Category Archives: Christian Music

Revisiting “Holy Water”

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As you’ve likely noticed, I’ve recently gotten “the bug” to work on music-related efforts. I am finally taking the time to get my previous CD works up on youtube and post them here, and I am beginning to get “rough drafts” of new songs recorded so I can start the process of listening and developing and so forth. It is a labor of love for me, but one that often doesn’t rise to the top of the priority list because of the rest of life’s obligations. But every now and again I force myself to make time to do it.

For those wondering when I will continue to post on my series of walking through the Catechism as it relates to prophecy, I will get to it, and I even have some stuff ready to go on it already. But I just go with the flow of the moment here, and right now I’ve got other things on the brain.

Now that I am working on getting more material in public view, I wanted to do more than just throw up the music/videos with no context to them. One nice thing about going to a concert is hearing the artist tell the story about how a song came to be. It helps add meaning to the song and the text.

Well, I kind of realized after the fact that I didn’t do any of that as I started introducing my music here. Oh, long ago I offered up a little bio and CD description, but that’s way in the archives. I’m going to correct this oversight here.

A couple years ago, I introduced the following song:
https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/holy-water-on-youtube/

I am going to post the lyrics here, and then I’m going to share with you how this song came to be and what the lyrics are intended to convey. Of course, like all art, the listener may take their own things from it, as well.

Holy Water
I used to think I knew what was good
I guess I thought it was all well understood
But now I know how wrong I had been
It’s good to think about life now and then

I took the water’s embrace
And I can feel the void in me it replaced
A new sense of purpose in my head
And so I stood right up and said

I love the Holy Water
I love to feel the splash upon my face
I love the Holy Water
Receiving His unending gift of grace
And I cannot recall ever feeling quite the way I felt
On that day
I love the Holy Water

Thought life couldn’t be too much more
But I didn’t know I’d shut the door
A lifetime of selfishness
Makes me proud of nothing that I did before

So I took a step back
And realized there was nothing else I could do
I had to have the water
Took the Christ plunge at the deep end of the pool

I love the Holy Water
I love to feel the splash upon my face
I love the Holy Water
Receiving His unending gift of grace
And I cannot recall ever feeling quite the way I felt
On that day
I love the Holy Water

(aaah, aaah)

I used to think I knew what was good
I guess I thought it was all well understood
But now I know how wrong I had been
It’s good to think about life now and then

I love the Holy Water (I love it)
I love the Holy Water
I love the Holy Water (I love it)
I love the Holy Water

OK, so first on the music: This is my most straight-ahead driving harder-rock song. I grew up loving rock music, and I am not of the mind that the style of music in intrinsically evil, despite many of the problematic uses of it. Christ touched the lepers and He healed them. To consider things or matter of any kind intrinsically evil is a Pharisitic quality. Now, I’m not suggesting it should be played at Mass, but neither do I apologize for pulling out an electric guitar for a Catholic or Christian song.

This song was born, quite honestly, when I first bought my recording equipment and just messed around to see how it worked. I just happened to stumble across a few chord progressions and the theme came to me and I went with it.

As I wrote the lyrics, I purposely kept it somewhat vague as to whether or not I was referencing actual holy water as blessed by a Priest, or whether or not I was using it to describe the waters of baptism, or whether or not it was emblematic of the Holy Spirit. It’s really a reference to all three.

We crazy Catholics believe in valid infant baptism, so most of us don’t actually feel (or at least remember) the emotion that comes with baptism. However, every year at Easter Vigil Masses all over the globe, plenty of adults are baptized into the faith. I try to imagine every year what they must feel at the moment that water is poured over them, and I vicariously feel a sense of awe. When I wrote this song and the theme of “Holy Water” emerged, this really was my primary focus. The lyrics were intended to not talk about me in that regard (I was baptized as an infant and praise God for that gift) but to sing from the perspective of someone who finally came to the realization that “goodness” is not something to be done on your own, but to be done with the help of the Holy Spirit, initially through the Sacrament of Baptism.

So, the baptismal allusion as an adult here is not in any way intended to convey the idea that baptism is something that should be done as an adult (or conversely NOT to be done as an infant). It is simply a story of conversion, acceptance, and regeneration.

However, the lyrics are written so as to not be limited to Baptism. We revisit our baptism every time we sign ourselves with Holy Water, or during a sprinkling rite during the Easter season. Holy Water is a powerful sacramental in the Catholic faith and we should embrace it and use it. We all know, of course, that it is still water, and that it is not magic. God is ultimately the source of all power of any sacramental. But we use physical things to constantly remind us of this, and God uses the matter He created to work with us in our spiritual journey, and through His divine power these elements become the conduit of grace. So, as simple as that all is, take a step back and how can one not “love the Holy Water!”

Of course, the Holy Spirit is behind all this. Water is often used as symbology of the Spirit, and the lyrics are intended to convey that as well. In particular, I can attest to the feeling of going to confession after a long and rocky absence. Besides the weight that was lifted, I could almost feel the infusion of grace and the Spirit that came with that experience. I LOVED that “Holy Water!”

The lyrics, of course, will not win a classic poetry contest. The style of writing is meant to work with the style of music. Yet, in all ways the intent is to be respectful to the topic.

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The Game – now on youtube

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I finally got around to posting a video of the 4th cut from my CD “Avant-God.” The song is “The Game” and is embedded here. In my previous post I listed links to the three other songs I’ve uploaded.

The video here is just the lyrics, so nothing fancy – just like me. But I want to get my music up on youtube so this is probably the way I’ll just do it from now on – simpler and faster, even if the videography leaves a bit to be desired.

Would love to hear what you think. Unless you don’t like it, in which case I’m not sure I love it, but I can take it!

Ill be back with more diatribical type of nonsense later this week.

Enjoy!

Random Reflections for the 2012 Summer Solstice

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Happy Summer!

Well, I’ve been a bit tied up lately and needed to make the choice that the blog here was a lower priority than a lot of other work that had to be done in both my personal and professional life. But I thought I’d just offer a personal reflection today.

Our lives are truly amazing. I sometimes find it difficult to find God in the work I do, but He is there. He has given me the skills and abilities to provide for my family. I was called to be a husband and father and never felt the call to religious life. To be fair, when I was younger I didn’t spend a great deal of time in discernment over it, but I do recall always feeling pulled towards married life. My education and circumstance has led to doing work for an insurance company. My job is beneficial to society and I put in an honest day’s work, but I can remember struggling a bit with the idea that, as I started really blossoming in my faith, that I wasn’t “doing more.” In other words, I almost thought I should feel called to some sort of ministry instead of a secular job. But I didn’t. So, I almost questioned my seriousness of faith because I thought I should feel called but actually didn’t feel called. A wise Priest friend of mine basically called me an idiot (in a nice way) and pointed out that we just need to be the best Catholics everywhere we are, and that the world needs good Catholics everywhere. Not that my company is unethical or dishonest – they aren’t – but I can help make sure that it stays that way. Further, God has blessed me with the ability in my work to provide for my family in such a way that my wife stays home and homeschools. I learned during this time to not look a gift horse in the mouth, and accept the blessings God has provided. Further, just to make sure I’m where I need to be, we pray as a family often for the ability to hear and understand and respond to God’s call in our lives. God can request a change in direction at any time, and we need to be ready.

At Mass last Sunday we heard about the mustard seed. I couldn’t help but think about my own gardens. I have not discussed it much here, but we have a somewhat massive gardening operation. It is a lot of hard work, and I start most of the plants we grow in a little greenhouse. Very few things help me to recognize the miracle of God’s creation like saving a seed from one of last year’s tomatoes and then planting it and watching it grow to yield a large plant with numerous tomatoes and countless other seeds. One tiny seed not only yields fruit, but also yields so many seeds within those fruit that you could literally cover the earth with tomato plants within a handful of generations of plants if you had enough people to harvest them and plant them and nurture them. This is unmistakeably miraculous, but it is so commonplace in our lives that we don’t give it a second thought – until you start toiling and working and thinking. And yes, I do have a mustard plant…

Youth baseball is coming to an end, and this is an occasion of praise! 🙂 The 9 year old has games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the 7 year old has games on Mondays and Wednesdays. Both love it and we are thankful to be able to provide this activity for them, but it really does creat havoc with the summer schedule, so we are always happy to see it end. The rest of the summer can now be freed up for more camping activities and other things.

I am, God-willing and time-able, planting the seeds for recording a new CD. I plan on focusing on Catholic prayers and devotions for this one, with some other stuff as well, but probably not incorporating much of the harder-driving music that I love to do. But I really want to focus on this. I also want to pull in a lot of talented people I know to be involved in it as well. Lots of visions and plans, but we’ll see where it goes. It’s not a top priority, but hope to steal time here and there. I would also like to find time to upload more songs from my last CD to youtube, and will be sure to link to any that I do.

In case you’re a late-arriver to this blog and have not seen/heard the three music youtube vids to songs on my CD, here are the links:

https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/holy-water-on-youtube/
https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/i-dream-of-heaven/
https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/quiet-time/

Yes, it really has been almost 2 years since I uploaded them, and have done NOTHING since. Shame on me. I’ll try to get some more up.

Blessings to all of you. I’ll try to get back into the prophetic walk through the Catechism shortly.

I Dream of Heaven

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Continuing my foray into the world of posting my music on YouTube, I now have the song “I Dream of Heaven” posted. I’ve embedded it here. Listen and enjoy!

Merry Christmas From Me – Get a Free CD!

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Well, I didn’t start my blog all that long ago, but thanks to a couple fortunate links from Spirit Digest and a link from the Catholic Answers forums, I’ve had a few visitors already. While not thousands, it’s a nice start.

So, since it looks like I have a few people stopping by now, I would like to offer a free CD to the first 5 people who e-mail me (use the e-mail in my “Contact Joe” page).

I do not have limitless resources, so I can’t go overboard with this. So, I apologize for those who e-mail me 6th or later. I will even pick up the shipping on the lucky first five responders.

The CD is Catholic oriented Rock music. Not metal or anything, but rock. Definitely contemporary music, nonetheless. There are a few things that make it noticeably Catholic, but it’s not like the entire CD is in-your-face Catholicism or anything (if any of you non-Catholic Christians would like to give it a shot.) So, you probably are only interested if you like that kind of music, or maybe you want to get something that’s a positive influence for your kids who like this kind of music.

So, why would I do this?

Quite honestly, while I would love to sell a ton of these and make a bunch of money, I simply don’t have the time or organization (and marketing drive) to make that happen. I did this as a labor of love. It makes no sense for me to have a gazillion boxes of unopened CDs that I will never sell. That’s the first reason.

The second reason is that I know that it is difficult to pull the trigger on paying money for something that you haven’t heard on the radio. So, part of my labor of love is to actually want people to have a copy and (hopefully) enjoy it.

Third, I am hoping that you’d be so kind as to come back here and let others know what you thought (hopefully you don’t think it’s terrible!). Perhaps with some encouragement from people who listened to it, I can generate a few future sales. And if you feel comfortable passing on a suggestion to others, that’s great too. That is certainly not required, though, so don’t let that deter you from requesting your copy.

Fourth, if you like it and you are either an owner of a Catholic store or know of a local store that may be interested in carrying the music, then please let me know of them (and if you wish to pass on a kind word regarding the music to help out, that’s great). Again, not a requirement to requesting a CD, just kind of a hope on my part that getting the CD out to random individuals may bear some fruit. If not, then so be it.

If anyone is blessed with the financial means and wishes to purchase a copy directly from me or through the CD Baby link, that’s great. But for those who just feel like they don’t want to risk the dollars of such a transaction, try to claim your free CD.

So go ahead and send an e-mail with the address you want it shipped to. I will let you know whether or not you are one of the lucky 5. (Only 1 free CD request per person, please. If for some reason you’d like more, we can discuss price via e-mail).

God bless, and have a Merry Christmas.