Help me make a hymnal for the Liturgical Party Train

God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be received into the Catholic Church four weeks from today.  However, it just so happens that the baptism falls on the same weekend as The Game.  That means I’ll be taking a night train from Boston to DC with a group of my college friends to make it back in time.

Since we’ll be traveling together, I thought it might be nice to say Evening Office when we board in Boston and Morning Office when we arrive in DC.  (Those are parts of the Liturgy of the Hours).  And I thought it would be fun to put together a bunch of different prayers and hymns for people to look at, together or on their own, until they fall asleep.

I’ll be including some of my favorites.  Definitely on the list is St. Patrick’s Breastplate and my current favorite hymn “God Whose Purpose is to Kindle.”  It goes like this:

God, who still a sword delivers rather than a placid peace,
with your sharpened sword disturb us, from complacency release!
Save us now from satisfaction, when we privately are free,
yet are undisturbed in spirit by our neighbor’s misery.

But I realize people might like to have some slightly less aggressive hymns to look at, so please do recommend some of your favorite prayers, hymns, or brief essays for us to print out and take along with us.  Tell us a little about what you’re recommending and we’ll all pick up some new ideas.

And, in case you have smartphones, one of the reasons I thought of doing this is that I’ve used Google Docs to put together a lot of the lyrics of hymns I really like, so I’ve always got them ready at hand (if I have wifi). Even if I’m in a place I can’t sing really loudly (my preferred style; see why I like the martial hymns?), I can read over the lyrics and hear the song in my head.  And songs are prayers that come pre-inflected, so I don’t worry too much about how I’m saying the prayer.

Unless I start the song right over my break by mistake.

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  • Since I imagine you’ll be receiving communion as well, how about “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”?

    • Rachel

      i definitely second that one

      • Brandon B

        I third!

    • Definitely one of my favorite’s. Can’t fault the Liturgy of St. James (origin of the first verse of Let All Mortal Flesh), and it also happens to be right before Advent (while the hymn is Eucharistic, its most common to hear it associated with Advent). The tune is great too.

      If you’ve a devotion to Mary, you could consider “Virgin Born we Bow Before You” (One of the best hymn tunes ever, in my humble opinion)

      While I’m commenting, I might as well suggest others:
      What Wondrous Love Is This? (For the lighting of the candles part of my wedding ceremony, I combined this with Tantum Ergo… I thought the effect was cool)
      Come Thou Font of Every Blessing (a tad overdone sometimes, but this has the line “Prone to wander, Lord I fear it, prone to leave the God I love.)
      Be Thou My Vision
      I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (Just because Kingsfold is a great tune)
      Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones (Or All Creatures of our God and King)
      My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (my favorite setting of Psalm 23, you will need to swap “Adonai” for “Jehovah” to match current Catholic practice)
      A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (when I thought of going into Liturgical music, I used to joke about doing good Lutheran hymns on the last Sunday in every October (Reformation Sunday))
      Praise to The Lord (the almighty the king of creation)
      Abide With Me (a clear evening prayer hymn)

      These are some which you already have in your LotH books:
      O Christ You Are the Light and Day (Everyone knows the tune St. Anne)
      Love Divine All Loves Excelling (if you feel like dancing)
      Father We Thank Thee Who Hast Planted (text based on the Didache, music from the Genevan Psalter)
      Lord Jesus Christ Abide With Us (If you use the tune Old Hundreth Psalm, this one is also from the Genevan Psalter)

      Because of the proximity to All Saints Day, you might want to consider “For All The Saints”
      Because of the proximity to Christ the King, you might want to do “the Passion Chorale”, “Hosanna Filio David”, “To Jesus Christ Our Sov’reign King,” etc.

      Then there are the Latin greats:
      Veni Creator Spiritus
      Ubi Caritas
      Tantum Ergo/Pange Lingua
      Salve Regina
      Ave Maria

  • Mari

    Two of the first hymns I sang while acting as a choirgirl in a Catholic church–despite not being Catholic at the time–were “Here I Am, Lord”, and “You Are Mine”. I think you’ll understand why they were compelling to me, as a non-Christian wondering what she was doing in a Catholic worship service.

    “Here I Am, Lord” goes thus:

    “I, the Lord of sea and sky,
    I have heard My people cry.
    All who dwell in dark and sin,
    My hand will save.
    I who made the stars of night,
    I will make their darkness bright.
    Who will bear My light to them?
    Whom shall I send?

    Here I am, Lord.
    Is it I, Lord?
    I have heard You, calling in the night.
    I will go Lord, if You lead me.
    I will hold Your people in my heart.”

    You Are Mine goes thus:
    “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.”

    • Doragoon

      You should check out “The Summons”. It’s got kinda the same feel.

    • leahlibresco

      “Here I Am” is one I’m very fond of. Particularly for the line:

      I will break their hearts of stone
      Give them hearts for love alone

      which might be the grace I most frequently ask for myself.

    • Jess

      I’ll second “You Are Mine” because it is one of the only Christian songs I have not purged from my iPod because I like it so much. The other is “Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley,” which was my go-to meditation song when I was walking back to my Jerusalem apartment along the Via Dolorosa. I can’t find my favorite arrangement on YouTube, but I can email the file to you if you want it; otherwise, here’s a pretty good one:

      • leahlibresco

        Please do email it, Jess.

    • Pseudonym

      This sounds like a joke, but I swear this is a true story. A Catholic friend recently said to my mother, “We didn’t need the Bible when we were growing up. We had the Catechism.” To which my Protestant mother replied, “You may have had the Catechism, but we had the Hymn Book.”

      In that spirit, bear in mind that my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek with what follows.

      Hymns are a late addition to Catholicism. We Protestants have a long tradition of hymn-writing, from Praetorius and Luther, through to the Presbyterian psalter, William Williams Pantycelyn, Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, and leading on to the modern day.

      This here is not a “hymn”. It is, at best, a “song”.

      Now don’t get me wrong. Catholics have something that more than makes up for the lack of hymns: fabulous sung masses by some of the greatest names in music ever. Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Gounoud, Bruckner… who wouldn’t want to go to church on Sunday and hear that, right? Nonetheless, the Catholic “hymn book” is pretty much useless.

      In that context, I totally get the current Pope’s plan to bring back Gregorian chant, though it does sound a bit like a crotchety old bloke who doesn’t like this newfangled Palestrina.

      So I’m going to suggest raiding the Protestant hymnal. Anglican hymns are probably more politically acceptable than Lutheran ones.

      How about Tim Dudley-Smith’s setting of the Magnificat set to Woodlands?

  • TheRealAaron

    I’m a big fan of “Be Thou My Vision”, which is a very ancient Irish hymn. The tune “Slane” is also apparently ancient, although Wikipedia suggests they weren’t combined until fairly recently.

    • deiseach

      Another Irish-derived one; “The Deer’s Cry” set by Shaun Davey, which is taken from the Lorica of St. Patrick.

      It is called ‘the deer’s cry’ because the story is that the High King and his druids were enraged against Patrick and set an ambush for him:

      “When terror seized the queen she went to Patrick and said to him, ‘O righteous one and O mighty one, kill not the king, for he shall submit to thee, and give thee thine own will.’ The king came and gave his will to Patrick by word of mouth, but gave it not from his heart; and he told Patrick to go after him to Tara that he might give him his will before the men of Ireland. That, however, is not what he had in mind, but to kill Patrick, for he left ambushes before him on every road from that to Tara.

      Thereafter went Patrick (and his train of) eight, together with a gillie Benén, past all the ambushes, in the shape of eight deer and behind them one fawn with a white bird on its shoulder, that is, Benén with Patrick’s book-satchel on his back; and thereafter he went into Tara, the doors being shut, to the middle of the palace. The king was then feasting with the kings of Ireland around him at this festival, for that was the Feast of Tara.”

      The Lorica was the prayer that Patrick is supposed to have said while they were travelling, which changed them into deer (or made the ambushers think that a troupe of deer was passing when it was Patrick and his companions) and so it is also called the cry of the deer for that reason.

  • Joe

    “Jerusalem My Happy Home” is my favorite!!!

  • Arizona Mike

    Congratulations, Leah!

    My favorite prayer remains the Anime Christi:

    Soul of Christ, sanctify me
    Body of Christ, save me
    Blood of Christ, inebriate me
    Water from the side of Christ, wash me
    Passion of Christ, strengthen me
    O good Jesus, hear me
    Within Thy wounds hide me
    Separated from Thee let me never be (“Permit me not to be separated from Thee”)
    From the malicious enemy defend me (“From the malignant enemy defend me”)
    In the hour of my death call me
    And bid me come unto Thee
    That I may praise Thee with Thy saints (“That with thy Saints I may praise Thee”)
    Forever and ever

    Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
    Corpus Christi, salva me.
    Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
    Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
    Passio Christi, conforta me.
    O bone Jesu, exaudi me.
    Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
    Ne permittas me separari a te.
    Ab hoste maligno defende me.
    In hora mortis meae voca me.
    Et iube me venire ad te,
    Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te.
    In saecula saeculorum.

    The Blessed John Cardinal Newman’s translation:

    Soul of Christ, be my sanctification;
    Body of Christ, be my salvation;
    Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;
    Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains;
    Passion of Christ, my comfort be;
    O good Jesus, listen to me;
    In Thy wounds I fain would hide;
    Ne’er to be parted from Thy side;
    Guard me, should the foe assail me;
    Call me when my life shall fail me;
    Bid me come to Thee above,
    With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
    World without end.

    • deiseach

      I’m a non-singer, so these are the two I find really easy to sing. Arizona Mike, you beat me to the “Anima Christi”! For an alternate translation, slightly differing (which seems to be the Irish version, since it’s the one I learned):


      Soul of my saviour, sanctify my breast;
      Body of Christ, be Thou my saving guest;
      Blood of my Saviour, bathe me in thy tide,
      Wash me, ye waters, streaming from His side.

      Strength and protection may his passion be,
      O blessed Jesus, hear and answer me;
      Deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me,
      So shall I never, never part from Thee.

      Guard and defend me from the foe malign;
      In death’s dread moments make me only thine;
      Call me, and bid me come to thee on high,
      When I may praise thee with thy saints for aye.

      For chant, the “Tantum Ergo” (last two verses of the Pange Lingua composed by St. Thomas Aquinas). Again, any chant is very forgiving for the less vocally-gifted amongst us:

      Tantum ergo Sacramentum
      Veneremur cernui:
      Et antiquum documentum
      Novo cedat ritui:
      Praestet fides supplementum
      Sensuum defectui.

      Genitori, Genitoque
      Laus et jubilatio,
      Salus, honor, virtus quoque
      Sit et benedictio:
      Procedenti ab utroque
      Compar sit laudatio.

      Therefore we, before him bending,
      This great Sacrament revere;
      Types and shadows have their ending,
      For the newer rite is here;
      Faith, our outward sense befriending,
      Makes the inward vision clear.

      Glory let us give, and blessing
      To the Father and the Son;
      Honour, might, and praise addressing,
      While eternal ages run;
      Ever too his love confessing,
      Who, from both, with both is one.

      • deiseach

        Sticking with St. Thomas Aquinas, Eucharistic hymns, and chant, there is also “O Salutaris Hostia” and “Panis Angelicus” (the César Franck version of this last is well-known and sung by all manner of tenors in performance outside of religious associations):

        O salutaris Hostia,
        Quae caeli pandis ostium:
        Bella premunt hostilia,
        Da robur, fer auxilium.

        Uni trinoque Domino
        Sit sempiterna gloria,
        Qui vitam sine termino
        Nobis donet in patria.

        O saving Victim, opening wide
        The gate of Heaven to us below;
        Our foes press hard on every side;
        Your aid supply; Your strength bestow.

        To your great name be endless praise,
        Immortal Godhead, One in Three.
        O grant us endless length of days,
        In our true native land with thee.

        Panis angelicus
        fit panis hominum;
        Dat panis coelicus
        figuris terminum:
        O res mirabilis!
        Manducat Dominum
        Pauper, servus et humilis.

        Te trina Deitas
        unaque poscimus:
        Sic nos tu visita,
        sicut te colimus;
        Per tuas semitas
        duc nos quo tendimus,
        Ad lucem quam inhabitas.

        Thus Angels’ Bread is made
        the Bread of man today:
        the Living Bread from heaven
        with figures dost away:
        O wondrous gift indeed!
        the poor and lowly may
        upon their Lord and Master feed.

        Thee, therefore, we implore,
        O Godhead, One in Three,
        so may Thou visit us
        as we now worship Thee;
        and lead us on Thy way,
        That we at last may see
        the light wherein Thou dwellest aye.

        • deiseach

          And finally, “Ave Verum Corpus” – in Mozart’s version, naturally, nothing else will do!

          Ave verum corpus, natum
          de Maria Virgine,
          vere passum, immolatum
          in cruce pro homine,
          cuius latus perforatum
          fluxit aqua et sanguine:
          esto nobis praegustatum
          in mortis examine.

          O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
          Miserere mei. Amen.

          Hail, true Body, born
          of the Virgin Mary,
          who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
          on the cross for mankind,
          whose pierced side
          flowed with water and blood:
          May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
          in the trial of death.

          Oh sweet Jesus, Oh pious Jesus, Oh Jesus, son of Mary,
          have mercy on me. Amen.

          You can’t go wrong with a bit of the oul’ Latin 😉

  • Arizona Mike

    I may be biased due to my namesake, but also like the Prayer to St. Michael, which used to be recited at the end of each Mass, pre Vatican II:

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle.
    Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
    and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
    by the Divine Power of God –
    cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
    who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

  • This is maximally unhelpful, but I have very fond memories of a religion teacher getting distraught about nobody in my class seeing a problem with something as martial as Mir nach spricht Christus unser Held still being on the hymnal. Apparently we had lost the Spirit of Vatican II. Unfortunately the English adaption Bowdlerizes most of the military imagery.

    • deiseach

      Speaking of martial-type hymns in a post-Vatican II setting, we used to love belting out “Faith of Our Fathers”. I note that it is also popular recently amongst Protestants, which is ironic: it was written by an Anglican convert to Catholicism about the tribulations during the Henrician reformation (and the persecutions afterwards in the reigns of Edward and Elizabeth). The Protestant versions, though, seem to have been re-written with the overt Marian references dumped.

      Wikipedia says Ireland got extra verses (seven for us, four for England) 🙂

      • Yeah, I heard reports of Northern Irish parishes singing all quiet and mumbly for everything else and then bawling this one at the top of their lungs.

  • Arizona Mike

    I’m probably overloading you with prayers, here, but as one often in need of forgiveness and mercy I appreciate the prayer St. Faustina Kowalska recorded in her daily journal:

    St. Faustina’s Prayer to Have a Merciful Heart Towards Others

    O Jesus, I understand that Your mercy is beyond all imagining. I ask You, therefore, to make my heart so big that there will be room in it for the needs of all the souls living on this whole earthly globe. O Jesus, my love reaches beyond the world to the souls suffering in Purgatory, and I want to exercise mercy toward them by means of indulgenced prayers. God’s mercy is unfathomable and inexhaustible, just as God Himself is unfathomable. Were I to use the strongest words for expressing this mercy of God, they are nothing in comparison with what it is in reality. O Jesus, make my heart sensitive to all the sufferings of my neighbor whether they be of body or of soul. O my Jesus, I know that You act toward us as we act toward our neighbor. My Jesus, make my heart like unto Your merciful Heart. Jesus, help me to go through life doing good to everyone.

    ~~from St. Faustina’s Diary, II, 132

  • Ric

    One of my favorite hymns that expresses the wonder that God loves even me is Charles Wesley’s “And Can It Be?”.

  • Arizona Mike

    Okay, one last one, since the concept of aggressive prayers has been raised. This is the 101st Airborne Regimental Prayer was written by Lt. James Morton and read by the Chaplin of the 101st Airborne in the funeral service after the battle of Normandy, and still recited by the 101st in battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan:

    Almighty God, we kneel to Thee and ask to be the instrument of Thy fury in smiting the evil forces that have visited death, misery, and debasement on the people of the Earth. Be with us, God, when we leap from our planes into the dark abyss and descend in parachutes into the midst of enemy fire. Give us iron will and stark courage as we spring from the harnesses of our parachutes to seize arms for battle. The legions of evil are many, Father; grace our arms to meet and defeat them in Thy name and in the name of the freedom and dignity of man. Let our enemies who have lived by the sword turn from their violence lest they perish by the sword. Help us to serve Thee gallantly and to be humble in victory.

    Maybe not the best choice of prayer for a hymnal before being received into the Faith, but hey. The Church Militant doesn’t get much more militant than that.

    • Creepy, that sounds exactly like a prayer a fundamentalist might make to Allah before blowing something up…

      • So do many of the Psalms. see Psalm 144: 1-2:

        1 Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
        who trains my hands for battle,
        my fingers for war;
        2 My safeguard and my fortress,
        my stronghold, my deliverer,
        My shield, in whom I take refuge,
        who subdues peoples under me.

      • Arizona Mike

        Or like a prayer that your grandfather might have said before taking on the Nazi menace and saving Western Civilization. 🙂

    • leahlibresco

      I like the aggressive ones that are asking God to smite me (i.e. “I will break their hearts of stone/Give them hearts of love alone”).

  • Heather Kulaga

    I second “Be Thou My Vision” – my favorite hymn. Here is an arrangement I really like:

  • Cole M.

    “Pange lingua gloriosi” (Sing My Tongue the Savior’s Glory) is one of my absolute favorites. It is sung at Holy Thursday Mass and in part during Eucharistic benediction. It was written by St. Thomas Aquinas, though the melody is a chant melody. You can get the text and some background from Wikipedia ( and listen to a decent performance here:

    • Elizabeth Scalia

      I was going to suggest the pange ligua also. We don’t get to sing it enough! But really, I can’ think of a better chant as one is heading into Baptism than this one:

  • Doragoon

    Prayer of St.Francis, don’t know if it’s really a hymn, but I like it.

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the controversies of modernising hymns and how the pope has been cracking down on them, not allowing certain groups or types of music in masses. Then there’s the more recent controversy on the Agnus Dei, where you can no longer sing it however you want. Music in the church is becoming rather controversial.

    • I’m going to second the Prayer of St. Francis.

      Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
      Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
      Where there is injury, pardon.
      Where there is doubt, faith.
      Where there is despair, hope.
      Where there is darkness, light.
      Where there is sadness, joy.
      O Divine Master,
      grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
      to be understood, as to understand;
      to be loved, as to love.
      For it is in giving that we receive.
      It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
      and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

    • deiseach

      Here is where I roll my eyes and go “Americans!” because, until I read about the ‘crackdown’, I had no idea anyone was mucking about with the “Agnus Dei”.

      It’s part of the Mass prayers, people, not just a hymn: you don’t mess about with the words of the liturgy. You can sing anything you blinkin’ well want for a Communion hymn, but as the more traditionally-minded like to say “Say the black, do the red”.

      • HEY! Let’s be fair.

        The red says what you’re supposed to read, so you really just need to “Do the red.”

    • ‘cracking down’?

      Please. The Agnus Dei is specified as to how it should be in the rubrics, according to the norms from sacred tradition and according to the constitutions from Vatican II. The Pope was RIGHT to end abuses in the liturgy.

      Tell me, when was the last time you heard a troped Agnus Dei (Modified Agnus) where the Agnus, Gloria, Kyrie, etc were also all in latin in Gregorian Chant? Because, guess what? That’s what Vatican II called for. Not folk music, not ‘innovations’. It called for keeping with the rubrics, (no priest or man can change them) and to make sure Gregorian Chant in latin was given pride of place so that the faithful would retain their necessary parts in latin.

      Tell me: has this happened in parishes where the troped Agnus has been happening? I very much doubt so. If this is the case, then these people who claim the ‘spirit of Vatican II” are in fact Anti-Vatican II.

      • Here here!

        I wish you had mentioned the organ though. SSC specifically mentions the organ’s place.

    • As a former Church musician, this is my knee-jerk reaction:
      It is only controversial because of the hippies who threw out all of the old hymnals after Vatican II and did not bother to look around at all of the beautiful English language hymns surrounding us. The “Spirit of Vatican II” then spoiled the waters by encouraging hymns with weak melodies and even weaker language. The hymnals quickly devolved into “Happy, Fluffy Bunny Jesus” versions of what they used to be.

      Then, the traditionalists over-reacted and banned everything which was not written in Latin. I can’t entirely fault them though: they were actively shunned (often persecuted) in many places in the U.S. and so they dug in and condemned all change.

      Both parties are wrong, but I admit I side more with the traditionalists on this one. Given the choice between “we do what we want” liturgy, so prominent in the late 20th century, as well as the music which accompanied it (no pun intended), and a more strict adherence to rubrical norms and formalized language, I side with better rubrics. At a minimum, it fits better with the texts and ideas, if not the “Spirit” of Vatican II.

    • Another knee jerks:

      “Modernizing” a hymn is like “Colorizing” a movie. Both are bad ideas.

  • Tony V

    I second the Prayer to St. Michael. Below is St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “Suscipe”:

    Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. All I have and call my own, You have given to me; to you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me.

    Also, the preparatory meditations for St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary are quite excellent:

  • My favorite is “All Creatures of Our God and King.” St. Francis prayer “Make me an instrument of thy peace” is a hymn. Very beautiful. Congratulations on coming into the church – it is awesome!

  • Lori

    Favorite hymns: The Church’s One Foundation, Panis Angelicus, Tantum Ergo Sacramentum… The latter two were written by St. Thomas Aquinas, who seemed to specialize in Eucharistic hymns. Godspeed on your journey and many blessings as you are received into the Faith!

  • Anthony Tan

    ‘Lead, Kindly Light’. Words by Blessed John Henry Newman.
    A song for all converts and pilgrims.,_Kindly_Light

  • The Litany of Humility, but be careful. God answers this prayer and it’s not usually pleasant.

    O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

    From the desire of being esteemed,
    Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being loved…
    From the desire of being extolled …
    From the desire of being honored …
    From the desire of being praised …
    From the desire of being preferred to others…
    From the desire of being consulted …
    From the desire of being approved …
    From the fear of being humiliated …
    From the fear of being despised…
    From the fear of suffering rebukes …
    From the fear of being calumniated …
    From the fear of being forgotten …
    From the fear of being ridiculed …
    From the fear of being wronged …
    From the fear of being suspected …

    That others may be loved more than I,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be esteemed more than I …
    That, in the opinion of the world,
    others may increase and I may decrease …
    That others may be chosen and I set aside …
    That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
    That others may be preferred to me in everything…
    That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

    O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

    • That’s fantastic. But extraordinarily difficult to say with true sincerity. I better work on it. Thank you.

  • Tony

    Leah: It will be Advent. Don’t go for the goopy contemporary stuff. Go for the treasures still in the attic:

    Of the Father’s Love Begotten (Divinum Mysterium)
    Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (Picardy, for Communion)
    Jesus, Priceless Treasure (harmonized by Bach; a stupendous and yet short poem)
    On Jordan’s Bank (Winchester Old; appropriate for your baptism and the season of Advent)

  • Laurel

    My favorites include “Be Thou My Vision” (Am I thirding it or fourthing it?), “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” (Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee. Spring Thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity) and “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, as several others have mentioned.

  • Jacob

    Congrats, Leah.

    Two of my favorites:
    1) As the deer.
    2) How great thou art.

  • joost rademaekers

    Very short, but very powerful, with a meditative melody:
    Some phrases by Gregory of Nazianzus: You who are beyond all things, what mind can grasp you?
    All that lives celebrates you; the desire of all reaches out to you.


    joost r

  • Sarah M.

    I’m partial to the University of Notre Dame’s folk choir’s Crossroads of Praise CD. Especially “I Have Been Annointed” and “Come to the Living Stone”
    (Although the verse in the video is different than the CD version)

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there are easily printed off lyrics, but I think they are great pump-you-up/joy-of-the-faith songs.

  • The “Canticle of the Turning” is one of my favorite hymns. Since I was introduced to it by the choir at Texas A&M’s fantastic Catholic center at St. Mary’s, I’ll forever think that that’s how they hear the canticle in the best of all possible worlds, but this version on youtube is pretty good, too:

    A sample of the lyrics, starting with the first verse:
    My soul cries out with a joyful shout
    that the God of my heart is great,
    And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
    that you bring to the ones who wait.
    You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight,
    and my weakness you did not spurn,
    So from east to west shall my name be blest.
    Could the world be about to turn?

    And the chorus:
    My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
    Let the fires of your justice burn.
    Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
    and the world is about to turn!

    This is close to the optimum level of aggressiveness to be to my liking. Your mileage may vary. Peace be with you, and safe travels in your journeys across New England and to the Church.

    • Eh, not much of a fan of the post 1970’s GIA/David Haas/Gather Us In Folk/Renewal/Protestanized hymnal songs.

      The mass already has words for music built into it: instead of hymnal songs written post 1970 by theologically suspect people, we should sing the mass! The gloria, agnus dei (lamb of god), kyrie (lord have mercy), and credo(i believe in one god…) are all parts of the mass that occur every sunday, more or less. As such, Vatican II called for these parts to be retained in the Latin tongue, so that the faithful across the globe will be suited during gatherings (such as world youth day) and can understand the mass no matter what our mother tongue was. Sadly, the parts proper to the people in the ordinary of the mass have not been retained and/or chanted since 1969, and as such, we’ve seen the subsequent watering down of the faith, with mass parts being ad-libbed and or replaced with “god bless america” at the offertory (incredibly theologically offensive to God). We need a restoration of sacred music in the liturgy.

      For example, here is the Asperges Me (sprinkling rite w/holy water) that COULD be sung every sunday.

      We need to hold the external aesthetics of the mass to a higher standard, for the father.

  • Ally

    With the disclaimer that I am not Catholic and apologize if my selections are not appropriate (but given I’ve seen Charles Wesley mentioned, I thought it might be safe enough) here are my suggestions:

    Modern – “How Deep the Father’s Loce For Us” by Stuart Townend (really is truly a modern “hymn” and not a praise chorus)

    Older – the Welsh hymn “Here Is Love Vast As The Ocean” – I’ve never been at a church that sang it, but years ago I went with my mom to a Women of Faith conference and Shelia Walsh who is Welsh sang it, and it is just gorgeous (and I used to go around looking for it in every hymnal I saw- to no luck).
    Speaking of Welsh hymns I am rather partial to Bread of Heaven/Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, but that has more to do with the hymn tune being a bit of an unofficial national anthem of Wales, and my attempts to celebrate my Welsh ancestry…

  • Pedro Paulo Jr
  • Solarcat

    OK Leah, I’ll mention two. One was already mentioned that I like: Tantum Ergo a Gregroian chat: I like it in the Latin I learned it from, even though I didt know the translation. It felt right. :

    Tantum ergo Sacramentum
    Veneremur cernui:
    Et antiquum documentum
    Novo cedat ritui:
    Praestet fides supplementum
    Sensuum defectui.

    Genitori, Genitoque
    Laus et jubilatio,
    Salus, honor, virtus quoque
    Sit et benedictio:
    Procedenti ab utroque
    Compar sit laudatio.
    I see there are YouTube versions of it being sung.

    In English:
    Down in adoration falling,
    Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
    Lo! o’er ancient forms departing
    Newer rites of grace prevail;
    Faith for all defects supplying,
    Where the feeble senses fail.

    To the everlasting Father,
    And the Son Who reigns on high
    With the Holy Ghost proceeding
    Forth from Each eternally,
    Be salvation, honor, blessing,
    Might and endless majesty.

    The other might be a nice morning hymn as you get back to DC. I’ve only heard this one in the Unitarian Universalist church and I’m not sure the Wikipedia version is an exact match. But I’ve always enjoyed having the opportunity of singing it during the church service.

    Morning Has Broken

    Morning has broken, like the first morning
    Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
    Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
    Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

    Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
    Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
    Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
    Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

    Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
    Born of the one light, Eden saw play
    Praise with elation, praise every morning
    God’s recreation of the new day.

    At the Catholic church I attend here, mainly during the Easter Holy Week, during the Saturday Easter Virgil service they conduct Baptism, 1st Holy Communioon, and Confirmation. A RCIA group is part of the members who receive those sacraments. I don’t know if a person who has gone through RCIA does all three that night.

    What I find interesting in this Catholic church is they do Baptism by immersion. Behind the large bowl of holy water you bless yourself with when you enter, there is a tank full of holy water. Infants thru adults are Baptised there. After each person is Baptised there is a short song and the church members clap for them. I find it an impressive event.

  • Aaaaaand we’re all overlooking the buried lead here:

    Leah is going to a football game!!!

    (Though I understand it’s basically an exchangeable excuse to have a party, so it’s not bad just slightly funny.)

    • leahlibresco

      The only Game that weekend that really matters is the Harvard-Yale Quidditch game, which we have won whenever I attended.

  • “Praise My Soul the King of Heaven”

    “Lord Who at Thy First Eucharist Did Pray”

    Litanies are wonderful for group prayer and singing. The Litany of the Saints – especially moving when sung; consider also the the Litany of the Sacred Heart and the Litany of Loreto.

  • Alexander

    I save new hymns that I like from our church bulletin. I went to look at my collection today, and what popped out, but “God Whose Purpose Is To Kindle.”

    Just a few more suggestions for an evening train ride:

    Abide with Me
    God, Who Made the Earth and Heaven

    Also, for other occasions:
    The Church’s One Foundation
    Earth and All Stars
    ‘Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here

    Leah, may your journey into the Church continue and may you be filled with the Lord’s love and peace.

    • Alexander

      By the way, here are some of the lyrics that I thought you might like from Earth and All Stars. It’s a great hymn for the Catholic vision of all creation celebrating in God.

      1. Earth and all stars, loud rushing planets,
      sing to the Lord a new song!
      O victory, loud shouting army,
      sing to the Lord a new song!


      He has done marvelous things.
      I, too, will praise him with a new song!

      2. Hail, wind, and rain, loud blowing snowstorms,
      sing to the Lord a new song!
      Flowers and trees, loud rustling leaves,
      sing to the Lord a new song! Refrain

      3. Trumpet and pipes, loud clashing cymbals,
      sing to the Lord a new song!
      Harp, lute, and lyre, loud humming cellos,
      sing to the Lord a new song! Refrain

      4. Engines and steel, loud pounding hammers,
      sing to the Lord a new song!
      Limestone and beams, loud building workers,
      sing to the Lord a new song! Refrain

      5. Classrooms and labs, loud boiling test tubes,
      sing to the Lord a new song!
      Athlete and band, loud cheering people,
      sing to the Lord a new song! Refrain

      6. Knowledge and truth, loud sounding wisdom,
      sing to the Lord a new song!
      Daughter and son, loud praying members,
      sing to the Lord a new song! Refrain

      • leahlibresco

        Oh, my geeky, tinkering heart really likes this one.

  • Andrew

    Ok. After many years of the 60s-70s “folk” – Marty Haugen type kitsch, I began attending the extra-ordinary form 4 years ago.

    Bottom line – I can barely stomach Catholic music which most would call a “hymn”. Recommendation: seek out Byrd, Pallestrina, and Victoria.

    This is high culture and it lifts us to heaven (rather than dragging God down to us)>

  • Kyle

    Lead, Kindly Light by Blessed John Henry Newman is a favorite of mine

    “Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
    Lead Thou me on!
    The night is dark, and I am far from home,
    Lead Thou me on!
    Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
    The distant scene; one step enough for me.
    I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
    Shouldst lead me on;
    I loved to choose and see my path; but now
    Lead Thou me on!
    I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
    Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
    So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
    Will lead me on.
    O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
    The night is gone,
    And with the morn those angel faces smile,
    Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
    Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
    Thyself hast trod,
    Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
    Home to my God.
    To rest forever after earthly strife
    In the calm light of everlasting life.”

  • I’m suggesting “Lead Kindly Light,” a hymn with lyrics from Cardinal John Henry Newman. I wasn’t even aware of the song until earlier this year when the gospel group The Lower Lights recorded it with beautiful harmonies. The lyrics are below. A link to The Lower Lights version is at

    Lead, Kindly Light

    “Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
    Lead Thou me on!
    The night is dark, and I am far from home,
    Lead Thou me on!
    Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
    The distant scene; one step enough for me.

    I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
    Shouldst lead me on;
    I loved to choose and see my path; but now
    Lead Thou me on!
    I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
    Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

    So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
    Will lead me on.
    O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
    The night is gone,
    And with the morn those angel faces smile,
    Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

    Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
    Thyself hast trod,
    Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
    Home to my God.
    To rest forever after earthly strife
    In the calm light of everlasting life.”

  • Sharon Kay

    Wishing you joy, Leah, and I thank you, too, for the spirit, wisdom, and humor so evident in your writing. It makes me happy in so many ways.

    One of my favorites is ‘Crown Him With Many Crowns’, which is often sung on the Feast of Christ the King (11/25 this year)…

    Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
    Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
    Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
    And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity….

    The lyrics and the rather interesting story behind them can be found here…

    …and here it is sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir…

  • Sarah S

    If you like aggressive hymns that call down smiting upon ourselves, then it’s pretty hard to beat GKC.

    O God of earth and altar,
    Bow down and hear our cry.
    Our earthly rulers falter,
    Our people drift and die;
    The walls of gold entomb us,
    The swords of scorn divide,
    Take not thy thunder from us,
    But take away our pride.

    From all that terror teaches,
    From lies of tongue and pen,
    From all the easy speeches
    That comfort cruel men,
    For sale and profanation
    Of honour and the sword,
    From sleep and from damnation,
    Deliver us, good Lord.

    Tie in a living tether
    The prince and priest and thrall,
    Bind all our lives together,
    Smite us and save us all;
    In ire and exultation
    Aflame with faith, and free,
    Lift up a living nation,
    A single sword to thee.

    This is a nice setting:, although I prefer the King’s Lynn melody.

    Congratulation and blessings to you! And watch out for any stray Quaffles.

  • Richard

    If you are going to be in Boston, you should go visit St. Mary’s Monastery near Petersham. They say the full Benedictine Horarium in Latin. They and their sister monastery of St. Scholastica’s priory chant the entire Psalter every week. The church has perfect acoustics for chant. Mass is in English with the Latin propers.

    It is a double monastery. The two communities are legally and administratively separate but they share some activities. For example, they will have a shared meal once a month or so. It is a 200 acre property once leased by Bill Cosby when he was studying for his doctorate. There are 4 brothers plus a claustral oblate plus a couple visiting monks on the brothers’ side and about a dozen nuns.

    The subprioress is the older sister of the prioress. Their oldest nun is 97 and their youngest is in her 30s. One of the monks is Canadian. The two visiting monks are from England and France.

    The nuns are in an old manor house dating from the late 20s. The monks are in the former carriage house. The church is between teh two buildings. They have a guest house for private retreats. It backs onto the Harvard Forest.

    and for a hymn suggestion, how abut “It Is Well With My Soul”

  • JoeC

    I’d suggest “How Deep the Father’s Love” as well as voicing my support for any of the Aquinas hymns and “Be thou my Vision”. Also the poem “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson is wonderful. “How Great Thou Art” is good as well. Hard as they may be to find, there are some pretty decent modern ones, and I’ll throw one out there at least. Matt Maher’s “Alive Again” is an excellent modern adaptation of “The Prayer of Augustine” Then there are always the two great hymns of the New Testament, Philippians 2:5-11 and Colossians 1:15-20

  • Ted Seeber

    I can’t believe it. Liberal as your audience is, and I’ll get crucified by the more conservative Catholics here- but nobody bothered to mention “Servant Song”?!?!?!? It’s a love it or hate it hymn, I know, but it is, after all, a story from the Old Testament, the story of Samuel, updated for Christians.

    “What do you want of me, Lord? Where do you want me to Serve You? ” are questions we should all be asking.

    Also, On Eagle’s Wings. Even for an autistic like me- that song has the power to move.

  • Melody

    I have always been fond of ” The King of Glory”. And though this clip of Steve Colbert is funny, dancing does go quite well with it, in the sort of spirit as David, dancing with all his might before the ark of the covenant.
    Sounds like a good match between a post game, pre reception into the church, top of the lungs kind of fest.

  • philq

    Not surprisingly, Chesterton wrote the best hymn ever: O God of Earth and Altar. I think our music pastor wrote his own tune for it, but here’s the lyrics:

  • jenesaispas

    Not really hymns : (the exact opposite of martial, but it was fun at primary school:)
    Lord of the Dance by Sydney Carter

    Anything with ‘ave Maria’ in it.
    Be still for the presence of the Lord…
    One Bread, One Body
    From Heaven You Came (The Servant King)
    Thine Be the Glory

  • jenesaispas

    Can’t believe its so soon by the way- only four weeks!

  • Brandon B

    I’ve two that haven’t been mentioned yet, from opposite ends of the traditionality spectrum:
    Older: Salve Regina (Solemn Tone)
    Not the simplest chant (there is also a “simple tone”, after all), but I think it’s beautiful, so a year ago I decided to memorize it.
    Newer: How He Loves (written by John McMillan, covered by various artists)

  • g

    Not a hymn or prayer, but since other people are talking about Chesterton it’s worth a mention and I think you’d like it: _Gloria in Profundis_. And, while we’re on short literary devotional poetry, how about some George Herbert? “Love bade me welcome”, often titled “Love (III)” though that title isn’t his, in addition to being good poetry is also a sustained pun on a word that never appears in the poem. Or some of the “Holy Sonnets” of John Donne (I particularly like “At the round earth’s imagined corners” and “Death be not proud”). Hymns: anything set to Song 1 by Orlando Gibbons.
    (Disclaimer 1: I am not a Christian, though I was one for many years. My taste in Christian devotional stuff may differ from yours. Disclaimer 2: Herbert, Donne and Gibbons were all Protestants in an age when Protestants and Catholics really didn’t get along very well. I accept no responsibility if old animosities are stirred up.)

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    Most of the classic hymns that I like have already been mentioned, so I’ll offer a couple more modern Catholic hymns. The links to listen to them on YouTube are of the Funeral Mass for Fr. Bob Bedard, CC, Founder of the Companions of the Cross, the community to which I belong.

    1. Press On by Robert Filoramo
    (This one works great sung at the top of your lungs)
    So as for me I will press on in running the race
    with my eyes fixed on Jesus who inspires and perfects my faith,
    I will fight the good fight with all my heart and soul
    ‘til the day that I’m with Jesus, the day I’m finally home,
    the day that I have won crown.
    Full lyrics at the songwriter’s website:

    2. When Its All Been Said and Done by Jim Cowan
    (This one is quiet & reflective, perfect just before retiring)

    When it’s all been said and done,
    There is just one thing that matters.
    Did I do my best to live for truth,
    Did I live my life for You?

    When it’s all been said and done,
    All my treasures will mean nothing.
    Only what I’ve done for love’s reward
    Will stand the test of time.

    Lord, Your mercy is so great
    That You look beyond our weakness
    And find purest gold in miry clay,
    Making sinners into saints.

    I will always sing Your praise
    Here on earth and ever after,
    For You’ve shown me heaven’s my true home
    When it’s all been said and done.
    You’re my life when life is gone.

    When it’s all been said and done,
    There is just one thing that matters.
    Did I do my best to live for truth,
    Did I live my life for You?
    Lord, I’ll live my life for You.

  • grok87

    Hi Leah,
    Here’s one that I prayed a lot when I was writing my Senior Thesis:


    Creator of all things,
    true Source of light and wisdom,
    lofty origin of all being,
    graciously let a ray of Your brilliance
    penetrate into the darkness of my understanding
    and take from me the double darkness
    in which I have been born,
    an obscurity of both sin and ignorance.
    Give me a sharp sense of understanding,
    a retentive memory,
    and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.
    Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations,
    and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.
    Point out the beginning,
    direct the progress,
    and help in completion;
    through Christ our Lord.


    Congratuations on your upcoming baptism, first communion, confirmation. We’ll all be praying for you on the 18th.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    As a former agnostic computer programmer MIT alumnus now Catholic priest, I appreciate both your geek interests and your testimony of conversion. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    In addition to the assurance of my prayers for you as you prepare to be received into the Catholic Church, I can’t resist suggesting just one more song:

    Creed by Rich Mullins
    (This high-energy hammer-dulcimer driven version of The Apostle’s Creed is a perfect fit for a road trip following your Profession of Faith. Rich Mullins was himself preparing to be received into the Catholic Church, until his untimely death in 1997:
    Song, Video & Full lyrics –

    I believe in God the Father almighty
    Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
    And in Jesus Christ
    His only begotten Son, our Lord
    He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
    Born of the virgin Mary
    Suffered under Pontius Pilate
    He was crucified and dead and buried

    And I believe what I believe
    Is what makes me what I am
    I did not make it, no it is making me
    It is the very truth of God,
    Not the invention of any man.

  • One hymn, Leah, that will always have special significance for me is “Father, We Thank Thee Who Hast Planted,” which I first sang the day after I was received into the Catholic Church. It’s Eucharistic and eminently singable, and it calls for unity among Christians. What more could you want?
    Lyrics here:

  • mgregoire

    The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want;
    He maketh me down to lie
    In pastures green. He leadeth me
    The quiet waters by.

    My table he hath furnishèd
    In presence of my foes.
    My head he dost with oil anoint,
    And my cup overflows.

    Yea, though I walk in Death’s dark vale
    Yet will I fear none ill;
    For thou art with me, and thy rod
    And staff me comfort still.

    Goodness and mercy all my life
    Shall surely follow me,
    And in God’s house forevermore
    My dwelling-place shall be.

  • dawnmaria

    Jesus My Lord, My God, My All by Fr Frederick William Faber. Check out the choral video on Our Saviour NYC’s website. Chorus goes like this:

    Sweet Sacrament we thee adore,
    O make us love thee more and more,
    O make us love thee more and more.

  • Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

    We live in an age where we’d rather find death and all its gloom as an answer to life, rather than God in all His glory. It may be that our God has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. Christ is the happy Man, the happy God-Man, who puts modern man to shame for all his gloom and hopelessness.
    Modern man drinks and shouts across the tavern of time, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” Well, this is not the clarion call to joy; this is the voice of doom, chiding the almost dead rats on a sinking ship. Modern man is no more a reveler than he is a saint. The early Church was grounded on a serious joie de vivre. Jesus Christ himself made wine not a medicine, but a Sacrament. Modern man makes wine not a Sacrament but a medicine. Modern man feasts because life is not joyful. He revels because he is not glad.
    “Drink,” he says, “for you know not whence you come, nor why. Drink, for you know not when you go nor where. Drink, because the stars are cruel and the earth is idle as a humming top. Drink, because there is nothing worth trusting, nothing worth fighting for…” And so he stands, offering us the cup in his hand.
    But at the high altar of Christianity, stands another figure in whose hand is also a cup. “Drink,” He says, “for the whole world is as red as this wine with the crimson love and wrath of God. Drink, for the trumpets are blowing for battle, and this is the stirrup-cup. Drink, for this is My blood of the new Covenant that is shed for you. Drink, for I know of whence you come and why. Drink for I know of when you go and where.
    (Excerpts from G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 4 and Heretics, ch. 7 arranged in a monologue by Charlie Jones, “The Happy Man,” Peculiar People)

  • if you have an iPhone/Android device with a data plan, You can stream one of the offices that the benedictine Monks at post each day on their blog. If you wanna follow along you can go to and select the pre Tridentine monastic office. If you wanna just pray along with the current EF Breviary, the 1960 one is fine : )

    Also: in latin! : P

  • ILikeServantSongAndCanticleOfTheSun

    I thought that RCIA only happened at Easter Vigil. Why aren’t they making you wait til Easter?

    • leahlibresco

      This parish does two cycles a year, because they get a lot of people. It’s unusual, but kosher.

      • My girlfriend will be confirmed in a few weeks, as she has been meeting one on one with our deacon and has been studying for over a year in her own time. We are going to Rome this Christmas, and she asked if it was at all possible for our priest to confirm her due to her studies, one on one meetings, etc. He agreed after asking her some questions.

        It’s not incredibly common, but all it really takes is calling up your parish and them letting the Diocese know.

  • Dang. I’m coming late to the conversation, but for my love of hymnody, I’m totally going to unself-consciously chime in anyways.

    1) THIS remake of Just As I Am does it justice: (“Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; /sight, riches, healing of the mind,/ yea, all I need in thee to find, /O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”)
    2) THIS remake of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
    3) Jesus, Lover of My Soul
    4) Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer / Not for ease that prayer shall be/ but for strength that we may ever/ live our lives courageously…
    5) Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
    6) Come Ye Sinners/ I Will Arise and Go to Jesus (Come ye weary, heavy laden/ Lost and ruined by the Fall/ If you tarry till you’re better/ You will never come at all)
    7) Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
    8) O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
    9) A Mighty Fortress (“Did we in our own strength confide/ our striving would be losing/ were not the right Man on our side/ the Man of God’s own choosing”)
    10) Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
    11) O Worship the King (“Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,/ In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;/ Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,/ Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”

    …oh, so many. ‘Twould be grand to read more posts on your explorations into liturgy.

  • Frank Dobbs

    May I suggest some of my unworthy translations, that others have found joy in:

    The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom (revised 2012) – this is the center point of the calendar’s liturgy of the word, that is read at every Orthodox paschal liturgy.
    I have gotten more requests for my modern adaptation of St Francis’ Canticle of Brother Son, called Canticle of Electric Light, for something contemporary.
    The Akathist to the Virgin, attributed to Romanos the Melode, is always in season.
    But I would most heartily draw you attention to a modern Akathist, written by a priest in captivity in the gulag, called “Akathist – Glory to God for All Things.”
    This part, from Ode 11, matches the occasion:

    Blessed will they be who share your feast in heaven,
    As a sinner I have tasted of that blessedness below.
    Time after time you have held out your body
    And blood and called aloud for me to partake.
    I weep for my sins, for I have tasted Love,
    And my flesh burns with heaven’s fire.
    Glory for the fire that burns but does not consume
    Glory for the Church’s peace in a tortured world.
    Glory for the waters of baptism and rebirth.
    Glory for penitence, pure as the lily-flower.
    Glory for the cup of Salvation, Glory for the bread of joy!
    Glory for exalting us and bringing us to heaven.
    Glory to God, sing everlasting glory.