RCIA 596: Hymns in the Style of the New Testament

img_6803These two examples are probably mostly ignored by composers. These New Testament hymns are 1 Peter 1:3-5 and a second based on 1 Timothy 3:16.

Praised be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
a God so merciful and kind!
He has given us a new birth, a living hope,
by raising Jesus his Son from death.
Salvation is our undying inheritance,
preserved for us in heaven,
salvation at the end of time.

For contrast, check the RNAB text online here.

Number two:

How great the sign of God’s love for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord:
promised before all time began,
revealed in these last days.
He lived and suffered and died for us,
but the Spirit raised him to life.
People everywhere have heard his message
and placed their faith in him.
What wonderful blessings he gives his people,
living in the Father’s glory,
he fills all creation
and guides it to perfection.

I set some of this text twenty-five years ago for an infant initiation. I don’t think I was successful. Compare this expansion with the actual passage from 1 Timothy.

I think the problem with these texts as given is that they don’t even allow an easy rendering into chant, especially in contrast to the Grail translations of the evening prayer canticles. And are two texts adequate? I would have hoped for Ephesians 1:3-10, and probably Colossians 1:15-20, if not more poetic renderings of the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12. And if we’re going to expand a hymn fragment, why not Ephesians 5:14?

My criticism of this section: lazy and woefully incomplete, assuming that such canticles are a priority for the initiation rites. And I think they should be.

Any musicians out there with any success on these?

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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.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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