To the Editor:
I’m writing in response to Don Moeller’s suggestion that we should modernize hymns and prayers. I respectfully disagree, for two primary reasons — respect for the communion of saints and for our relationship with our Christian brethren.
With our many technological and sociological advancements, we seem to consider our era as distinct and ignore the communion of saints which spans time and location, uniting us in singular worship and love of God. Just as Shakespeare’s works are read today, so should our hymns and prayers be kept in our collective consciousness — important not only because of the way they move our hearts and souls, but also to connect us to our brethren in heaven.
Our Lord commanded us to love him with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is why it is important for us to maintain the language of the past, even as we add to this collection of works. The language we use lifts our hearts and minds to God and also allows us to speak a common language with our neighbors. Many of our non-Catholic brethren use those same songs and prayers in their worship and private use. At multidenominational Christian gatherings, the Lord’s Prayer and a variety of common hymns allow us to pray and praise God together.
To protect and preserve our heritage, and to maintain our relationship with fellow Christians, it is important that we look above and beyond ourselves and to the church as a whole. We must maintain the spiritual richness of the treasury of hymns and prayers we have been handed.
Mr. Moeller mentioned that “thee/thou” was too formal. Perhaps it will please him to know that this is the most personal and informal use of singular address.