Keep In Mind

It might have been two decades ago that I saw “Memorial Acclamation E” printed in a missalette:

Keep in mind
that Jesus Christ has died for us
and is risen from the dead.
He is our saving Lord,
he is joy for all ages.

I’ve not seen it presented in print amidst the Eucharistic Prayers since, but I know the occasional priest or musician still uses it. The debate about “unapproved” acclamations is not the point of this post. I’m more interested in the genesis of the idea. And also your comments on why this antiphon has probably had the longest staying power of all the “unapproved” memorial acclamations.

The text of the verses are based on 2 Timothy 2:8-12, a portion of which Scripture scholars think is a quoted ancient hymn by the epistle author.

I remember the 1965 piece from my pre-Catholic days, singing along with a Lucien Deiss vinyl record being played over the classroom loudspeaker. Even then,  I was struck by the use of half notes to draw out the last word, “ages.”

I like the piece well enough. It adapts well to piano or guitar ensemble from organ. I think the different melody for verses 1-2 and 3-6 is slightly distracting. But I like the brevity of the verses and the emphasis on the antiphon. And about that antiphon, it uses the third-person address of God, like “Christ Has Died.” Without getting too particular about the text, I’m a doubter on the notion of singing as if we’re preaching to ourselves. Or the composer is catechizing us. I prefer the second-person direct address of God. But variety is also a good thing, if handled well.

This piece of music would be a clear example of a closeness to the pre-conciliar plainsong tradition. The music, while unmetered, does have an easy pulse. Congregations would recognize it having a regular rhythm, perhaps in one if not three, shifting to something of a march for the verses.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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12 Responses to Keep In Mind

  1. Mollie says:

    I’ve always been annoyed by “Keep in mind” — even before I became aware that it wasn’t an approved text — because the phrase “keep in mind” seems so jarringly conversational. It sounds like it’s introducing something parenthetical, rather than a basic, fundamental truth of the faith.

    It makes me think of one of those pads of sticky notes labeled “Just a reminder!” or “Don’t forget!” Or a note at the bottom of the parish bulletin: “Keep in mind, offering envelopes for flowers are due the Wednesday before Mother’s Day.” Keep in mind: Christ has died and is risen!

  2. Andy says:

    I would argue that the text is problematic in the same way the text of our official Memorial Acclamation D is problematic:

    It is completely lacking in eschatology. The Mystery of Faith as proclaimed during the Mass is an affirmation that this celebration is the same that Christ offered at the Last Supper and on Good Friday, and will be the same until the last days. This is why, in the current lame-duck translation, I prefer Memorial Acclamation C: When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.

    Of course, Memorial Acclamation C also lacks reference to the resurrection, which is problematic in itself.

    The newer translation corrects these issues in the Memorial Acclamation.

  3. Bruce in Kansas says:

    It’s a goofy, if groovy, response.

    As I understand it, there are only three acclamations in the Roman Missal as options. And the canons give the first option, indicating its priority, while mentioning there are other options.

    Even the first option, however, is not properly reflected in the present ICEL translation. Latin: “Mortem tuam annuntiamus. Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias.” English: “We proclaim Your death, O Lord, and confess Your resurrection, until You come.”

    The current most used (but hardly most popular)is: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” But this obfuscates that we are directing the acclamation to Christ (YOUR death, YOUR resurrection, until YOU come again). This is the only point in the Mass where a prayer is so clearly directed to the Son.

    Acclamation 2 in Latin: “Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc et calicem bibimus, mortem tuam annuntiamus. Domine, donec venias.” English: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim Your death, Lord Jesus, until You come in glory” is a good translation, although `Jesus’ and `in glory’ are added.

    Acclamation 3 in Latin: “Salvator mundi, salva nos, qui per crucem et resurrectionem tuam liberasti nos.” English: “Lord, by Your cross and resurrection You have set us free. You are the savior of the world.” This is very close to the original, but the main verb and its object have disappeared (Save us). So an earnest plea (Savior of the World, save us! By Your cross and resurrection You have set us free.) becomes merely a statement of fact.

    So what? Well, I’m not trying to be more Catholic than the bishops, but it does show the current ICEL edition has mistranslated and changed this part of the Mass. The multiplication of options is not renewal, it’s revolution. The liturgical debate of recent years has begun to reveal ­there is a serious split within the Church over important issues of belief.

    Such splits are not new, as history shows. The thousands of Protestant denominations are evidence that fragmentation begets fragmentation. What is unusual about the present struggle now in Catholic liturgy is the seeds of dissent were not sown by some charismatic individual on the periphery of the Church leading a movement, but within the very heart of the Church’s life — in her religious orders, her universities, her administrative structures, within the ranks of the clergy and even the episcopacy.

    This spread of dissent is visible in the incremental desacralization of Catholic liturgy.

    • Todd says:

      Bruce, I think you have a fair way to go to connect translations to dissent.

      In the period of 1967-75, ICEL adhered to its mandate, and translated accordingly. Not only did all the English-speaking bishops sign off, but so did the CDWDS.

      Since this part of the Mass is generally sung, the priority here should be a text poetic enough to be easily rendered into music. That we have three acclamations is sign enough that there’s more than one way to express the Mysterium Fidei.

      The point of liturgy, by the way, is less the sacralization of itself, but the sacralization of believers.

  4. Todd says:

    I see your point, Andy, but Keep In Mind does allude to the eschaton in “joy for all ages.” Not as explicit as in the current acclamation A.

    It will be interesting to see if Christ Has Died made it into the US version of MR3.

  5. Andy says:

    I thought it was firmly not, but at least according to this (however recently updated), it’s still up in the air.

    My bet is that it won’t be.

  6. This is the only point in the Mass where a prayer is so clearly directed to the Son.

    “Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, peace I leave you. . .”

    I don’t mind the Lucien Deiss “acclamation,” except that “joy for all ages” sounds like someone giving the age range for a board game (“family fun for ages 6 to 60”).

  7. Liam says:

    The memorial acclamation is one bit of the liturgical reform I would not mind see fading away at some point. I think the theory was not borne out in practice. But I don’t feel strongly about this point, either.

  8. Tony Barr says:

    ‘Keep in mind’ has long-stood the test of the ages. I have never used it as a memorial acclamation because I believe it needs more space in which it can expand itself, such as a communion antiphon while appropriate processional tropes are sung.

    I would never change the cases of this text to address it directly to God. It is a good example of procalamtaion, and this ancient art-form of proclamation is being executed at the moment in the urge to rid it of gender-specific pronouns. I am able to preserve this art-form by emualting Huub Oosterhuis’ use of ‘Who’ as a name (and not just a pronoun) for the Deity.

    A cheesey solution? Far from it. The Leo V Missal constantly refered to God as Who in the opening collect prayers, ‘who’ always being offered as a description of something God has done or been for us in the past, and in every case this descriptive phrase can always be substituted as a proper name for the word ‘God’.

  9. Alan says:

    I think this is a wonderful topic, good for reflection. I only use this piece when there is space for it, agreeing with Tony. Whether it is approved or not, there is not room, given the space for a memorial acclamation, for it to do its expansive thing. I always felt that “for all ages” was the weakeest part of the refrain, G to G being somewhat static as melody. In fact, I always hoped that the people would be accepting and forgiving of this part of a rather good piece. What I am mentioning is probably due to translation. I doubt if Deiss’s wook was originally in English, but I may be wrong. The topic: why did it last? I am not sure, but it seems well-born from the chant tradition. Since chant lived on (to this day), I would say that there was no such thing as a “pre-conciliar plainsong tradition.” If you were there, you would have observed very little chant, though the famous biggies were more often sung than now. There were many insipid (not ancient)Latin hymns and weak imitation Renaissance motets, whatever the (mostly non-reading) choir could handle, in bigger places, the classical masses. Listen to a recording of President Kennedy’s requiem mass: that was the BEST we had to offer pre-conciliar.

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