Monday, June 9, 2008

The Harp of the Holy Spirit

Happy St. Ephrem the Syrian Day!

Most of the time, I'd say our mental image of folks who live in caves and preach a lot probably isn't all that great. Considering guys like Ephrem, we should probably give them the benefit of the doubt. He was a deacon who lived during the 4th century and is now heralded as a great saint, Church Father, and Doctor of the Church.

You can read Pope Benedict XVI's thoughts on him here. For Benedict XV's encyclical granting him the title of Doctor of the Church, go here.

To me, the big deal about Ephrem is his use of music and poetry to teach the Faith and annihilate heresy. Contrast this with the use of music in worship these days, which is basically to play on people's emotions and make them feel all warm and fuzzy. Not to mention giving the opportunity to sing banal, vacuous lyrics over, and over, and over, and over .. . .

Compare this:

On a certain day a pearl did I take up, my brethren;
I saw in it mysteries pertaining to the Kingdom;
Semblances and types of the Majesty;
It became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the Son.
I put it, my brethren, upon the palm of my hand,
That I might examine it:
I went to look at it on one side,
And it proved faces on all sides.
I found out that the Son was incomprehensible,
Since He is wholly Light.
In its brightness I beheld the Bright One Who cannot be clouded,
And in its pureness a great mystery,
Even the Body of Our Lord which is well-refined:
In its undivideness I saw the Truth
Which is undivided.
It was so that I saw there its pure conception,
The Church, and the Son within her.
The cloud was the likeness of her that bare Him,
And her type the heaven,
Since there shone forth from her His gracious Shining.
I saw therein his Trophies, and His victories, and His crowns.
I saw His helpful and overflowing graces,
And His hidden things with His revealed things.

To this:

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With Wisdom, Power, and Love
Our God is an awesome God (repeat 300x)

Yeah. Doesn't really have quite the same effect.

St. Ephrem the Syrian, pray for us!


Philip said...

Our God is an Awesome God? I thought that you could at least come up with a Haugen or Haas tune.

I give you Anthem by Top Conry.

"We are called, we are chosen.
We are Christ for one another. ...
We are harvest, we are hunger.
We are question, we are creed."

We are question, we are creed? What the heck does that mean?

Philip said...

"Tom" Conry, not Top.

Throwback said...

My roommate at ND loved that song. It was one of the half dozen or so reasons why I stop going to dorm Mass.