The Joy of Life-Giving Love

Feb 4, 2020

“If music be the food of love, play on.”  So said Shakespeare some 400 years ago.  But King David 3000 years ago too used and loved music, as we read in Scriptures.  In Shakespeare’s quote a lovelorn suitor begs the music to kill his appetite for love, while David and so many others have played and sung and danced for God in worship and celebration.  Words and music together are a powerful prayer according to St Augustine, “to sing is to pray twice.” Music is an expression of love, used in adoration of God, and even also of many a beloved, a woman or a man, of aspects of the beauty of nature and, it seems, even pets have their favourite playlists.

The recent Johannesburg performance of the glorious and world-famous Beethoven’s 9th symphony had its chorus as an Ode to Joy and sang of the Creator as a Loving Father.  Right up my alley, of course, with MARFAM’s 2020 focus on eco-families and creation, and the February family theme of life-giving love.

I wonder how many Catholics know the hymn GOD OUR MAKER MIGHTY FATHER sung to that same Beethoven melody with words set by the late Archbishop Hurley. One of the few hymns that includes marriage, i covers all of creation and all of salvation history and has just the right beautiful and appropriate message for Sunday 9th February which can be celebrated as WORLD MARRIAGE DAY.


God, our Maker, mighty Father, all creation sings Your praise,
sun and stars in all their splendour, moon in ev’ry changing phase,
earth with all its trees and grasses, sparkling rivers, ocean blue,
all unite to pay You homage, singing joyously to You.

Provident and wise Creator, as Your mighty plan unfurled,
man You made to share Your labour in the building of the world.
Man and woman You created, that united, heart and home,
they might work and strive together till Your endless kingdom come.

God of truth and love unbounded, further still Your mercy went,
when uniting earth with heaven, Your incarnate Son You sent:
first-born of Your vast creation, holding all in unity, leading all in
power and wisdom to a glorious destiny.
                               text by Denis E.Hurley tune of Beethoven 9th symphony

Pope Francis’ 2016 Apostolic Exhortation on marriage and family life has as its title THE JOY OF LOVE – AMORIS LAETITIA. He presents a vision of life-giving love, particularly within marriage, where ideally new life is conceived in love and where all life should be nurtured and protected at every stage.  The reality today, with regard to marriage and the various forms of family life, is far from that ideal.  However the Southern African Church’s vision in the new PASTORAL PLAN, and in various diocesan programmes and many ministries to families, strives for that ideal.  At the same time and encouragingly the SA Government’s policy of Family Preservation also strives to build and strengthen families in a life-giving way.

On World Marriage Day a focus on marriage as a Sacrament of the Church for the Church, with “our couples,” as a celebration for everyone, young and old, married or not, can be a special event.  And if possible sing the hymn (remember sung is prayed 2x) or at least pray the words 1x, giving glory to God and joy to one another.  Read more  @


I would dearly love to use the hymn as a signature tune for FAMILY MATTERS programme I present weekly on Radio Veritas, but up to now we haven’t found a suitable recording.  Help anyone!

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