Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So, what is missing from this hymn?

We sang a hymn called "As We Gather at Your Table" this morning at Mass set to the beautiful tune Nettleton. The words, though not heretical (although what exactly IS the sacrament of life?), miss something crucial when talking about Mass. If you have an idea about what is missing, leave a comment. Tomorrow I will discuss it at some length, because I've run across this problem many times and I think it is symptomatic of a profound lack of catechesis concerning the Mass. Here are the lyrics:
As we gather at your Table,
As we listen to your Word,
Help us know, O God, your presence:
Let our hearts and minds be stirred.
Nourish us with sacred story
Till we claim it as our own;
Teach us through this holy banquet
How to make Love's victory known.

Turn our worship into witness
In the sacrament of life;
Send us forth to love and serve you,
Bringing peace where there is strife.
Give us, Christ, your great compassion
To forgive as you forgave;
May we still behold your image
In the world you died to save.

Gracious Spirit, help us summon
Other guests to share that feast
Where triumphant Love will welcome
Those who had been last and least.
There no more will envy blind us
Nor will pride our peace destroy,
As we join with saints and angels
To repeat the sounding joy.


Joe said...

There is no mention of receiving Christ's True Body and Blood in the Hymn. A baptist could just as easily sing the hymn and think of the Eucharist as a mere memorial.

Jeff Vehige said...

1. Ditto Joe.

2. There's also no mention of the sacrificial aspect of the Mass.

3. "Sacrament of life" -- I would take that to mean something along the lines of what Jean-Pierre Caussade (sp?) speaks of in "Abandonment to Divine Providence." Of course, I've been accused of being too generous in my interpretations.

Joe said...


The good news is that Pope Benedict XVI is at work fixing this problem. Really, he is the right man for the job at this time. I expect that within a generation you all will not have to deal with this kind of ambiguity in the Liturgy.