The authentic “Gather us In”

Earlier Pray Tell linked to “Gather us In” in the original Latin. Here we provide the authentic English translation, in accord with Liturgiam authenticam, sent in by an anonymous reader.  – Ed.

In this same place a new light is shining,
Darknesses now disappear away,
See all our fears and all of our sleepings
Open to you on this brought to light day.

Congregate us, the lost and the relict,
Congregate us, the blind and the lame,
Call upon us and we shall be wakened,
We shall rise up when sounded is our name.

Young of whom lives are secretly hidden,
Old people who keep badg’ring you
We shall be sung through all of the hist’ry
Lights of the world is what we’ll be called.

Congregate us, the rich and the boastful,
Congregate us who are the stiffnecked,
Give unto us a humble and meek heart
That boldly we may enter the song.

Here we shall take the wine and the water,
Here we take bread of vitality,
You shall call sons and you shall call daughters
The salt of earth you call us finally.

Bestow the wine of commiseration,
Bestow on us the bread that you are,
Nourish us well and teach us to create
Lives that are holy and hearts that are real.

Neither at home nor in any heaven,
Long space of annual light;
In this same place new light is radiating,
Today the kingdom, now really day.

Congregate us, and hold in eternity,
Congregate us, and make us of you;
Congregate us, ev’ry and all nation
With fire of love in our intestines.

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29 comments

  1. When the mulishness of those “in power” causes them to fail to comprehend and be persuaded by rational discourse use satire! Liturgical translations are being swift-boated (that would be of the Jonathan Swift kind). If only we could take sure comfort in the fact that the object(s) of our ire perused PrayTell.

    In trying to create a personal liturgical spirituality appropriate to, and informed by, LA and the new English translation, in which to engage the everyday, henceforth I shall carry a Thesaurus on my person at all times.

  2. One correction:
    “You shall call sons and you shall call daughters”

    should be
    “You shall call ‘sons,’ which also means ‘daughters'”

    Thank goodness for editors! (Wow, that bridge from satire to self-aggrandizement to self-righteousness really IS short!)

    1. I would definitely say “Some Are Welcome” is a better name for for that song when you consider how many people are repulsed by it 🙂

  3. From today’s lunchtime reading: “Imposing Latin rules on English structure is like trying to play baseball in ice skates.” – Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way

  4. Personally, I am trying to understand why this is interesting, funny, or worthwhile… to take a piece of music that whether some like it or not, is still part of a praying repertoire for people, and making fun… I just don’t get it.

  5. David – oh my, I hear you and I’m sorry for any possible misunderstanding. At least in my mind (I can’t speak for others), what is being mocked is not the piece GUI, but the spreading belief that Latin is holier than English (so let’s put GUI in Latin) and that Latin should be translated into English very literally (so, “Congregate us”). I really did not mean disrespect for this style of music which so many people relate well to. If anything, I think the lampoon is more effective when it’s done to a piece which is so accessible, beloved, popular, close to the people in a given culture. Sure, someone could put Proulx’s English choir anthems into Latin and then back into stilted English, but it wouldn’t make the point as well.
    awr

    1. I know what you intended, Fr. Anthony
      and I can appreciate and agree with that. But some of the
      comments were not given in that spirit.

    2. Having already confessed myself to be a lover of “Gather us in,” I found this hilarious because it showed how much better the original text is than this twice-translated version.

      I am an unabashed lover of this music — it formed my Catholic spirituality, shaped my formative years as a theologian, was sung at my wedding, and is the standard lullaby repertoire for my children. One of the things I love about contemporary liturgical music (as a former Protestant) is how deeply Biblical it is. It does a form of canonical criticism very similar to that done with antiphonal psalmody, and it works even for those who don’t know the Biblical passages referenced.

      As some of my Syro-Malabar interview respondents told me they do, I pray in English. I love to read Latin, but I think, I pray, I sing, I laugh in English.

      Praying in English, like singing in English, does not come about by a literal syllable-by-syllable translation of Latin words, just like our Latin tradition of the institution narrative is not a syllable-by-syllable transmission of the gospel stories of the Lord’s Supper. That’s why I found it funny. Just goes to show you that the same thing can be funny to different people for different reasons!

      1. We must remember, though, that the Latin of the Consecration and Roman Canon is not based on the Gospels. It constitutes its own source. It contains quotes and paraphrases from the Gospels, but it holds its own authority, supplemented by the Gospels and the rest of Sacred Scripture.

    3. I apologize for contributing to some of the “mean” comments. I realize that some people truly love this type of music.

      However, I would like it if those who adore this music could maybe throw some sympathy towards those who don’t. Sometimes when you really like something, it can be incomprehensible to see why others might not. In my neck of the woods, I would say most parishes rely on this style of music almost exclusively, with almost nothing else from the great 2000 year history of Catholic musical culture being used save for a few “old standards” like “Hail Holy Queen” and maybe “Tantum Ergo” on Holy Thursday. That level of exclusivity is going to breed some (understandable) contempt on the part of those of us who don’t really think it merits that level of importance in Catholic liturgical life. I like pepperoni pizza a lot, but I’d hate it if I had to eat it two meals a day, every singly day.

      1. I definitely do sympathize, for what it’s worth.

        I am not at all in favor of an elimination of all but one style of music from the liturgy. In fact, I have prayed through liturgies that combined musical genres in what I’m told is a foolhardy fashion, and not noticed it until someone informed me later. I guess I’m somewhat of a musical omnivore, but Gather Us In is close to my heart.

      2. One observation of mine is that it’s easy to find negative critiques/comments on contemporary music by more “traditional” camp folks – sometime shown in great hatred and vitriol, but rare to find a “contemporary” musician trashing/ bashing etc, old hymns and chants. (Honest textual/musical issues are a different thing). It’s a strange phenomenon to me.

        However, there is a larger issue. The Church teaches very clearly music must be from the storehouse – treasures of the old and the best of the new. But as I read (with sadness and disgust) how very little liturgy training seminarians receive – I thought the same could be said for liturgical musicians. If the Church truly desires good classical and modern music, how does it offer to educate and train musicians? How do parishes support them? Do they put time and money aside for continuing education, or do they let a good musician go and hire a part time/contractual choir director and accompanist so they can save a few bucks? Sometimes we find dault with problems that are the results of much larger issues.

  6. Oh the satire has become disrailed. I love Gather Us In – it is in the key of my own liturgical disposition. My “objects of ire” were vox clara, et al., not the song, style, nor composer.

    Apologies.

  7. “oh my, I hear you and I’m sorry for any possible misunderstanding. At least in my mind (I can’t speak for others), what is being mocked is not the piece GUI, but the spreading belief that Latin is holier than English (so let’s put GUI in Latin) and that Latin should be translated into English very literally (so, “Congregate us”). I really did not mean disrespect for this style of music which so many people relate well to. If anything, I think the lampoon is more effective when it’s done to a piece which is so accessible, beloved, popular, close to the people in a given culture.”

    I don’t understand.

    “Sorry” because it is acceptable to mock. lampoon and show disrespect for the work of some people, but not that of others?

    Even successful “edgy” comics have their own sacred cows, I suppose, but it still seems sanctimonious.

  8. I guess I was too sensitive in regards to this.. Marty has taken so much mocking and abuse in regards to this piece… I guess I was taking it too seriously…

    Sorry about that.

  9. I won’t beat about the bush.I still dislike Gather Us In intensely. I have my preferences and you have yours. As for me may the dew fall remain fresh and may many be admitted to the Supper of the Lamb. Actually…I wish the English translated the new Missal by themselves a la Cranmer. No offense to Americans and the other countries, but neither translations really capture the beauty of this noble Language (English) in a practical fashion.

    @Sean: it is very easy since the folk/contemp musicians do the same with regards traditional forms of music esp. Gregorian Chant. There is very much good music both old and new AND awful music both old and. Now to learn the “best of both worlds” as Miley would have it, and use it for Sacred Worship!

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