SongStory: At the Hour of Our death

David Gawron writes: This one lyric line (the favorite I've ever written) sums the song up: "The broken shackles of humanity cannot compare at all to what lies ahead." The song stems from the phrase in the rosary, which prompted me to think, "Hmm... what IS it like at the moment we die?" So the lyrics explore that theme, and all the potential emotions attached to that. The verses were written rather easily, but I couldn't come up with a chorus, opposite of how I usually write. My housemate at the time (I was in graduate school at the Franciscan University of Steubenville), Jim Moran, had a little tune he'd wander around humming sometimes. He didn't have words for it or or verse ideas, but it was a great tune. It is now the At The Hour chorus, and it works fantastically as a complement to the verses. The verses are very pensive and melancholy, as we say goodbye to the corporal life we've known. The chorus is supposed to be the angels greeting us as we pass into eternity with our Lord Jesus. An artist created two watercolor paintings to illustrate the lyrics:
At the Hour of Our Death Words and Music by David Gawron Time stands still from where I lay I feel my life slippin’ away The Holy Spirit breathes into me, O Lord My bruised and battered soul is set free In communion with all the angels and saints I feel the Raw and Pure Energy I feel the overwhelming desire, O Lord Your hands lift me higher and higher It’s only now that I realize I see eternity in Your eyes I’ve never been, but I feel like I’ve been here before And into Heaven my soul soars I think of all I did with my life All the blessings, all of the gifts All the sorrow, and all of the pain But I pressed on, my love never strayed My prayers are answered, my debt is paid The broken shackles of humanity Cannot compare to what lies ahead -- And I heard the word He said

Matt Maher Likes "Speak O Lord"

Nick Alexander here... I just discovered this song. I think it is a tremendous example of great, modern hymnwriting. Apparently, Matt Maher thinks so too... Full lyrics are available HERE.

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

Story Behind the Song: Before Lent Arrives, Laugh and Learn

Nick Alexander here... Ash Wednesday is early this year (February 6, 2008). With this comes the arrival of Lent, one of the most solemn, most holy seasons in the Church Calendar. To me, this is an opportunity to truly stretch oneself towards holiness in ways they've never considered before: reading that classic devotional, attending (or trying to attend) daily mass, going to Stations of the Cross, adoration, tithing, and fasting. For too often I've heard people try to inject their own apathy as a paltry joke: "You know what I'm giving up for Lent? Church." Yeah, I've never heard that one before. Instead, I wanted to craft a comedy song that explored all the nuances of this incredible season, while still tickled the funny bone. Considering that this song has been very strongly received (even becoming the top downloaded song of 2006 from CatholicMusicNetwork means that it hit a chord. (Previously, I didn't want to do a parody of a song Weird Al had already written... but the opening lines to this song trumped that rightaway...) Check out the video appearance of this as well. Have a laugh about Lent, before it comes... This Time of Forty Days by Nick Alexander (Parody of "King of Pain" by The Police) There's a little black spot on your head today I guess it must mean today is Ash Wednesday And we enter a time when we will give things up For some it's so easy but for me it's rough I hope I can last without it being a pain On Friday's no meat, but at least fish is okay We just got our throats blessed on the Feast of St. Blaise And it starts right this week, this time of forty days. There's a little black spot on your head today (Is my soul prepared?) It's to remind us that from dust we came (Is my soul prepared?) Guess I should read a good book, and watch the t.v. less (Is my soul prepared?) Should I complete the Old Testament, or Prayer of Jabez? (Is my soul prepared?) I hope I can last without it being a pain On Friday's no meat, but at least fish is okay I guess I should stop calling my sister bad names And it starts right this week, this time of forty days. When you fast don't act like all those Pharisees Rumpled hair, bruises on your hands and knees Instead wash yourself, put on a happy face And on the Feast of St Joseph you can take a break... Forty Days Well, Jesus He fasted thru the wilderness (Is my soul prepared?) With all the church offers, can we do no less? (Is my soul prepared?) There's a little black spot on your head today Is it dark, is it bold, or has it faded grey? I hope I can last without it being a pain On Friday's no meat, but at least fish is okay When I've completed this Lent, don't want to be the same As I am right this week, upon these forty days. Forty days... You'll always need forty days... Copyright (c) Nick Alexander Music 2006

Feast Day of St Thomas Aquinas

Today, January 28, is the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). He is the author of the Pange Lingua, which is one of the most beautiful chants in our Church Tradition. Meditate upon these lyrics today:
Latin text An English translation
Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
quem in mundi pretium
fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.
Nobis datus, nobis natus
ex intacta Virgine,
et in mundo conversatus,
sparso verbi semine,
sui moras incolatus
miro clausit ordine.
In supremae nocte coenae
recumbens cum fratribus
observata lege plene
cibis in legalibus,
cibum turbae duodenae
se dat suis manibus.
Verbum caro, panem verum
verbo carnem efficit:
fitque sanguis Christi merum,
et si sensus deficit,
ad firmandum cor sincerum
sola fides sufficit.
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.
Amen. Alleluja.
Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world's redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.
On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law's command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.
Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.
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.
Amen. Alleluia.

Story Behind the Song: Whispers From Heaven

Donna Lee writes:

My song, Whispers From Heaven has helped me in my own healing process. My daughter would have been 22 years old this year. Making the decision to have an abortion when I was 22 years old in 1986 changed my life forever. It is something that I have thought about every day of my life since then. In the beginning of my music ministry I was too afraid to talk about it when I gave my testimony about my return to the Catholic church. It was in Australia at a Marian conference that I was singing at in 1994 where I finally got the courage to talk about it. Ever since then it is hard for me not to share about because God's forgiveness, love and mercy is infinite. My story is too long to tell here. Some of you have heard it. I am such a fan of Divine Mercy and I speak and sing of it wherever I can. My personal journey of forgiveness has been a long one and although I have forgiven myself, and I know that God forgave me and my daughter too--I still can't help but think about what she may have looked like or the woman that should would have become and all the things I missed out on being a mom for the first time. Thank you Jesus for your mercy. You can listen to my song here in its entirity, since itunes only runs 30 seconds of it.

Story Behind the Song: God Almighty, Little Child

Gerard Faucheux writes:

A few years ago, during midnight mass in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a song was played that just kind of settled in my soul. I don't really remember the melody or the words - just the feeling. Something about the dark church and the sound of the guitar and gentle singing just created something that has never left. During one of my long commutes, ideas started coming, comparing the awesomeness of God with the frailty of a little baby and other paradoxes due to Jesus, the son of God, the 2nd person of the blessed trinity, coming to live as one of us, to die as one of us, to die for all of us. Why? For love of us. I still don't understand this love. Even on my best days, I don't deserve this love. Yet while we were sinners, he died for us. (Rom 5:8) Wow! Thank you, Jesus!

I was thrilled (and extremely nervous) to be able to play and sing this song in my home church, St. Joseph's in Paulina, Louisiana a few years ago. A dark church - midnight mass - the sound of guitar and (somewhat) gentle singing - I hope that someone else was touched and changed the way that I was years before.

God Almighty, Little Child Words and music by Gerard C. Faucheux, Sr. God Almighty, little child. King of Kings so meek and mild. Creator of the universe cradled in her arms to nurse. Why did You come? Why leave Your home? Why become a creature so low? You came because You loved, now let us love You. On Your birthday, Jesus, it’s time to recall That You humbled yourself to save one and all. So we sing Glory to God in the Highest And on Earth, peace to all. We lift our voice in Alleluias For You came to save us all, For You came to save us all. Earth creator, on Earth You dwell. Omnipresent, Emmanuel. Unbound by space, unbound by time. Confined by days and trapped by night. Equal to God, but You lived as man, I try, but I cannot understand. Your ways are high above the ways of man... Glory to God in the Highest And on Earth, peace to all. We lift our voice in Alleluias For You came to save us all, For You came to save us all. Copyright © 2005 Gerard C. Faucheux, Sr.

Story Behind the Song: Imagine

Imagine by Nancy Krebs Looking at a newborn baby, nestled in your arms; you can’t believe how perfect she is, you can’t believe her charms. Imagine that this child you hold would someday grow to be the Mother of your God, the Lord of you and me. That’s what happened long ago in a country far away. Two people watched their little girl at work, at home, at play. She always did her best, she did what she was told; a child so very perfect, they never had to scold. They never imagined, how could they imagine what her future was to be, the glories she would see. They never imagined, really imagined that all hope would begin with their child who was born without sin. As she was growing up, her kindness knew no bound The room just seemed to light up whenever she was around. There was no single virtue that she did not possess; there was no single sin that she would need to confess. When she was fully grown an angel came to her. Bringing her the message and the honor God would confer. She would be the Mother of the Son of God no less. The plan would unfold with her simple answer “yes”. She never imagined, how could she imagine? What her future was to be, the glories she would see. We never imagined, really imagined; our salvation would begin with this child who was born without sin. What a life she did begin this child who was born without sin.

Story Behind the Song: Wait With Me

Susan Bailey writes:

Wait with Me is based on readings from a book detailing the locutions received by Fr. Don Stefano Gobbi, the founder of the Marian Movement of Priests from the Blessed Mother. In these readings, Mary speaks about her waiting for the Christ Child to be born. I found these readings to be a wonderful way to reflect upon Advent, a beautiful season of joyful expectation that is so overshadowed by the noise and chaos of the commercial Christmas of the world. Written in the first person and arranged and performed in a simple and peaceful manner, you can imagine the Blessed Mother sharing her reflections with you on the coming of Christ Jesus as a baby into the world. This song is available on through iTunes, and is on two albums: Wait with Me: Advent of the Promised Son and Mater Dei. Visit my website to see how you can purchase the albums. You can listen to the song in its entirety here (or here for dial-up users).

Wait with Me based on #462, #484 and #508 of To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons by Don Stefano Gobbi Beloved child, enter in this mystery This blessed time as we wait for the Holy Son Come inside of my immaculate heart And wait with me, oh wait for Him to come! Come feel my sigh of expectation The spark of love, the moan of desire As I wait now in labor With a love that burns like fire The nightime comes and darkness swallows The fading light, the end of day And yet His light envelopes me In His ecstasy, His way Prepare your hearts now for this moment In quiet solitude and song And let the tranquil peace of soul Mark the passage of night to dawn

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