she has a splendid voice. I ordinarily really hate “Contemporary Christian music” because — okay, no punches, I find much of it ghastly in performance and sickly in syrup. This is good stuff, though.

  • Allison

    I love Audrey Assad – had no idea she was Catholic :) Now I love her even more!

  • Michele E Finley

    Thak you for introducing this artist to me. I love Nichole Nordeman, and Audrey’s style is similar. The lyrics of this songreally grabbed me, her voice is haunting. I love the idea of saying THANK You for making me fear–PTSD has been healed in me, and that fear factor ruled my life. Because of this, I have grown unimaginably closer to God, and learned what it means to depend on Him and His mercy. Peace be with you, Brother!

  • Kristy Ziegler

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve never heard of this artist before this post. I can’t wait to get her music!

  • Jay E.

    Wow, a new favorite. Thanks for posting.

  • Claire Verde

    She sings in the choir at my church. When she sings live it takes your breath away…

  • Catholic Dads HQ

    Simply a beautiful path to prayer and healing.

  • Emily Smith

    Recently discovered Audrey and love, love, love her. Thanks for a lovely piece.

  • Jhentz

    Audrey released a recording of O Come All Ye Faithful last year that’s gorgeous. A great find if you’re a perfect-Christmas-playlist geek like me. ;)

  • Courtney

    Audrey has such beautiful music. Love her.

  • Mnvee

    I’m a huge fan as well. Her talent and music needs to be recognized for what it is, and you described it so well.

  • Faramir

    Over the Thanksgiving weekend I downloaded albums by Mumford & Sons, Future of Forestry, and Audrey Assad due to their shameless promotion on this blog. My iPod has been considerably enriched. I absolutely love Audrey Assad’s song “Restless”, although any song based on a St. Augustine quote is one I’m pretty much guaranteed to like.

  • Maggie

    Thank you for introducing me to Audrey Assad’s music! She’s a truly talented artist and I am greatly enjoying my Grooveshark playlist of her music :)