By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Catholic Salutes Luther's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"

It's a great hymn that you even sing, at times, in Catholic churches. I heard it today in concert in the fourth movement of Mendelssohn's Fifth Symphony (the aptly named "Reformation Symphony"). It was exquisite. You do yourself a favor by finding a recording of the hymn (see link). Below is the text of the old hymn--whose majestic German title is "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott." The hymn is based on Psalm 46. For more information on Mendelssohn's related symphony, see this link.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Source link.

(Image below of Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-47, in public domain)