Lent

Story Behind the Song: Deliver Me From Me

Mark Mallett writes:
I wrote Deliver Me From Me at a time when I felt acutely my spiritual poverty. I think that's why so many people connect to this song---those who are genuinely seeking Christ experience their own weakness, and so this song becomes the song of their heart also.

Scripture says, "By His wounds we are healed." Are we not His body? Then it could be said that when we expose our wounds to others in a spirit of humility, they too find healing, because in that humility, that truth, they find Jesus hidden within us, in the distressing disguise of the poor.

Deliver Me From Me

Deliver me from me
From this earthly tent, sagged and leaking
Deliver me from me
From this earthen vessel, cracked and dried
Deliver me from me
From this flesh, so weak and worn
Lord, deliver me, from me... into Your Mercy

Into Your Mercy
Into Your Mercy
Into Your Mercy
Lord, deliver me from me... into Your Mercy

...deliver me from me
From this flesh, so weak and worn
Lord, deliver me from me... into Your Mercy

Personal Favorite Lent Album - The Lover and the Beloved

Nick Alexander here...

If I had to choose a single album that represents my devotion to the Lenten season, hands down, that honor would go to The Lover and the Beloved by John Michael Talbot.

Contrary to the increasing cliches predominant in Christian Contemporary Music, this album presents poetry that highlights the poetry of St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and the late Thomas Merton. Not only in content, but in form--this album eschews the lavishly ultra-production of his Contemporary Christian peers, and presented an album as sparse as possible... one voice, one guitar, nothing else. Such a sound is as counter-cultural as it can possibly be, much moreso than today's crisp highly glossy, radio formats.

This was the album that introduced me to the Dark Night of the Soul from St. John of the Cross. Beforehand, it was very easy to be sucked into a "health & wealth" gospel that was blasting thru the television airwaves. Just last year, even Mother Teresa's diaries demonstrated her very own "Dark Night of the Soul" experience, where she did not feel the touch of God for forty years. And yet, she proved herself faithful throughout that ordeal, changing many lives throughout.

I cannot recommend this sparse, challenging, and ultimately beautiful album highly enough. John Michael Talbot's guitar prowess has never been surpassed as he is here, and the poetry effectively matches his soothing voice and temperament. You will not experience Lent in the same way.

Lent Resources from Spirit & Song

Nick Alexander here...

Robert Feduccia, of Spirit & Song shared with me as to what songs in their repertoire that are most befitting for the season of Lent.

  1. 40 Days by Matt Maher

    Well produced and unabashedly Catholic in its devotion...
  2. Change Me by Tom Booth

    "Ultimately, the call to change is the call to love. Like Mary... May we say 'yes' and be changed."-Tom Booth
  3. Be With Me, Lord by Sarah Hart

    A poignant duet with Curtis Stephan pleading for God's help... and a superb new setting of Psalm 91.
  4. Revive Us, O God by Jesse Manibusan

    Jesse's third album is a musical testament to this transforming power in our lives.
  5. River of Life by Joshua Blakesley

    Joshua's catchy choruses make you want to sing along...

Grapevine Rewind - Nick's Notes - Winter 2007

A Lenten iMix

Nick Alexander here...

It’s hard to imagine, but this time last year I didn’t own an iPod.

Don’t misunderstand me. For those who are current on the iPod craze, I am not giving you a reason to gloat. Neither do I wish to gloat on those who do not yet own this technological marvel. An iPod is a huge financial investment, and it is impossible to understand how revolutionary it truly is without having one yourself.

There is a reason I share this. At this time, last year I was preparing for Lent. As a fan of Christian music, that includes loading my multi-disc CD player with albums that can best prepare my heart with the solemnity of the season. It would also mean a greater desire to listen to Christian music.

And yet, when I listen to Christian radio, and sing along with the praise and worship classics, sometimes I can’t help but get a sour feeling when a song with the word “Alleluia” comes on, or a song that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. It’s “Lent!” I mutter. It’s the wrong time! Don’t they understand ...
Press to Continue...

Top Ten Songs for Lent

Nick Alexander here...
The songs were submitted, the votes have been cast, the community has spoken. What follows is the list for the top songs for Lent.

  1. Between Here and There by Sean Clive
    Our Journey of Lent begins with the first step. This song is a water walking song about complete faith and trust, surrendering ourselves to God when our world would scare us into despair. Step out of the boat. His hands are reaching out to you. He’s called you to come to him. That’s all you need. So, go. He will meet you…
  2. Lord, Hear My Prayer by Margo. B. Smith
    This is a song/prayer about praying for others and trusting in God and His mercy. As Christians we are to pray for each other and trust in God’s mercy to answer our prayers.
  3. A Simple Cry by Last Day
    Matt wrote these words down in a journal several years ago when he was suffering from a bout of depression. The song seems to make a strong connection with a lot of Last Day's fans.
  4. Turn My Heart by George Lower
    I had just heard a witness from a man who had felt that no one would be inspired by his story--he had had no great crisis in his life. Afterwards we were praying together in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I heard the words "Turn My Heart" in my head and I got up grabbed my guitar and left the chapel.
  5. Take, Lord, Receive by Gretchen Harris
    This is the classic song that was known and loved back in the day. The sentiment is timeless. Spirit Alive provides the backing vocals. Based on the prayer penned by St. Ignatius Loyola in the 16th century.
  6. If Today by George Lower
    "If Today" is a setting of Psalm 95 that I wrote when I was working the St. Patrick Life Teen ministry in Tampa, FL. It is definitely a favorite of mine as well as the communities where I have ministered.
  7. As The Deer Longs by Gretchen Harris
    Based on Psalm 42. One year I gave up TV for Lent and thought I couldn't live without seeing certain shows. What I came to learn was that the only thing I couldn't live without was Jesus Christ. This song has always portrayed a longing for Jesus that expressed what was in my heart.
  8. I Call To You by Lynn Geyer
    I've always loved this song and when it came time to choose the songs to accompany the text of Journey to Forgiveness I knew I would be working I Call to You into the mix.
  9. Too Late Have I Loved You by Nick Alexander
    According to musician Fr David Hemann, this is the best rendition of St. Augustine's prayer he had ever heard. (I am humbled by that). This was the "Serious" song on the otherwise comedic "Eternal Life: the Party Album", and it was a wonderful complement to the songs before.
  10. See Christ in All Things by Deacon Chuck Stevens
    This song was written during a retreat in 2004, and speaks of how Christ reveals Himself to us when we look at our own world - and stresses how death to our own self opens a space for Christ to fill, uniting our actions to His death and Resurrection.

Feel free to listen in to each of these songs, and make them your own. These iMixes are set up easily so that you can download them to your computer, and listen to them on your MP3 player... or you can burn them onto a CD and listen to them there. It will bring a greater sense of devotion to this most holy season.

Lent Resources from World Library Publications

Nick Alexander here...
Jennifer Odegard wrote me a list of her favorite songs from World Library Publications.

These are all wonderful additions to your Lenten library.

The Perfect Album for Lenten Reflection

Susan Bailey of Grapevine Magazine writes:

I receive a lot of CDs and many are pretty good. Once on a while though one really stands out. Danielle Rose's latest, "I Thirst," is such a CD. The 14 songs on this album ruminate on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in a deep and complex way that makes for perfect Lenten reflection.

Danielle had tremendous insight into the heart and soul of Mother Teresa and seemed to sense intuitively her "dark night of the soul" that ended up lasting 40 years. Catholicism is a faith of contradictions, and this truth is played out more and more as one goes in deeper and deeper. The poor being generous. The sorrowful knowing deep joy. Darkness being a gift. These are the kinds of issues that Danielle Rose deals with on "I Thirst."

The opening and title track of the album dives in deeply. The song is based on two words that Christ spoke on the cross: "I thirst." These two words appeared next to the crucifix in every chapel of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's order and they serve to remind the sisters of their fourth vow: "to satiate Christ's thirst for souls through 'wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor' " (liner notes of CD). But as Danielle writes, "I thirst not for water, I thirst for belief, I thirst for your gaze to wash over me. I'm lonely and broken, I'm weary, forsaken, Why have you abandoned me?"

There are so many other wonderful examples such as "Small Things with Great Love," "Love Till It Hurts." etc. The biggest 'contradiction' is "The Joy of the Lord." Mother Teresa was well known for her joy and the ever-present smile on her face and this, of course, made it all that much harder to believe the incredible suffering she went through in secret. The surprise of this song is what Danielle was going through during this time, for she was discerning her vocation in the midst of having lost her voice.

From a personal note, I love the song, "You Did It to Me." I've been struggling learning how to apply Lectio Divina to my scripture reading. Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of praying the scripture through reading, meditation, contemplation and action. Part of the Lectio process is repeating the scripture to yourself, to make it a part of you. I was having a hard time practicing Lectio even though I've been reading a wonderful book on it (Praying the Bible by Karl Schultz). This song suddenly made the whole process come alive. As I sang the refrain, I was practicing Lectio and I didn't even realize it at first! Lectio is a wonderful thing to practice on all of these songs. A wonderful thing to do during Lent.

"I Thirst" is available through World Library Publications at www.wlpmusic.com. Click on the Artist Tab and then click on Danielle's name; then click on the "I Thirst" link to hear samples and purchase your copy.

Be sure and listen to the GrapeVine News Minute podcast from January 27th (known as Episode #74 on the player - look for the date because there are two episode #74s! My error, this should have been labeled as #75) and this coming weekend, Feb. 3 (episode #76) to listen to the back story of this album and more importantly, learn more about what goes into discerning a vocation. One thing I sure learned - it's far from an individual decision!

There is also a video link that will be included on the show notes about another vocation story involving the daughter of one of my longest and dearest friends (from the iPadre podcast).

I found Danielle's story to be so compelling. I found "I Thirst" to be compelling even before knowing the story, but after what I've learned, the music comes alive even more so. I hope it aids you in your Lenten reflections.

What Are Your Favorite Lent Songs?

Nick Alexander here...
Happy Ash Wednesday! Lent has officially begun, and now is the time for personal reflection and sacrifice. Now is the time to be inspired to aim for greater holiness and sanctity, and for good works.

Music can be a great devotional tool for this Lenten season.

For the next few weeks, the TopCatholicSongs community will be sharing songs that have blessed them in past Lents. We are in the process of deciding right now as to what the Top Ten Lent songs will be. (Wanna vote? Join the community... it's FREE).

In short, you're going to want to bookmark this page.

In the meantime, do you have a favorite Lenten song/album to share? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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