Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Lord We Lift Your Name

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"And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong wind,

and it filled the entire house in which they were. Acts 2:2 

More than a dozen years ago, it was my (Ann's) privilege and joy to chaperone groups of teens from St. Mary Church in Evansville, IN, to Saint Meinrad's "One Bread, One Cup" summer leadership conference. Three different summers, I watched as our teens found great joy in their faith and grew in understanding of what it means to be Catholic in today's world.

The teens from those summers have long since finished school and are making their way in the world. The experience at Saint Meinrad planted their feet on solid ground and helped me remember why I had agreed to become a youth minister at that point in life. Below is my journal entry from the end of one of those weeks:

The summer youth leadership week at Saint Meinrad has been life-changing for more than 100 high school juniors and seniors from across the country, including eight from my parish. The closing candlelight prayer service in the Archabbey Church, beneath soaring gothic arches, stained glass windows and polished woodwork underscored the reverence and awe that had been building in our hearts all week.  

All too soon, the closing prayer service ended. Lights that had been dimmed were turned up. We extinguished candles. Then, softly in the background, the organist played a familiar tune known to most of our teens. "Lord I Lift Your Name on High"echoed the gratitude we felt. Voices joined in whispers at first, then rising with each chorus until, with lights blazing, our praise swelled into a mighty anthem.

Long ago, a little band of believers, perhaps a hundred or so, huddled in a room while they waited for what? While praying quietly, lest authorities hear, a breeze stirred, the air brightened. Who could have guessed what happened next would turn the world upside down? Light crossed faces, penetrated hearts and joy poured out of them like new wine overflowing stone pots at Cana.

I look at the hundred or so bright young faces around me, joined with arms across shoulders, others with arms around waists, swaying as one body. Louder we sing until, with the weight of our rising praise, the stained glass windows begin to vibrate.

Another chaperone and I exchange nervous glances, raise an eyebrow, but there is no stopping these voices. In the presence of unbridled prayer, praise and organ blending now at full throttle, souls shake and we are one until, energy spent, the crowd dissolves into hugs, tears and laughter.

This will not be the first or the last time a small band of souls, transformed by the Spirit, goes out to change the world.   

Prayer: Lord, may we forever lift Your name!

"Lord I Lift Your Name on High"

Sung by: MercyMe

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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.


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