How do you echo your faith?

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
How do you echo your faith?
How do you echo your faith?


By Tony Rossi

Catholic singer-songwriter Matt Maher is the dad of three kids under the age of six, and he realizes that they learned to talk by echoing what they heard him and his wife say. With that in mind, Maher came to see that Christianity is similarly spread through the echoes of other Christians’ words and actions. Therefore, he named his latest album “Echoes,” and we talked about it recently on “Christopher Closeup.”

Maher explained that he was a cradle Catholic, who didn’t take his faith seriously until he turned 20. Looking back at the years he spent working for the Church in Phoenix, he said, “So much of my faith was formed by listening to the people around me and the things they said and emphasized. And I turned around and did the same thing.”

While affirming the importance of catechesis, Maher believes we have to develop a more personal approach to passing on our faith in everyday life. But the modern world often makes that difficult, especially on social media where people often share articles that appeal to them on an emotional level without fully thinking through whether these pieces fully reflect what the Catholic faith teaches.

Maher encourages us to listen for the authentic call of Jesus instead: “He’s the one whispering in your ear the desire to improve yourselves, making your life more fraternal to improve society…telling you to dream the big dreams, to live life abundantly. What [Anglican theologian] N.T. Wright said was, ‘All of humanity hears the echo of a voice who calls for the wrong things to be made right.’”

Making things right is something that starts with each of us individually, a message Maher shares in his timely and relevant song “Clean Heart.” The lyrics state: “Woke up this morning / The whole world was yelling / I wish I was dreaming / Of all that we’ve been through. / My soul has been searching / For some deeper meaning / I know there’s a kindness / That leads me to the truth. / When everybody’s looking for another fight / When trouble’s on the rise, no end in sight / Oh Savior, won’t You come and make the wrong things right? / Let me be the place You start / Give me a clean heart. ‘

Maher relates the song to “this age of divisiveness” and our uncertainty about how to respond. He realizes that “you can’t change anyone else. You can only change yourself. And even that you can’t do without the grace of God. There’s a reason why Mass, after the opening song, begins with the Confiteor. Those are the words in Latin: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maximum culpa – through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. That’s not just the starting point for the pagan [or] the atheist [or] the marginal Christian. It’s the starting point for everybody.”

Though it’s the starting point, Maher explains, the humility of admitting our faults should lead us to repentance and mercy: “The second verse of [Clean Heart] talks about mercy. I think there’s a reason why Jesus said to St. Faustina that mercy is an ocean. He didn’t say ‘lake,’ he didn’t say ‘river’...He said ‘ocean.’ Like, the thing that covers 90 percent of the Earth. That was in me when the song was written...From the cross, Jesus blessed His persecutors. He blessed those who were mocking Him, and so that’s the mandate on the life of every Christian.”

For free copies of the Christopher News Note WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET ME SOW LOVE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: [email protected]            

Rossi is director of communications for the Christophers.

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By Tony Rossi

Catholic singer-songwriter Matt Maher is the dad of three kids under the age of six, and he realizes that they learned to talk by echoing what they heard him and his wife say. With that in mind, Maher came to see that Christianity is similarly spread through the echoes of other Christians’ words and actions. Therefore, he named his latest album “Echoes,” and we talked about it recently on “Christopher Closeup.”

Maher explained that he was a cradle Catholic, who didn’t take his faith seriously until he turned 20. Looking back at the years he spent working for the Church in Phoenix, he said, “So much of my faith was formed by listening to the people around me and the things they said and emphasized. And I turned around and did the same thing.”

While affirming the importance of catechesis, Maher believes we have to develop a more personal approach to passing on our faith in everyday life. But the modern world often makes that difficult, especially on social media where people often share articles that appeal to them on an emotional level without fully thinking through whether these pieces fully reflect what the Catholic faith teaches.

Maher encourages us to listen for the authentic call of Jesus instead: “He’s the one whispering in your ear the desire to improve yourselves, making your life more fraternal to improve society…telling you to dream the big dreams, to live life abundantly. What [Anglican theologian] N.T. Wright said was, ‘All of humanity hears the echo of a voice who calls for the wrong things to be made right.’”

Making things right is something that starts with each of us individually, a message Maher shares in his timely and relevant song “Clean Heart.” The lyrics state: “Woke up this morning / The whole world was yelling / I wish I was dreaming / Of all that we’ve been through. / My soul has been searching / For some deeper meaning / I know there’s a kindness / That leads me to the truth. / When everybody’s looking for another fight / When trouble’s on the rise, no end in sight / Oh Savior, won’t You come and make the wrong things right? / Let me be the place You start / Give me a clean heart. ‘

Maher relates the song to “this age of divisiveness” and our uncertainty about how to respond. He realizes that “you can’t change anyone else. You can only change yourself. And even that you can’t do without the grace of God. There’s a reason why Mass, after the opening song, begins with the Confiteor. Those are the words in Latin: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maximum culpa – through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. That’s not just the starting point for the pagan [or] the atheist [or] the marginal Christian. It’s the starting point for everybody.”

Though it’s the starting point, Maher explains, the humility of admitting our faults should lead us to repentance and mercy: “The second verse of [Clean Heart] talks about mercy. I think there’s a reason why Jesus said to St. Faustina that mercy is an ocean. He didn’t say ‘lake,’ he didn’t say ‘river’...He said ‘ocean.’ Like, the thing that covers 90 percent of the Earth. That was in me when the song was written...From the cross, Jesus blessed His persecutors. He blessed those who were mocking Him, and so that’s the mandate on the life of every Christian.”

For free copies of the Christopher News Note WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET ME SOW LOVE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: [email protected]            

Rossi is director of communications for the Christophers.

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