If I had to choose only one thing to do to foster a culture of consent, I would choose creating, singing, and promoting song lyrics that chronicle and celebrate healthy human relationships, call out social inequities, and advocate for social justice. Song lyrics embed in our subconscious and subliminally influence our thinking and actions in deep ways of which we might not even be aware.
I am not a musician or lyricist so my ability to make direct contributions to this culture change strategy is limited. Therefore, I am especially excited to have influenced one phrase in one song that will be sung for generations!
Mary of Nazareth’s prayer for social justice, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), offers a two-part formula for creating equity: scattering the proud hearted and lifting up the lowly. It has often been set to music. A very common rendition was David Haas’ version of “Holy Is Your Name.” He is now only too familiar with the first half of Mary’s mandate: “scattering the proud hearted.” Many music publishers and churches have stopped promoting and singing his much beloved compositions after reports of decades of sexual abuse and spiritual manipulation came to light.
In a reflection published in the National Catholic Reporter, I noted that in his version, Haas does not mention the second half of the Magnificat’s two-part formula for creating equity—the line with which it is most identified: “lifting up the lowly.” Scattering the proud hearted won’t effect much change if we don’t also listen to the voices of those who traditionally haven’t had the opportunity to speak. Inspired by my article, Tony Alonso corrected the omission in his new version of “Holy Is Your Name,” published by GIA Publications.
I had been waiting to share this news until I could share a professional recording of it, but I’m not aware of one yet, so I’m posting on New Year’s Day, which is also the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, and the World Day of Peace. May her prayer of social justice guide us in the new year:
I proclaim your p’wer, O God!
You work wonders for your servants;
you have scattered the proud hearted,
you have lifted up the lowly.
And holy is your name
through all generations!
© 2022 Michele Beaulieux … Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. That means you are free to share and adapt as long as you attribute to Michele Beaulieux, don’t use for commercial purposes, and use this same license. And if you do share, I’d love to know! I continue to revise, so to avoid sharing an outdated version, I recommend linking to this page, where I provide the date of the current iteration: 1.1.2022