Meaningful Music: ALIVE AGAIN by Matt Maher

It’s no secret that music has the ability to change and affect our mood. Whether it’s listening to a happy song to raise your spirits or playing a sentimental song to remember someone, the power of music in undeniable. Even more so, the type of music we surround ourselves with can have a huge impact. As followers of Christ, living in the world we do, we have the amazing opportunity to surround ourselves with music praising and worshiping God. Not only that, but there are literally THOUSANDS of Christian artists and bands just waiting to be discovered. If only there was a way to learn more about Christian music…

Wait—there is!
The Catholic Cemeteries Association will feature Christian songs on our blog with our new segment: Meaningful Music. Keep reading for this week’s song!

Alive Again- Matt Maher

Matt Maher- Alive Again .jpg
Photo Credit

 

Matt Maher has been in the Christian music industry for nearly a decade. His uplifting and praise-filled songs reflect the joy of Christ’s love while still maintaining a healthy reverence, and his mixture of more classic and conservative songs with ones that reflect modern music trends make him popular across a wide variety of people. One of his most popular songs, Alive Again, is a true testimony to life-giving power Christ has—let’s take a closer look at some of the lyrics:

The song starts with Maher singing:

I woke up in darkness surrounded by silence
Oh where, where have I gone?
I woke to reality losing its grip on me
Oh where, where have I gone?

Maher reflects something all of us have felt at some point in our lives—lost, distant, alone. We are surrounded, in many ways, by a very secular culture. Because of this, it’s easy to lose ourselves to things other than Christ and Maher isn’t afraid to address this symbolic spiritual death. “Where have I gone?” is repeated, highlighting the desperation and confusion that we experience when our relationship with Christ is broken. However, Maher doesn’t hover on this too long before bringing up the healing power of Christ by saying;

‘Cause I can see the light before I see the sunrise

You called and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I’m breathing in and breathing out
I’m alive again

Maher is able to communicate so much in these 9 lines. First, Maher reminds us that before we can “see the sun rise” we must first “see the light.” In other words, when we find ourselves in darkness, we must turn to Christ first, who is the eternal light of the world, before we can hope to pull ourselves out of the darkness of sin. Christ alone can help us break free from whatever is taking us away from God. As the chorus continues, Maher outlines how Christ continues to fight against the walls we put up between ourselves and God. He depicts Christ as a warrior of sorts, constantly fighting to free us and make us all “alive again.”

If you have time, listen to the full song. It is packed with the uplifting knowledge that Christ will not abandon us, even in our darkest times, and reminds us that Christ is here to fight for us and give us the chance of eternal life.

 

To listen to the full song, click the link below!

 

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

5 simple ways to grow closer to Christ

To say that we live in a busy world is an understatement. So many people find themselves caught in the constant sweep of responsibility and obligation, leaving little time for prayer, personal time, or even sleep! With all this hustle and bustle, it can be hard to find time to pray, or simply be present and allow Christ to enter into our lives. While it’s important to be responsible and take charge of your own life, it’s equally important to give Christ control of your life by growing closer to him and trusting him to direct you on the proper path. Here are 5 simple ways to grow closer to Christ that will help you live a more spiritual, peaceful, and blessed life.

cross-1448946_1920.jpg

1. Wake up thankful

In today’s world, we are constantly surrounded by stressors. Be it work, school, health concerns, or personal problems—stress is not something one can ignore or simply wish away. It’s easy to focus on everything that’s going wrong in your life, and even easier to blame yourself, or others, or sometimes even God on why life may not be going your way. However, you must fight this impulse and instead of waking up and running through the list of tasks you have to get done that day, stop– take a breather– and say “thank you” to Christ for waking you up that day. Run through a list of things that you are grateful for each morning, and thank God for giving them to you. By starting your day thanking Christ, you carry Him with you throughout your day, knowing that He has already blessed you in countless ways.

2. Spend time in prayer EVERY DAY

This may seem self-explanatory– but sometimes with all the demands that come with life we forget to take a few moments and talk to God. Prayer doesn’t need to take hours, or be extremely complex. Prayer (in its most simple form) is thanking God for blessings, asking for forgiveness, and requesting prayers for yourself and others. In fact, Pope Francis has introduced the 5 finger method of prayer that helps structure prayer while also reminding you to pray each day. If you’re interested in reading more about the 5 finger approach to prayer– please check out our blog post Pope Francis’ Five Finger Prayer.

3. Read scripture

We’ve all read biographies of people we find interesting, or perhaps memoirs or autobiographies of famous people and their various adventures. Wouldn’t it be great if God had left us autobiography? NEWSFLASH– He did!! The Bible is God’s story; it shows us how He’s interacted with human kind since the beginning of time. By reading the Bible and diving into scripture, you can better understand Christ and follow the examples of the countless Biblical figures that came before us. If you don’t know where to begin, start by doing the daily Mass readings each morning. There are also several free apps available to Catholics such as Laudate and Catholic Bible that help you read the Bible and/or daily mass readings at your own pace.

4. Join a Bible study or other church group

Joining a local Bible study or prayer group can be very helpful in strengthening your relationship to Christ. Actively learning about and exploring your faith allows you to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. Plus, surrounding yourself with other faithful people can increase your dedication to prayer and Christ.

5. Talk to Him when you’re bored

This might be the simplest thing you do all day- but there is so much power behind it. Christ is constantly trying to communicate with us, and encourages us to invite Him into every aspect of our lives. So, when you have a few moments, if you’re bored at work or on your drive home, or if you’re having a particularly bad day, don’t be afraid to take a few moments and have a quick talk with God. Your hands don’t need be folded, and your eyes don’t need to be closed. All you need is a prayerful mindset and the knowledge that God is always there to encourage you and listen.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Pope Francis’ Five Finger Prayer

Don’t be embarrassed– it happens to the best of us. You can try as hard as you can, carve out time every day, and still find yourself forgetting to pray. Or sometimes, you remember to pray but you’re just not sure what to pray for or how to start. Well, luckily for all of us, our Holy Father Pope Francis has a quick trick for anyone needing some extra prayer inspiration or remembrance. Not only does this prayer method outline the basic elements of proper prayer, but it involves something you see everyday– your hand! Keep reading to learn about Pope Francis’ Five Finger Prayer.

hand.jpg

1. The Thumb

The thumb is the finger closest to you, so pray for your family and friends first. These are the people you see every day and interact with the most– they deserve your prayers and intentions. Try thinking of a friend who is struggling, or a family member who needs special intentions and offer up a prayer for them.

2. The Index Finger

This is the finger used to teach, discipline, and communicate. When you pray, take time to offer intentions for those who teach and inspire you– those who help you grow and learn as a person. Think of someone who has made a positive impact on your life, such as a teacher or supervisor and pray that they receive the knowledge and strength to continue teaching you and others.

3. The Third Finger

This is the tallest finger– remember to pray for the giants in society, such as those who lead our country, our Church, and our world. They need constant guidance and wisdom from the Lord to make right and just decisions. Pray for those that have authority over you. Remember that power implies responsibility and obligation which isn’t a simple feat. Think of a local politician, church leader, or authority figure and pray that they receive the knowledge, patience, and proper judgement that comes with their position.

4. The Ring Finger

This is the weakest finger, and it reminds us to pray for the weakest members of society. Be it those who are homeless, refugees, the dying, or the sick, remember to offer intentions for the marginalized groups in society. These are people often overlooked, so they are in desperate need of our prayers. Think of those people who don’t have the same blessings you do, and offer a prayer that they might receive blessings and grace from God.

And finally… 

5. The Pinky

As the smallest finger, let your pinky remind you to pray for yourself. After praying for the previous four groups, you can then pray for yourself with proper perspective. However, while your intentions may be different from other groups of people, don’t forget that every intention is worth bringing to God. No problem is too big or too small.  He wants to hear it all.

 

 

 

Information gathered from: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=3396

Post written by Katie Karpinski