This Best Ignatian Song comes from Kristi Gonsalves-McCabe, director of University Ministry at Regis University in Denver. She writes:
I’ve lived in Colorado for 9 years now—and you can’t be here too long without falling in love with some of John Denver’s music. So in that spirit (and hoping my age won’t be too obvious), I want to nominate John Denver’s Annie’s song as a “best Ignatian song.” It’s a love song to God—almost a “finding God in all things” anthem. It reminds me of the oft-quoted Hopkins poem, “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
It’s a perfect combination of lyric, melody, phrasing, and rhythm. I think the three-quarter time plants it in that place in your head where songs settle down and stay a while. Lyrics here.
The first time I heard this song I was reminded very strongly of the song of songs, which many historians and religious leaders believe began as a secular love poetry, or a collection of love songs. Over time, first the Jewish and later the Christian traditions began to teach the song as an allegory of the love of God for people, both collectively and individually. When I first learned of the Song of Songs, it struck me as very radical and different from much of the other interpretive teachings of God in the bible.
Annie’s Song reminds me strongly of the Song of Songs, and is perhaps easier than the latter to interpret as an allegory for a person’s relationship with God.
Thanks for Annie’s song. Nature is for me a very tangible way to feel, touch, smell, see God, to let go of my worries and to recharge my awareness of God’s presence and love. Annie’s is for me a contemplative Love song impelling me to live the the Servant Song.
Praised be God for St. Ignatius and his Followers.
Profound love for a human being can also be an encounter with God…as can the contemplation of our marvellous world. I was struck by the fact that the Callanish stones on the Hebrides are in the video. I never felt so close to God as when I went to the Hebrides…
Lovely song, lovely images!
Annie’s song by John Denver is so beautiful…..actually this song was written as a love letter from John to his wife on a Marriage Encounter Weekend. I also thin another of his song’s “Come Follow Me” is also a great Ignatian Song, I took it to my Spiritual Director who in turned used it for one of our gatherings. It spoke to me when we contemplated the scripture where Jesus calls his disciples (fishermen).
Thanks for the input about Annie’s Song, I will now look at it as a song to God as well, as the love two people in love share.
Peace to all,
A beautiful song with so much meaning, Thank you. May God be praised forever.
Jim, it took me this long to get God Finds Us from our library – such a lineup of people waiting for it after purchase and of course they all take a hundred years to read it. Wonderful refresher, spent all day studying.
Lovely song after a disturbing day…where has all the beautiful music gone?
I read that John Denver wrote this song as a love tribute to his wife, Annie, following a particularly intense time of their marriage. I’d never thought of it as a love song to God, but can see how it works that way, too. I live in the Canadian west, so the beautiful scenery in the accompanying video looks very familiar to me. When you’re in the Rocky Mountains you realize how very small man is compared to the surrounding peaks, yet also how much God must love us to have become one of us for a time in order to redeem us.
Kristi, thank you for this suggestion. I never thought of this song as a love song to God. From now on I will. The video reflection is lovely too. Jim Martin SJ has a great related video “Praying with Nature” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37KTD9K04Nk on this spiritual practice.
What a beuatiful choice. I haven’t heard this song in so long, and I had forgoten how lovely it is.
I never thought about it as a song to God before. In reading the lyrics this morning and Kristi’s reflection. I thought maybe the first verse could be our song to God, and the second God’s response to that prayer. Or maybe God’s invitation, if all starts with His initiative.
Thank you for this!