Thursday, December 27, 2007

PC Christmas Carols and an interesting Vigil Mass

Full disclaimer:

The Vigil Mass I attended at my favorite chapel in Boston was glorious. I'm glad I went and wouldn't have chosen otherwise. That said:

The music was...something else.

I really didn't think I needed a hymnal to join in the Christmas songs before Mass. Wrong! The lyrics seem to have changed.

From "O Little Town of Bethlehem:" we did not sing "...and praises sing to God our King and peace to men on earth."

But rather "and praises sing to God our King and peace to all on earth."

(A similar, if I recall correctly, sillyism was repeated in "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.")

As for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"...well...

"Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel!"

"Pleased as one with one to dwell..." ("as one with one to dwell????)

And, during "Joy to the World" we did not proclaim "let men their song employ..." No, we sang something like "let all of us our songs employ" (which didn't do a whole lot for the rhythm of the song).

Still, this was just the prelude so I didn't really mind that much.

But what we did to the "Gloria"!

Someone got the notion of scoring the Gloria—which is a very cool part of the Mass of Christmas, not having heard or sung it for the last four Sundays for Pete's sake—to follow the melody of "Angels We Have Heard on High." The choir sang, for starters:

"Glory to-oo Go-ah-od, i-in the-uh highest"

Following which the congregation was expected to respond—and gamely enough, we did—

"Gloria in excelsis Deo" (a la the above-mentioned carol).

Well, this went on until the end. The problem was, the real "Gloria's" words didn't "fit" with the new score. Result? It abruptly ended with the words "You alone are the most high, Jesus Christ."

Feeling rather helpless but determined, I mumbled the words "with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen" for which I received a nod of thanks from my fellow pew sitters.

Again, the Mass was glorious. Because God was in charge! And He doesn't need, nor does He expect, perfection from us in our adoration.

But couldn't we at least try a little bit to remember that it is is our privilege to do our very best for Him, and not worry so much about glorifying ourselves?