Pilgrims of the Heart: Songs of Marist Spirituality

 

All these songs are featured on my album 'Pilgrims of the Heart' (2011). You are welcome to download these lyrics.

 

1.


How can we sing the Lord's Song in a foreign land?

 
How can we sing the Lord's Song in a foreign land?
How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?
How can we sing? How can we sing?
 
The Spirit moves
The Founder speaks
For Mary's life is lived and breathed a certain way
For us to hold
For us to share
For us to be her presence in our day
 
How can we sing the Lord's Song……..
 
Her spirit speaks
A thousand words
For Mary's gentle way builds confidence and trust
She calls to us
Who bear her name
To go into the world and do the same
 
Hidden and unknown
Instruments of mercy
Make her song our own
As we live the journey
We like strangers stand
In our homeland
Mary's listening heart
Is a place to start.
 
How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?
How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?
We can sing (Podemos cantar) The Lord's Song,(el canto del Senor) We can sing(Nous pouvon chanter) The Lord's Song(la chanson du Seigneur), We can sing(Podemus cantar)   The Lord's Song(el canto del Senor), We can sing(Nous pouvon chanter) the Lord's Song. The theme for the Society of Mary's General Chapter in Rome for 2009 was 'How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?' I wrote this song given the theme.
 
2.
Magnificat( Mary, woman of faith)
 
Mary, woman of faith we honour you
Live through us, you we trust
 
My soul glorifies the Lord and
My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
He looks on his servant in her lowliness
Henceforth all ages we call me blessed
The Almighty works marvels for me
Holy his name
His mercy is from age to age
On those who fear him.
 
Mary, woman of faith……..
 
He puts forth his arm in strength
And scatters the proud hearted
He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly
He fills the starving with good things
Sends the rich away empty
He protects Israel his servant
Remembering his mercy
 
Mary, woman of faith……..
 
The mercy promised to our forbears
To Abraham and his heirs forever
Praise the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit
Both now and forever, world without end. Amen
 
Mary, woman of faith……..
 
 
The antiphon used with my setting for the Magnificat was written some time ago for a Marist retreat. I thought the two would work well together. 
 
3.
 
You are Mary

We inhale your hidden presence like a fragrance in the air
The birds give up their song when you pass by
And you sing with us in the silence the praises of your Son
Your very being glorifies his name
              
You are Mary, full of tenderness and grace
You are Mary, handmaid of the Lord
You are Mary, and you are blessed
 
We are humbled to be chosen to bear your tender name
To be like you and to follow in his way
We believe that you are with us
We believe in your support to be instruments of mercy in our day
 
You are Mary………
 
As we think about the choice God made in you
We think about the blessings we've received
Although you were disturbed by what the angel said
You conceived for you believed
 
You were there with the disciples gathered in the upper room
And your presence encouraged them in prayer
We give thanks for the gift you are as Mother of the Church
We give thanks for the spirit that we share
 
You are Mary………
 
 
During the Mid-life Marist Family Renewal at Manziana in 2010, we had the opportunity for a directed retreat in Galloro, south of Rome . 'You are Mary', was inspired by the last day we shared on retreat focussed on Mary. I was outside in the garden.
 
4.     
 
We Sing Chanel
Full of faith
Alive with zeal
You sailed the ocean wide
With a chosen band
Bound for Southern lands
Holy Mary at your side
 
Three hard years
You laboured long
For next to no reward
For the sake of love
You shed a martyr's blood
In the steps of Christ the Lord
 
We sing Chanel, Peter Chanel
We sing of courage, strong and true
We sing Chanel, Peter Chanel
Mary's tender voice made a gracious choice in you.
 
When times are tough
Our patience spent
The effort seems in vain
We can look to you
And begin anew
And set out in faith again
 
We sing Chanel……
 
 
'We sing Chanel', was commissioned by the New Zealand Province of the Society of Mary to commemorate the bi-centenary of St Peter Chanel's birth. It was recorded in 2003. Singing with me is my confrere, Peter Roe SM.
 
5.
 
Pilgrims of the Heart
 
Colin, Champagnat, Chavoin and Perroton
We come as pilgrims to this land you walked upon
Rekindling the fire that burned so strong
We the Marist Family
 
We rejoice and give thanks
With one voice for the life that we share
Colin, Champagnat, Chavoin and Perroton
We come as pilgrims of the heart.
 
The work of Mary is needed for our time
To live her spirit is a sure prophetic sign
The task ahead in the world is yours and mine
We the Marist Family
 
We rejoice and give thanks
With one voice for the life that we share
Colin, Champagnat, Chavoin and Perroton
We come as pilgrims of the heart.
 
Colin, Champagnat, Chavoin, Perroton and Pioneers
 
Colin, Champagnat, Chavoin and Perroton
We come as pilgrims of the heart.
We come as pilgrims of the heart.
 
I wrote this song to sing for our Marist Family group while in France visiting all the Marist places of origin. I know for the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary that Francoise Perroton is not so much a founder but the first pioneer of a number of women who travelled from France on mission to the South Pacific. I was pleased to find a place in the song to acknowledge those first pioneers.    
 
6.     
 
Mary, Mother of the Poor
 
Mary, Mother of the poor
Champion of Justice
Single Mother, refugee
You fully understand
 
Mary, bearer of the Son
Jesus, Saviour of the broken
Virgin daughter, chosen one
We all honour you
 
From the shadows into daylight          
You gave flesh to the Word
And gave hope to generations to come
From the moment you said 'Yes'
The world would never be the same
Mary, Mother of the poor we bless your name
 
Mary, echoing your Son
His call to liberation
You pondered in your heart
You followed in his way
 
All the lowly and the lost
The captive and the outcast
All those outside the door
Lift their eyes to you
 
 
I wrote this song in response to Donald Senior CP and his input on Mary in the Gospels when I attended the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago in 2002.  It was featured on my album 'Serenity'.
 
7.
 
Come fill the water jars

In Cana in Galilee there was a wedding feast
Jesus and Mary were there
Mary observed that the people had no wine
Such is her way, now is the time
          
Come fill the water jars
Fill them to the brim
He knows what you can do
Leave the rest to him
Come fill the water jars
There's work to be done
He knows what you can do
Leave the rest to my Son
 
In cities and villages from East and to the West
People are searching for love
To be like Mary with eyes open wide
Such is her way, she is our guide
 
Come fill the water jars…..
 
There's many a time and place that we may feel unsure
With little chance of success
To join in with Mary's humble simple yes
Echoes again her faithfulness
And when the day is through and all our work complete
And Jesus is there at our side
He'll come to take us home when we have passed
For he has saved the best wine till last 
 
Based on Jn 2:1-12 'The wedding feast at Cana '. This was a Marist Provincial retreat reflection in 2009 and is featured on my album, 'Like a beautiful day' 2010.  
 
8. Salve Regina (plainchant)
 
9.
 
Voices of our ancestors
 
Voices of our ancestors calling to our hearts
Shadows dancing on the walls
Watching over us
 
This chant like song first appeared on one of my early albums, 'Chants for Silence'. I have included it on this Marist album to honour all our Marist ancestors who have gone before us. It vividly came to mind when our Renewal Group visited Bon repos in Belley. There is plague on the chapel wall marking the place where Mother Mary Chavoin's body is interred behind the wall. 
 
 
10. Mary Gift (Holst/Pratley): The song was first featured on my album 'Truly Blessed'. 
 

11.

A wide-eyed vision
 
Drink from the well of solitude
Come rest awhile in La Neyliere
Gaze at the rolling hills and sky
Dream a wide-eyed vision
 
Honour the man who lies there in peace
And Mary's work, may it increase
Honour the ones who carried the founders flame
 
Receive from his life beatitude
This is our time here in this place
Call on his prayer for this we know
He dreamt a wide-eyed vision
 
He calls to us now to go do the same
Always in faith and in Mary's name
She is the one who carried the Word of Life
 
Come be the face of gratitude
Ring out a song of joy in your heart
Come be a light that people see
Dreaming a wide-eyed vision
 
Showing the world a Marian face
Disciples of hope for our human race
Drawing all those seeking the Reign of God
 
 
After our time as a Marist Family at the Hermitage, we travelled to La Neyliere, where Fr Jean Claude Colin spent the latter part of his life and is buried there. Fr Colin had such a broad vision for the Society of Mary and the landscape at La Neyliere captured this for me.
 
12.

We walk in confidence

We walk in confidence for you are life
You call and we respond for you are life
Your word is powerful
It cuts like a knife
We walk in confidence for you are life
 
I wrote this chorus to sing during a Marist Provincial retreat conducted by Jan Hulsoff SM, the Superior General of the Society of Mary at the time. His theme was 'with a more lively confidence' from the Constitutions of the Society of Mary, No. 7. It featured on my album 'Truly Blessed'.

13.
 
Flow Gentle River
 
Flow gentle river
Flow from the rock
Down from La Valla
Gently flow
 
God of creation
Source of new life
With our Good Mother
We give thanks
 
Speak loving Father
We long to hear your voice
Speak in the silence of our hearts
 
God of creation
Source of new life
With our Good Mother
We give thanks
 
Instrumental (verse and chorus)
 
Flow gentle Gier
Flow from the rock
Down from La Valla
Gently flow
God of creation  
Source of new life
With our Good Mother
We give thanks
 
The river Gier and the rock face from which the main building was hewn are dominant features of the geography at the Hermitage, near St Chamond and have huge symbolic significance for the Marist Brothers. As a Marist Family on Renewal in 2010, we had the privilege of staying at the Hermitage for 12 days and visiting the significant sites connected with St Marcellin Champagnat, the Marist project and the early brothers. I was particularly moved by the simplicity of the first school at La Valla. This song gives thanks for all that has been and is still to come.
 
14. 
 
Listen, Ponder (O Maria)  
 
Listen, Ponder, search for the meaning of life
And act like Mary did
Be open, ready, contemplate Mary
The Word will take flesh in our lives
O Maria, O Maria, Holy Mother, pray for us, pray for us  
 
This song first appeared on my album 'Overcome by Love' and is a duet sung with my mother, Catherine Grace Skinner (Grace). I was asked to celebrate Mass with the Marist Brothers at Sacred Heart College in Auckland a good number of years ago. The actual occasion escapes me now. I adapted these words from one of the Brother's publications and sang if for them during the liturgy. Mum was keen to include the words 'pray for us'.
 
 
15. O Maria Mater Amabalis (plainchant)
 

 

All songs featured in this collection 'Pilgrims of the Heart' are composed by Chris Skinner SM except Salve Regina , O Maria Mater Amabalis (traditional plain chant) and  Mary Gift (Holst/Pratley)
 

 
Copyright Chris Skinner SM 2011