Tuesday, March 14, 2006

339 Make a joyful noise

Last week for Thursday Thirteen at Collecting my thoughts I wrote about 13 things I like about singing in the choir. What surprised me were the warm responses the readers posted about singing in church choirs when they were young and how they miss it. Today I came across an article in Catholic Online where the writer, Mary Regina Morrell, tells about looking through an old children’s hymnal published in 1895--over 110 years ago.

“Flipping it open I came upon the Editors’ Preface. It read, in part: “In a Hymnal intended especially for the use of young people, the brightness and happiness of youth should find full expression; hence . . . the Editors have been selected only those hymns and tunes which they know, from personal experience, to be thoroughly singable, enjoyable, inspiring, and worthy to be cherished in the hearts and memories of children.”

The last phrase stuck out: “worthy to be cherished in the hearts and memories of children.” Thinking back to the media and the proliferation of baseness to which our children are subjected, I reflected on how wonderful it would be if our culture and our adults had as much concern for the welfare of our children.”

How different she says, are the images our media presents to children: the American idols of fame, money, power, perfection, and having the competitive edge.

She summarizes as she finds an old favorite: “One of my favorite hymns, “When Morning Gilds the Skies,” included these soothing words: Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find, May Jesus Christ be praised: Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this, May Jesus Christ be praised. The night becomes as day, When from the heart we say, May Jesus Christ be praised: The powers of darkness fear, When this sweet chant they hear, may Jesus Christ be praised.”

When, as adults, we regain the wisdom of replacing our American idols with prayer and praise of the One who loves us most, then perhaps we can begin the healing process for our children by leading them to Christ.”

Obviously, things weren't perfect for families and children in the 1890s. Children were exposed to many horrible realities then also. But in any era, children deserve beautiful, sound hymnody to help shut out the noise of the world.

2 comments:

Darlene said...

That last paragraph summed it up so well. ;)

Moonshadow said...

I just read Mrs. Morrell's article in my diocesan newspaper ... the newspaper arrived almost a week late! That happens sometimes.

Lovely web site ... you have a gentle spirit.