Eagles on Lent I?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    This Sunday is Lent I. The Church prescribes the use of psalm 91, Qui habitat, for pretty much all the propers. As some have pointed out, hymnody is sometimes a fine option to replace the proper chant, so long as it correlates the the propers. So given that, which of you Faithful Sons of the Church will be using "On Eagle's Wings" at Mass? Many of us are at parishes where we "have" to use it - so are you getting it out of the way for the whole year tomorrow or what? Using it because you like it? Refusing to use it because the text is bizarre or the music worthless? Or are you lucky enough to be able to use chant and avoid the issue altogether?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    That puzzles me a bit. The books I am using prescribe Psalm 25 - "Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth," for the March 1 Responsorial Psalm. Where did you get the eagles song? Of course, I think that bird needs to get plucked.
  • Meow
  • WGS
    Posts: 299
    The Liber Usualis for Lent 1 uses Psalm 90(91) all the way for the EF as does the Gregorian Missal for the OF.
  • an example of how the responsorial psalms don't match the graduals?
  • It's not the psalm this year by way of the OF lectionary - however, it is still the proper entrance antiphon, offertory, and communion antiphon per the graduale romanum and the lectionary.

    And yes, I used it for Communion this week. It is a paraphrase of the proper, they will sing it, and it is the best place to use it all year - so why not?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    The verses of "On Eagle's Wings" can be reasonably called a paraphrase of Psalm XC(91), but the refrain doesn't qualify.

    "And he will raise you up on eagle's wings"

    The Psalm does not say this. It says that He will "shelter you with his pinions; under his wings you will find refuge". It does not mention eagles, and does not include the concept of God raising anyone, let alone on wings.

    "Bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun"

    This is pure invention, apparently unrelated to anything in the Psalm.

    "and hold you in the palm of his hand."

    This is also not found in the Psalm. The closest expression speaks of the angels of God, that "with their hands they shall support you", not that God will hold you.

    So I don't think OEW would be a suitable substitute for a Psalm XC(91) gradual.
  • Last year on the first Sunday of Lent we (Harmonia quartet) sang Johann Kaspar Aiblinger's "Scapulis suis" for Offertory and the Scapulis suis chant from the Gradual for Communion simply because they are the proper texts for the first Sunday of Lent. We don't have enough voices for the Palestrina setting, or I would have loved to do that.

    If I had my druthers, I'd never sing "On Eagles Wings" again. Too pop for me and way too saccharine ("and holllllllllld you . . . hold you in the palllllllllm . . . of his hand").
  • Yeah, the refrain isn't really the psalm. There IS a reading I think it is based on; I can't remember what book, but it is old testement. The reading comes up every three years in the summer. It says something about "how he raised you up as on eagles' wings".

    Anyway, tomorrow the morning choir is chanting Scapulis Suis at the offertory, so all as well. With that, I can deal with "Eagles' Wings" at communion once a year.
  • Guilty as charged.
  • ditto
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    PGA - Perhaps Exodus 19:4 You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself.
  • For Lent I at our Missa Cantata at Saint Edward, Newark CA we will sing:
    Hymn in Procession: "From Ashes to the Living Font" at the Sanctuary- the
    Introit & the Kyrie of Mass XVII (c), Responsorial Psalm- Tone 1 Fr. Jeffrey Keyes,
    at the Offertory: "Scapulis suis" (Chant) followed by Palestrina's setting of
    "Scapulis suis" Sanctus & Agnus Dei of Mass XVII; Communio: "Scapulis suis"
    with additional verses from "Communio," followed by "Psalm 91" setting by
    A. Gregory Murray, OSB/Gelineau. Closing Procession: "Lord, Who Throughout
    these Forty Days"
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    In this area, "Eagle's Wings" has become so closely identified with funerals, it doesn't get used for much else. I have been in my current job since 2001, and haven't played it once at a Sunday mass.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks Priorstf for the Bible quote. I could not have found this. So the Bible do mention 'Eagle' and the 'wings'. But it still seems to be a different concept from the song, "And he will raise you up on eagle's wings." (Also my Bible has a slightly different translation of this verse.) I read further and what follows after the verse 4 in Exodus seems to be important though,

    Exodus 19:4 "You saw what I, the Lord, did to the Egyptians and how I carried you as an eagle carries her young on her wings, and brought you here to me.

    5 "Now, if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own people.."

    The song "On Eagles Wings'' doesn't seem to imply the verse 5, 'if you will obey.." Maybe Fr. Joncas meant it in the song when it says "say to the Lord " my refuge, my rock in whom I trust." To the people who trusting God means also following and obeying Him, this makes sense, but to those who just want to 'trust' Him, no matter what they do or (did in the past especially in the funeral) can give a false idea of 'trust,' the idea of 'trust 'that they will be ok, because God is generous and merciful. Somebody mentioned in the other thread, because we feel sympathy at the funeral for the loss of loved ones, we might be making everyone a 'saint' when s/he dies. And this song seems to be highliting that idea. Maybe that's why it is popular, very 'comforting' in disguise for many, besides having a pop-style tune. (which I found too much of 'saccharine,' as someone said above. Plus each verse starts with a different rhythm and whenever we have this, the congregation cannot really sing together well. They kind of mumble away, especially the beginning of verse 2, 3 and 4, even the cantor gets very confused. Everyone sings with a different rhythm. I remember banging at the notes to keep them together. Also remember to go to 'coda' at the last time. What if you have to cut the verse, what do you do? I remember making different 'nodding' contract with the cantor as an accompanist, but still didn't agree on how we end this song. What a nightmare. And the pitch range of the song. I really don't think this is for the congregational singing. Fr. Joncas, I believe, said this song was from his personal devotion. He never intended this song to be for a congregational singing, which I agree 100%. (I can see a small group of people who are attracted to this type of music, sing together for their devotion, with the correct understanding of the texts and with mutual agreement in musical aspects, but outside the liturgy.)

    Anyway, in the interview I read, Fr. Joncas didn't want this song to be in his funeral, neither do I. The MD should be able to select liturgical music for the mass, and I don't believe this is a liturgical music to be in the Holy Mass.
    Should we have this kind of music in the liturgy, just because people sing and has some familiar words from the Bible? People might sing, but most likely very poorly. Because those who 'actively sing' would not be bothered by others around make that 'joyful' (or rather painful) noise, and misinterpret the easy sing along texts. How long do we need to continue this? And since when the liturgy is seen as a shouting and cheering parade?
    And why the 'noise?' when we can and should spend time to learn to make beautiful prayers. It really doens't matter whether you have a 'unique' voice of not. We can all learn to sing as 'one voice.' It's the idea of how you take music seriously and take time to put effort to make it beautiful. I think that effort is more beautiful, because you sacrifice your time for God. Sacrificing time seems to be one of the most difficult thing for modern people, especially when you have to make a fairly long time commitment, such as music learning. Music learning cannot be happened instantly even in an amature level. I think the local churches should really start taking music seriously, starting with the pastor and MD, and support music literacy and music education for the congregation.

    (Well, in the situation where you will be out of your job if you don't, because the pastor insists of having this kind of song, which is very sad but seems to happen a lot, I guess you have to make a situational decision? I really cannot say much about that.)
  • Using OEW. If there is one Sunday in the year when it’s appropriate, this is it.
  • So the verse for OEW is a pop antiphon then? Heaven forbid. Fortunately I assisted in schola at a EF Missa cantata.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I meant it as a light-hearted topic, but the issue is worthy of some discussion or at least disclosure. As for me, I was subbing with the Episcopalians this morning. Nothing of the sort there.
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    I think the whole point of the refrain "and hold you in the palm of his hand" is sort of a reverse imagery. After all, in the communion procession, who is holding who in their hands? (unless you receive on the tongue).
  • I think the refrain, while not part of the psalm, is more or less consistent with it. A bit of a stretch in the direction of “raising up” rather than “sheltering” with the wings, but hey.

    It also connects well with “palm of hand” imagery in Isaiah 49 and ... some gospel passage(s) or other? (Too lazy to look it up right now...)
  • paul, I think OEW was written before widespread use of Communion in the hand, wasn't it?
  • paul
    Posts: 60
    Michael, you've managed to intrigue me. My Gather book dates this particular opus to 1979. My gut reaction is that Fr. Joncas probably wrote it as the communion song for one of his masses, but I don't know that for sure. I can't imagine that he concocted a text with that kind of specific imagery without it having any significance though. I wouldn't be surprised if the song didn't reinforce the new concept though, if, indeed, it was just coming into being by then. By the time I started receiving (1986) we weren't really given any other options than receiving in the hand (RCIA), so I assume people were already doing it 7 years beforehand.
  • IIRC OEW was in manuscript circulation before '79 or something. Seems that I read that somewhere. Could be wrong though.

    Wouldn't know Wikipedia has a short entry on it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Eagles'_Wings
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    I heard it sung.

    And boy does the congregation love it! Especially the older crowd who read the readings. They ACTIVELY participated today!

    I mean, they belted!

    (BTW, there were other, songs, that I, if I ruled the world, would never choose for Mass.)
  • OEW had its formal world premiere at NPM Chicago National in 1979 with Joncas singing and accompanying himself only with a guitar. He did not, to my recollection, introduce it as pertinent to any specific liturgical action, and certainly not as a psalm response. It was merely a debut performance. And it was loved then; big time. Felipe's prescription is acceptable.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 774
    "...but the refrain doesn't qualify: 'And he will raise you up on eagle's wings'"

    Definitely conflating sources. This sounds more harmonious with the famous passage from Isaiah 40:

    They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength:
    They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
    They shall run and not be weary,
    They shall walk and not faint.

    or so says my King James Bible. In general, I'd say there are much worse examples from the liturgical hit parade (so long as I never have to sing it again...).
  • I certainly don't wish to say anything in favor of "On eagles' wings"; but conflations and paraphrases abound in the propers of the Mass. Look at the scriptural citations in the 1974 Graduale.
  • benedictgal
    Posts: 798
    We got stuck with it last Sunday and with a funeral this past Saturday. I have left instructions to not have that song played at my funeral. Even though some may justify it as scriptural, I don't see why they would include it in the First Sunday of Lent. Doesn't Satan quote one of the psalms while he is tempting Jesus (paraphrasing it just a tad)? Besides, it doesn't even make for something proper to be sung during Holy Communion. This is the time to focus on Jesus, not on ourselves. I would have rather had O Sun of Justice, Parce Domine or something a little more solemn. Of course, my parish cannot function without the dreaded OCP liturgical planning guide. It's like my pastor and the music director cannot think for themselves. They have to submit themselves to the will of OCP.