Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Yahweh I Know You Are Near

Last Sunday, Trinity Sunday, was a great day and I wish that I could have written about it sooner. Basically, I cried on the way to the altar to receive Communion. If you pair the Eucharist with the right song, I'm pretty much bawling every time. I can't help it. I think that's why good, liturgical music is so important. It can truly enhance your experience of the Mass and of our Lord's presence there, if you just do it right.

What was interesting is that the song was one that usually doesn't inspire me a great deal. Here are the lyrics:
  • You Are Near
    Music and Lyric by Dan Schutte S.J.

    Yahweh I know You are near
    Standing always by my side
    You guard me from the foe
    And you lead me in ways everlasting

    1. Lord you have searched my heart
      And You know when I sit and when I stand
      Your hand is upon me
      Protecting me from death
      Keeping me from harm
    2. Where can I run from Your love
      It I climb to the heavens You are there
      If I fly to the sunrise
      Or sail beyond the sea
      You would still be there
    3. You know my heart and its ways
      You who formed me before I was born
      In the secret of darkness
      Before I saw the sun
      In my mother’s womb
    4. Marvelous to me are Your works
      How profound are Your thoughts my Lord
      Even if I could count them
      They number as the stars
      You would still be there
I know, I know, it's a Haugen-Haas type of song, but for some reason it really touched me. As I've experienced more High Masses and more traditional styles of liturgical music, I've grown to not like songs like "You Are Near" very much. But, I also grew up with these songs and I used to love them a great deal. As a kid, I liked the melody and they were easy for me to sing. So, sometimes hearing them becomes a nostalgic experience for me and they speak to me like they used to.

But, I think it's more than that. I think, at that moment, I really needed to know that God was near. Read the words of the song. These are words that you pray on your knees, through tears, overwhelmed by God's presence and the knowledge that you need him so desperately. At least, that is the image that comes to my mind when I read them.

I KNOW you are near! It is something that I have to exclaim to myself in order to really believe it. You are NEAR!! I KNOW you are!! Praise God that he knows when I sit and when I stand. "Lord you have searched by heart...you know my heart and its ways." I say this a lot when I am having trouble praying, or having trouble saying what I feel. Lord, you know what I need before I even ask for it (cf. Mt 6:8). When I am struggling with prayer, it helps me to know that he already knows what I need, and that I have only to make that act of faith and pray the best I can.

I was thinking of all of these things while in line for Communion. But, the predominant thought was of my sinfulness. Of course, I was not in a state of mortal sin, but habits still remain in me that have been very difficult for me to break. For some reason, that song made me aware of the utter gratuity of God's gift in the Most Holy Eucharist. No one deserves to receive the Real Presence of Christ, and I am chief among the undeserving. It was just so overwhelming to realize that He wanted to give Himself to me anyway.

So, yea, props to Dan Schutte S.J. for helping me to experience the love of the Blessed Trinity on Trinity Sunday. I am very thankful that God is still able to work through his music.

Pax Christi,


Lindsay said...

I understand exactly what you mean about liking some Haugen-Haas type songs. One of my favorites is "Christ, Be Our Light," though I've become more of an "All Creatures of Our God and King"/"Salve Regina" girl over time.

Anonymous said...

I too don't like the Haughen Hass music but there are some Schutte songs that are truely inspired and appropriate for the moment. I have a hunch that some of his music will remain for a long time.

janiemb73 said...

I first heard this at my Father-in-Law's funeral - made me cry then and makes me cry still. Sometimes we do it at Church but it's hard to lead worship when you've got tears streaming down your face....

Many Blessings

Anonymous said...

You know I love the song Dan Schutte wrote. What I don't agree with is the churches position on removing Yaweh from the lyrics.

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