Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lift High the Cross

Courtesy of The Cafeteria:

If you look closely you can see what passes for a crucifix in the diocese of Linz, Austria. I wasn't there, but twenty bucks says they were belting out the Austrian version of Sing Out, Earth and Skies.


Mallahan Family said...

Tom - You love Marty Haugen's song "Sing Out, Earth and Skies" so much so that you are willing yo bet $20? Our money is on the timeless classic "On Eagles Wings"

Well we were going to suggest you join the "Society for a Moratorium on the Music of
Marty Haugen and David Haas" Oh wait... Imagine our surprise when we saw that you are already a proud member! Ha!

Tom Herring said...


Yes, I joined as soon as I found their website. :)

Jimmy Akin is a proud member as well.

Did you ever hear my dad's lyrics to "On Eagles Wings"?

He started to come up with some of his own:

And they will draaaag you down, with baaaat-like wings!
Your eyes will burn, and your throat will scream!

I don't remember the rest of it but I always get a good chuckle out of that part.


Seminarian said...

How about "Put On Chriiiiiist.... Put On Chriiiiiiiiist." Pretty bad. But the worst two by far are still "I danced in the Morning, (lord of the dance)" and "Shine Jesus Shine." Nothing worse. Nothing. (Tome... did you see the comment I left a few posts ago?"

Tom Herring said...

*music and bongos*

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body & they thought I'd gone
But I am the Dance & I still go on!

Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
(...lead you all in the Dance, said He!)

Anonymous said...

I used to love that song "On Eagles Wings". If you listen to the lyrics with your heart it has spiritual meaning. It lifted my soul when I comtemplated that God was like the eagle who carried me. Ex.19:4 "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself."

Isaiah 40:27-31
27 "Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God"? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Go ahead and mock the song but you are the one who is missing out on the meaning of the song. God lifted my soul out of darkness and His strength is powerful. Read those OT passages is contemplate the meaning for your own soul's sake. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I admit, I like On Eagles Wings... at least the part thats taken from the Scriptures, but what does "Bare you on the breath of dawn even mean??"

Anonymous said...

oops... quote marks in the wrong place... sorry. I think you get what I meant though.

And I just had another thought... The fourth verse is actually quoting Satan... Matthew Chapter 4 I think... the temptation of Christ.

Anonymous said...

To the other anonymous said what does "bear you on the breath of dawn" mean. I have no clue :) Maybe that God knew us before He created the heavens and the earth?

No, Satan was quoting Scripture.

Anonymous said...

You mean the Devil AND Marty Haugen (and any other Church musician) can both Quote Scripture?...;) that was a winky smiley face...

Honestly though, I actually do like on Eagles Wings, but not a lot of the other songs like this (it was actually Michael Joncas that wrote Eagles wings).

Tom Herring said...


Yes, some of the lyrics from "On Eagles Wings" are taken from Scripture. Thus, one might argue it qualifies as having a sacred text, and therefore fitting for Holy Mass.

I would disagree, however. The Second Vatican Council has given us clear instructions on what constitutes sacred music.

In addition to a sacred text, the music itself must possess three qualities: holiness (not simply popular music with a sacred text) and artistry (Musicam sacram §4a), and universality (Tra le sollecitudini §8).

I would submit that "On Eagles Wings" falls short at least with regard to holiness (your own experience of "lifted soul" notwithstanding), and probably with regard to having a sacred text ("...Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun...").

When held next to Gregorian Chant, or other traditional Catholic hymns like "Come Holy Ghost" and "Immaculate Mary" there can be no comparison.

"On Eagles Wings" is rather bland, inane and almost corny. If you happen to find it spiritually uplifting, that's fine. Play it to your heart's content at home. But please, don't thrust it into the Sacred Mysteries -- where it simply does not belong.

If you like, you can read more about Vatican II's instruction on sacred music here: