“Maker of galaxies, stardust, and all that has being”

A priest friend sent me this piece of masterful invective:

The Diocese of ____’s newly commissioned ANTHEM FOR THE YEAR OF FAITH.

Close your eyes. No, really close them. Now (okay, open your eyes and read this and THEN close them again) think of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Think of John Mason Neale. Think of Mozart!!

Now open your eyes and feast deeply of this carrion:

Maker of Galaxies
(sung to the tune of Praise to the Lord, the Almighty)

1.

Maker of galaxies, stardust, and all that has being,
open the eyes of our hearts to know faith’s way of seeing.
Shine through the night; lead us to radiance of light,
vision empow’ring and freeing.

2.
Jesus, of Mary born, bringing the good news astounding,
open the ears of our hearts to your Gospel resounding.
Hearing your voice, let all the people rejoice,
glad in your blessings abounding.

3.
Spirit of Jesus and mentor of saints through the ages,
open our lips with a word that invites and engages.
We will proclaim pardon and peace in Christ’s name
through all of life, all its stages.

4.
We are your fam’ly beloved in each generation,
Church on a pilgrimage, called to embrace transformation.
Called to this way, growing in love day by day,
we live now, Christ’s new creation.

5.
Praise for the joy of believing and journey amazing;
praise for the goodness and beauty here, ev’rywhere blazing!
Praise for the song, singing the faint-hearted strong;
praise for delight in the praising!

Text:
Delores Dufner, OSB, © 2012, Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict,
104 Chapel Lane, St. Joseph, MN 56374.
Commissioned for the Year of Faith by the Catholic Diocese of ___

Tune:
LOBE DEN HERREN, 14.14.4.7.8 (Praise to the Lord, the Almighty)

Sources:
2 Cor. 5:17; Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
______________________________

I’m glad they put the footnotes in. I would hate to think that had just been slapped together. You can’t put it past those Sisters of St Benedict of St Joseph’s Convent, MN. Christ’s Career Girls, manfully striding into the future, witnessing to justice, confronting oppressive structures of patriarchal, um, oppression, living eco-friendly lives of integral intersubjectivity. Literary scholars will note the subtle yet unmistakable influence of Maya Angelou in the soaring cadences, the overheated rhetoric, the sheer destitution of thought. I know why the caged organist weeps.

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38 Responses to “Maker of galaxies, stardust, and all that has being”

  1. David Collins says:

    I rather enjoyed it; then again, I don’t know anything about the Sisters of Saint Benedict. Still, as a poem, it is pretty good.

  2. PhilipNeri says:

    Been teaching modern poetry since I was 22. . .stanzas 2 and 5 aren’t bad.

    Properly understood, the theology seems OK, though its expression is what male religious call “Sister Speak”. . .engaged, transformation, mentor. I’d rather sing the text of the original hymn, of course.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  3. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    “Maker of galaxies, stardust, and all that has being,”

    I mean, God as creator of the universe is a nice image, but this just seems like confused physics and ontology…how does “all that has being” logically fit in a list of galaxies and stardust.

    “Spirit of Jesus and mentor of saints through the ages,”

    Based on it being stanza three, and the first two being about the Creator and Jesus respectively, I assume this is mean to be about the Holy Spirit, though the words are never mentioned. In which case, it sounds odd to refer to Him as “Spirit of Jesus,” not to mention possibly theologically incorrect? Also, it just seems to have an odd un-parallel structure to the line.

    As PhilipNeri said though, 2 and 5 are good…

  4. Ellen says:

    We have an excellent organist and a pretty good choir. Last night they sang three of the most banal hymns in the book, so my sensibilities are still kind of tender. This is…..meh. It’s not offensive, but it isn’t very memorable.

  5. dnicoll says:

    Doesn’t make me ill, like virtually everything in the awful ‘songbook’ we have at our Parish. But doesn’t enhance the glory and grandeur and majesty of the Mass either. Eminently forgettable.

  6. thereseb says:

    Open the eyes of our hearts.

    Good grief

  7. Clemens Romanus says:

    Unfortunately, since this is from my Diocese, I’m subjected to it every Sunday. I’d go to the FSSPpsrish, but my wife only likes to go once a month.

  8. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Am surprised previous posters are defending this.
    I definitely would find it irritating if prayed in my own diocese, especially if repeated often.

    Am not enough of a literary scholar to quite put my finger on what is so annoying about it. The meter seems rather childish and treacly. Sort of e. e. cummings meets Dr. Seuss.

    Plus, it does use quite a few of the “Sister Speak” buzzwords which I would ban from all hymnals via episcopal bull if ever given half the opportunity :-) To wit:

    – transformation
    – empowering
    – freeing
    – journey (or journeying, which is even worse since this is not a verb)
    – invite

    On the grounds of diction alone, it should be banished to the dustbin of liturgical history.

  9. James Joseph says:

    Father,

    This is a joke right? I mean, this is like one of those ‘Onion’ news stories? If it is really an anthem then I imagine it is rightly treated like a toddler’s crayon scribblings magneted to the refridgerator door.

  10. VexillaRegis says:

    The words and the music clash rather brutally. The hymn tune is very staunch and rythmically precise, while the new text is vague and somewhat banal. This is like installing a red 80’s Mazda door into a T-Ford; a terribly bad match!

  11. Frank H says:

    I wonder why this diocese felt compelled to commission a Year of Faith hymn, when, on their own website, they display the Year of Faith hymn as set forth by the Vatican, which I find much more, well, faithful…

    http://www.cathdal.org/pages/YearOfFaithHymn

  12. Christopher says:

    A few oppositions to the poem:

    1: Stanza one renders God the Father as effeminate. Unambigously referring as Maker, especially when it is sung to Praise to the Lord Almighty.

    2: ‘Of galaxies, stardust, and all that has being.’ Seems to be forced, there is very little relation between the three entities when addressing the sum of creation. Grammatically it is rather vague, this is due to the placement of all that has being after galaxies and stardust. Does this imply that galaxies and stardust are just a few that has this ‘being’? Note that in the first Stanza, there is no uniqueness of man within the praise of creation. That man and nature are bound, that the creation of man in the likeness of God is absent.

    3. Eyes of the heart should be more scriptural, and a reference to Door should replace the Eyes.

    4. Giueseppe correctly mentions that the third Stanza should logically refer to the Holy Ghost. ‘Spirit of Jesus’ seems problematic.

    5. Contrary to popular opinion in this commentary, Stanza 5 is absolutely terrible. Praise for the delight in praising? Praise for the beauty and goodness here, everywhere blazing?

    Anyway, these are a few thoughts that were quickly written down in the comment box.

    God Bless,

    Christopher.

  13. disco says:

    I think what bothers me most about this is that it was “commissioned”. At a time when churches are being closed for lack of funding, donations should not be wasted on wreckovation and bad music.

  14. rcg says:

    You made me gag on Mystic Monk Cowboy Blend. Waste is a venal sin.

  15. Bruce says:

    “living eco-friendly lives of integral intersubjectivity”
    LOL!
    My coffee almost came out my nose.

  16. poohbear says:

    Stardust? Is she confused with the theme song from Peter Pan?

  17. wanda says:

    Last line is the best. L almost OL.

  18. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Surely this

    We will proclaim pardon and peace in Christ’s name
    through all of life, all its stages.

    is a call to penitence, and a firm defense of the pro-life cause….. right?

  19. Elodie says:

    Not the worst I’ve encountered. But ‘stardust’ makes me think of ‘Ziggy Stardust’. I hate it when pop songs are stuck in my brain when I’m at Mass. And going through my mind right now is, ‘So where were the spiders ….’ Good grief!

  20. ocds says:

    So many beautiful hymns that are rarely used anymore, and they had to “commission” this dreck? I fear that means someone got paid to write it. *bleh*

  21. Imrahil says:

    Powerful tune, appropriate rhymes and metra, orthodox theology.

    Nuff said.

    Sister speak? Yes, to a degree. But no problem with it; in case we are allowed to sing old or new songs too without it.

    And: “praise for the delight in praising” is (perhaps unknowingly) a quote of the forefather of German sacropop [neutral word]: “Danke, o Herr ich will Dir danken, daß ich danken kann”.

  22. majuscule says:

    I want to change my user name to Caged Organist Weeps, but I’m not a musician….

  23. gracie says:

    It sounds a lot like “Good Morning Starshine” (1969)

    “Good morning starshine, the earth says hello
    You twinkle above us
    We twinkle below

    Good morning starshine, You lead us along
    My love and me as we sing
    Our early morning singing song

    Glibby gloop gloopy Nibby Nabby Noopy La La La Lo Lo
    Sabba Sibby Sabba Nooby abba Nabba Le Le Lo Lo
    Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba
    Early morning singing song . . .”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVNy1Miw18Y

  24. wmeyer says:

    Free associating, the words which come to mind are: schmaltz, kitsch, dreck, banal….

    Oh dear Lord, I give thanks that the parishes in which I have lived have not created such as this.

  25. wmeyer says:

    gracie: “Hair” made no claim to being liturgical music. And it was the product of a very silly period. As such, it doesn’t merit the condemnation I would give this “hymn”. With a hymnal overrun with the likes of Haugen, Haas, Schutte, et al., do we really need further insult to our senses?

  26. acardnal says:

    Boring. If parishioners are going to recite this every Sunday for a year they will probably lose their faith not renew it!

  27. VexillaRegis says:

    @majuscule: Organists are not easily caged and we only weep when the priest sings off key ;-)

  28. Jacqueline Y. says:

    Ugh. This will probably show up in the next annual edition of the OCP disposable hymn book. That means we will be forced to hear/sing it at our parish. “Maker of Galaxies” is every bit as annoying as the same author’s “Sing a New Church into Being”. Why must they take lovely hymn tunes and put dreadful words to them? “Vision empowr’ing and freeing … a word that invites and engages … called to embrace transformation”? That’s an insult to poetry and liturgy.

  29. Jacqueline Y. says:

    The “stardust” line makes me think of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” song:

    “We are stardust.
    We are golden.
    And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”

    Groovy!

  30. Bryan Boyle says:

    wmeyer: banal. Plain and simple.

    Yeah, I’m sure the terrorists oops liturgists at OCP and GIA are salivating at putting this in next year’s fishwrapper toss-away missalettes. Why or why must we be subjected to this dreck year after year? Never let a good special year of some article of faith go to waste (anyone remember the excreable ‘Millenium Hymn’ from 11 years ago? Thought not….)

  31. gracie says:

    Oh my gosh! I have no idea why the Youtube video I posted showed up the way it did. Normally, when I copy and paste from Youtube, it just shows up as a single line you can click onto to take you to the video. Why this video showed up in all its glory is mystifying and sorry for it because it’s intrusive on this blog.

  32. deliberatejoy says:

    Galaxies? *Stardust*?? Really? Really???

    I am aghast, and know not what to say.

    That being said, I’m having the urge to write an orthodox and properly traditional version now…

  33. Luvadoxi says:

    I’m hearing loud boiling test tubes. :::gag::::

  34. mike cliffson says:

    Praising our creator?
    Been there, done that:
    I do not recall singing this gregorian/plain chant , but we must have, about 50 years back..
    Similarly, a more flowing vernancular version might exist.There’s some I like, but you wouldn’t
    For the which, Does any commissioned Catholic wordsmith ever do as the architect Gaudi did (you may dislike the results, but he DID) Pray novenas and fast and keep vigils BEFORE getting down to work?
    youtube mozarabic (second half)
    http://youtu.be/Mh_vXC_GYX4
    BENEDICITE, omnia opera Domini, Domino; laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula. BLESS the Lord, all ye works of the Lord, praise and exalt Him above all forever.
    BENEDICITE, caeli, Domino, benedicite, angeli Domini, Domino. BLESS the Lord all ye heavens; bless the Lord all ye angels of the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, aquae omnes, quae super caelos sunt, Domino, benedicat omnis virtutis Domino. BLESS the Lord all ye waters that are above the heavens; let all powers bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, sol et luna, Domino, benedicite, stellae caeli, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye sun and moon; stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, omnis imber et ros, Domino, benedicite, omnes venti, Domino. BLESS the Lord, every shower and dew. All ye winds, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, ignis et aestus, Domino, benedicite, frigus et aestus, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye fire and heat; cold and chill, bless ye the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, rores et pruina, Domino, benedicite, gelu et frigus, Domino. BLESS the Lord, dews and hoar frosts; frost and cold, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, glacies et nives, Domino, benedicite, noctes et dies, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ice and snow; nights and days, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, lux et tenebrae, Domino, benedicite, fulgura et nubes, Domino. BLESS the Lord, light and darkness; lightning and clouds, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICAT terra Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in saecula. LET the earth bless the Lord; let it praise and exalt Him above all forever.
    BENEDICITE, montes et colles, Domino, benedicite, universa germinantia in terra, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye mountains and hills; everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, maria et flumina, Domino, benedicite, fontes, Domino. BLESS the Lord, seas and rivers; fountains, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, cete, et omnia, quae moventur in aquis, Domino, benedicite, omnes volucres caeli, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye whales and all that move in the waters; all you fowls of the air, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, omnes bestiae et pecora, Domino, benedicite, filii hominum, Domino. BLESS the Lord, all ye beasts and cattle; sons of men, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, Israel, Domino, laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula. BLESS the Lord, Israel,; praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
    BENEDICITE, sacerdotes Domini, Domino, benedicite, servi Domini, Domino. BLESS the Lord, priests of the Lord, servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, spiritus et animae iustorum, Domino, benedicite, sancti et humiles corde, Domino. BLESS the Lord, spirits and souls of the just; holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
    BENEDICITE, Anania, Azaria, Misael, Domino, laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula. BLESS the Lord, Ananias, Azaria, and Misael; praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
    BENEDICAMUS Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu; laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula. LET us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Spirit; let us praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
    BENEDICTUS es in firmamento caeli et laudabilis et gloriosus in saecula.
    Amen. BLESSED art Thou, Lord, in the firmament of heaven; and worthy of praise, and glorious above all for ever.
    Amen.

  35. Katheryn says:

    Is stardust *actually* a thing? Does it even have being? If not, the whole premis of the song is false.

    It actually reminded me of “starlight express”

    I love the original hymn, there have been so many desecrations of that beautiful tune.

  36. jeffreyquick says:

    Kathleen Pluth it ain’t. And it should have been.

  37. Hans says:

    Eh. I’ve seen worse, but I’m not suggesting it to our music director.

    Mostly it just seems thrown together.

    Katheryn, stardust is basically anything that comes out of a star, but especially the products of [super]novas. It’s rather metaphoric and poetic. The first phrase has ‘one with the universe’ feel to it: galaxies=>stardust=>us.

    For what it’s worth, “the eyes of our hearts” is a rephrasing in the first person plural of Ephesians 1:18, “illuminatos oculos cordis vestri”. If you don’t like the notion of hearts having eyes, complain to St. Paul.

  38. Jordanes says:

    Scrolled down to the credits, saw the name “Delores Dufner.” That’s really all you need to know. I’ve seen her name attached to several retch-inducing numbers in the Breaking Bread “hymnal.”

    And by the way, I don’t care what anybody else thinks, but the hymn that Ms. Dufner butchered is “Praise YE the Lord, the Almighty,” not “Praise TO the Lord . . .” Grrr.