Christ has no body now but yours
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 355
    I have read some blogs about this piece of music, the text, (which appears in our Gather hymnals) as to whether it was really written by St. Teresa of Alvia. Some give high praise to this song and I have listened to several renditions on youTube. As a cantor I will be introducing this to our congregation next week and I have to tell you it's unsettling to me to say Christ has no body.

    If he has no body, who was it that rose from the dead? And St. Paul says we are members of the body of Jesus Christ (Rom 12-4) This song seems to contradict the real presence. If this is such a good number why don't we sing it on Easter Sunday? How does this text help evangelize Catholics who will undoubtedly go home and repeat these words over and over again?

    Maybe I am missing something, I'm not a mystic and the congregation certainly isn't. As musicians and ministers of the word of God don't we have a responsibility to be conscious of the text we use? I'm confused.




  • I wouldn't sing it or select it for congregational singing. I agree that the title denies the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. One need not go any further, like looking for justification in a saint's writings, to disqualify its selection for singing at Mass. We can do much better.
    Thanked by 3francis Don9of11 Kathy
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 273
    There is no evidence that Theresa ever said this. And thanks be to God for that, because it not only denies the real presence, but also the Ascension. It's pretty Pelagian as well. Avoid this text like the plague. (Of course people often like it, because it seems to be saying, "take your faith seriously and get out there and do something"-- which is a nice sentiment.)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    WE are the body of Christ... who needs the real one?!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,192
    It's both, I think. We have real responsibilities for the life of the Church. But only because He lives and lives in us. "Remain in me," He said, "for apart from Me you can do nothing.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,518
    If I am the only body Christ has, He's in deep doo-doo.
    Thanked by 2Ryan Murphy Carol
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    Kathy:

    You are right. Therefore, the title "Christ Has No Body But Yours" is heresy.
    Thanked by 1Ryan Murphy
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    Naive people seem to fall for anything with the name Teresa on it. If they're not attributing some sentimental bilge to Therese of Lisieux, they're pinning it on Teresa of Avila or Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

    A few years ago I blogged about this fake quotation, and referred readers to a nun's blog which told how she asked the Institute of Carmelite studies about it, and they told her it was definitely not a real quote from the saint's writings or from the oral traditions about her. Alas, the nun's page is no longer on the net.

    One reader posted a comment on my blog to attribute the words to French priest Michel Quoist, ostensibly writing about the priest who acts _in persona Christi_.
    Thanked by 1Continuousbass
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,353
    Naive people seem to fall for anything with the name Teresa on it. If they're not attributing some sentimental bilge to Therese of Lisieux, they're pinning it on Teresa of Avila or Mother Teresa of Calcutta.


    And Francis of Assisi.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Throw out a quote and tag a famous name at the end, and fools will take it as fact.

    image
  • Best. Quote. Ever.

    Lol
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,353
    It's supposed to be:
    Use the Force, harry. - Gandalf.
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    I attended a presentation by a rather well-known priest-musicologist, (quoted here, from time to time,) and when he said "ever since the Ascension Christ has no body here but yours and mine," I turned to our associate pastor who was attending as well and whispered, "What about the Real Presence
    He waved his hand dismissively and so, "Oh, that...."
    I began to wonder if we fulfilled our obligation when he had Mass.

    I don't know that particular song, so I don't know if the heretical implications of the title are mitigated later in the text, but I would not sing it.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
    Thanked by 1Ryan Murphy
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,082
    I see you and raise you. I remember a parish committee meeting where one of the members opined that after the Ascension, Christ could come back as a woman. Now the glorified body is not the same as the mortal body, and the Catholic church does not teach that *souls* are sexed, but you should have seen the look on this guy's face when I explained the resurrection of the body as a basic Christian belief that progressives should especially champion, et cet.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 355
    Since I may not have much to say about it's use in our church, apart from my refusing to sing it (which probably won't accomplish anything), I can only hope that when others hear it and read the text that this matter will attend to itself. Thanks for all your comments, but I don't think the force is strong enough Mr. Data :)
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Dave
    Posts: 64
    What would Delores Dufner, OSB, or Tom Conry think?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Tom Conry

    Who? ;-)
    Actually, I have very vivid memories of quite a few encounters with Tom, including accompanying at 79 NPM and one LAREC. At the LAREC, he held the distinction of being the first RC musician to my knowledge to employ a guitar synthesizer, a very weird and huge dulcimer looking thing just prototyped by Yamaha.
    Thanked by 1Dave
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 355
    At cantor practice tonight our music director decided to scrub this selection (after further reflection) and will sing instead Adoramus Te Christe by Th. Dubois. God is good!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    wow... talk about a 180!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    I may have come closer to finding a source for this dodgy hymn text finally. It seems to have been published in the 1975 novel "The Fifth Gospel" by Italian writer Mario Pomilio. For all I know, he may have invented it himself.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    lol. tnx chonak.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 355
    Well this song finally made it's debut at my parish on Sunday during Offertory. Why do music directors and pastors allow this type of music to be played? It boggles the imagination. Anyway, I let my MD know that I was not pleased with this song on the grounds that it isn't a quote from St. Teresa of Alvia and it contradicts the the teaching of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. She just thanked me for my input of concern.

    Anyway, I started looking around for evidence that it was from St. Teresa and found this poem by Annie Flint. It seems though since my OP, that the internet is giving credit to St. Teresa at least more so than they did six years ago.
    Thanked by 2francis CharlesW
  • Carol
    Posts: 577
    Some people choose hymns by just going along with whatever is listed as a suggestion in the music publication that comes with the missalettes/hymnals. This tactic drove me crazy with a past organist/music director. I have heard "Christ Has No Body But Yours" sung by children for a First Friday Mass when it was chosen by an overly emotional/maudlin teacher. It bothered me then and I really should learn to trust my discernment on these matters. I had nothing to do with its presentation, so I shrugged my shoulders and moved on, but this discussion confirms my reservations.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Don9of11
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,518
    If Christ has no body now but mine, he better get his behind to the gym virus or no virus

    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Don9of11
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,028
    I hope it is clear that what the author means is that God works through the agency of people (and angels). When God wanted his people rescued form Egypt, he gave the task to Moses. Caring for the dying of Calcutta was undertaken by Mother Theresa, not by Christ in his own body.
    And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." (Isa. 6:8 RSV)
    I find it difficult to get my head round it, but I am aware that some people are so literal minded that they could be misled by the title "Christ Has No Body But Yours", but can anyone be misled by the poem/hymn text?
    Thanked by 1bdh
  • MarkB
    Posts: 360
    If Christ has no body now but mine, then "I myself am the bread of life. You and I are the bread of life, taken and blessed, broken and shared by Christ that the world might live." (R. Cooney)
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 355
    Saying that Christ has no body now but mine to carry out his will on earth is very unsettling to me. It is through Him, that I carry out the mission work and without Him I can do nothing. I am a member of Christ body as St. Paul writes, and being a member of the body of Christ should not in anyway deny His incarnation.

    We could banter back and forth about the charitable nature of these verses and reflect on their doctrinal or mystical implications until we dizzy. I would have programmed a hymn like "Soul of My Savior" or "Heart of Jesus We are Grateful" or "Ave Verum" which shifts the focus back to God rather than putting the spotlight on (me) us.
  • oldhymnsoldhymns
    Posts: 150
    Don9of11--You hit the nail on the head! That's a major problem with OCP and GIA is even worse. There are just too many songs with the emphasis on "I" in these hymnals that are commonly found in American parishes. The three hymns you suggest are much more appropriate--either sung by a choir or the congregation or a good soloist.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Carol
    Posts: 577
    OCP had dropped "Soul of My Savior" one year, but it was back in the next. I hope the reason it was returned to the lineup was that people missed it.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,028
    Don9of11 - I agree with the way you put it in your first paragaph above. I don't want to banter on about this, but the text of this hymn seems to me to say that. And it is not about "I", it is addressed to "you". But I would question whether/how that works, the text is a good one for a homily, addressed by the preacher to y'all, it is illogical to have everybody sing it, maybe it can work as a hymn, perhaps not.
    I frequently have recourse to Soul of my savio(u)r but it is about comforting ME. Sometimes we need to respond with action, as St John Henry Newman wrote,
    God has created me to do Him some definite service.
    Thanked by 4CHGiffen kenstb Elmar bdh
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870
    Wow a_f... That quote is a real gem. I’m going to print this and frame it and put it in my office.

    God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

    He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.

    Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.
    John Henry Newman
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 179
    Even if we conceded for a moment that the text was from Teresa of Avila, one wonders the appropriateness and practicality of taking a mystic's text and using it communally in liturgy. It is a poem. I understand the point it is making. It is saying Christ literally is not out here physically tending to his people- we receive the Eucharist and his Spirit and are commissioned to go forth and do that physical work ourselves. It never occurred to me to say this denied the real presence. Christ IS physically present in the Eucharist, but not in the exact physical way that he walked around Bethany or Nazareth. Correct me if my understanding is wrong.
    .
    It seems to me that composers are looking for authentic text- but too many are turning to saint's writings. Those writings are beautiful but weren't written for and don't fit right for the liturgy. It is beyond me why they aren't turning to the psalms that have been used for millenia in both Jewish and Christian worship.
    .
    The composer is Steven Warner.
    He also is the composer of the Julian of Norwich "All Will Be Well" which seems like it could be taken -again- out of its mystic context and seen as an encouraging platitude.

    He did compose a piece using JHN's "Lead Kindly, Light," which is beautiful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQnVw5OLTzw (But I don't see a place for this in liturgy regularly)
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 478
    Interesting about the saints mystical writings. There's popular tune here based on text by Little Saint Thérèse, that goes "Your Church is one body, every member is different, and certainly in that Body there is a heart, Lord. From it comes charity, the most important gift, and that's where I finally found shining my vocation: Love!"

    I love the Little Flower, but this tune strikes me as so sentimental I can't stand it.

    Recording of typical melody here: https://youtu.be/H94bvJ7tFFg