The Language of Symbol in Hymns

Symbolism is in no way limited to the visual arts.  In its melody and texts a hymn seeks to move both the individual and the community of faith into an experience of the Transcendent God.  In the context of the Eucharist especially, in all its rites, symbolic texts point beyond themselves and invite us to participate in that to which they point: the mysterious and the Incarnational.  This will become especially instructional as we move through the Advent Season with  its great hymns of anticipation and wonder.  For both meditation, prayer and knowledge one could not do better than The New Oxford Book of Carols which citation is found on my website.  Not only is it an invaluable source of historical information but an excellent reference tool.  One of the most familiar hymns is Veni, Veni Emanuel.  The text in its richness is based on the ‘O’ antiphons sung at vespers on the days leading up to Christmas.

Hear it for its faith and symbol.  More Advent hymns will follow.

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About Monsignor Mark Richard Lane

I am a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Richmond. I am also a presenter in the Theology and Symbolism in Art from the art of the catacombs to modern art. My current research is on the duplicity of art in 19th Century America.
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