Snacking On The Word: Acts 3:6a

The Gospel reading at Mass today is a rich one, but I couldn’t get past Peter’s response to the beggar at the Temple gate in the first reading:

I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you …

Peter’s gift to the beggar was more valuable, one might say, than precious metal. He was the means by which the Name of Jesus effected a healing. Pretty noticeable and significant.

For most of the rest of us, we certainly do not have something as rich as gold or as spectacular as a healing. When we approach others in ministry, in service, or even in love, do we echo Peter even though we know a miracle isn’t forthcoming? Are we satisfied or ashamed to offer very little and leave it at that?

The first St Louis Jesuits’ recording borrowed from Acts 3:6 for the title, Neither Silver Nor Gold. For young priests and seminarians, that Scripture, if sincerely applied, shows a realistic view of their first compositions. The intent of any contemporary composer (and I speak from my own attitude and experience here) is to offer what we do have to give. Most of us don’t make a significant income from writing music. Many of us have responded to needs, as did the Jesuits, and wrote without an expectation of shoving aside others more talented or more able.

A few, maybe some, will find a small portion of grace in this. When this happens, do as Peter did: point to Christ.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Snacking On The Word: Acts 3:6a

  1. Oh Todd, what a lonely little post with no comments….mulled it over a couple of times….I also being no stranger to random, unfettered and free-flowing (read “incoherent” to those who think like Jeffrey Tucker) expressive moments.
    I have long been at peace with my own personal decision to not chase the paper tiger in Catholic music publishing. (Actually I have had stuff pub’d by Resource and arrangements by OCP, as recently as ’07) But between watching the comings and goings of the “new voices” for over 30 decades, some of those ironically in the SLJ themselves, I have self-subscribed to what I call “The Bach Doctrine,” that is to say, I serve the Church local. When the muse sees a composition from concept to product, it is heard in my parish. Now, over these decades some of my stuff has been found far afield, but never have I: 1. been notified of intent to use; 2. paid a penny for usage of copyrighted, published items; and 3. given a rat’s patootie about the former 2.
    Mind you, I have plenty of confidence in my “catalog” that I think would stand as tall or taller than much of what is found in the disposables. And I have made a couple of meager efforts to attract BIG attention. But I never have wondered “what if?” about Lit.Industrial.C’plex regrets. I tend to the staff line vines of wonderful parishes-that’s what I DO.
    Besides, I have friends in the biz, who when “picked up” by one of the two giants (you do the math as to which one nearest my locale) go through the mill, are repackaged, shipped, marketed, and demo’d, and when they return home, hold their heads in the hands and wonder if it was really worth it all.
    I dunno if you share this sentiment- I believe that the publishing monopoly model is a dinosaur that needs extinction. I do believe that we willingly let ourselves latch onto the ample bosom of consumerist intent during the formative years of the textual and musical shifts towards the vernacular and the post-folky era that SILVER AND GOLD watermarked. But our leaders abrogated their duty to prepare themselves, we who support their liturgical duties, and the PIPs, to properly guide our rituals solemnly. And we never were weaned from needing the “mother’s milk” which was no longer coming from, ahem, natural sources and was to be found in the aisles and display corners of conventions, or (in time) slick CD’s with some decent production values that just asked the listener to elicit the response “That’s cool, I want that!”
    Attention needs to be paid to what’s happening over at Jeffrey’s CMAA fori, or at Penkala’s CanticaNova. The very embodiment of “freely responding to needs for no compensation” is to be found there in spades.
    I like Dan Schutte as both person and composer. I’m sure that I’d find Matt Maher charming. But, I sure a heck would not go back and make the decision to embrace their chase. One aspect of that I don’t think you touched upon is that when an artist chooses to go on the chase, there is a built-in demand that said artist will have to re-invent him/herself on a fairly regular curve.
    Nothing necessarily wrong with that; I just think some of us need to be present with our parish communities for long stretches of time to represent that which is constant and consistent.
    Have a great Divine Mercy Sunday.
    Ironically, we’re taking it off to fly to Portland (gasp) because a high school choir up there deigned to prepare a huge (4-12 part divisi) setting of “Anima Christi” that came to me last summer. The whole idea that something I penned was taken up “elsewhere” without my direct association was a new experience for me, and it also was “cool.”

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