Praying and Praising with Audrey Assad

The first time I encountered Audrey Assad‘s prayer through music, I was stunned silent. It was during an August sunset, and she was only a guest appearance during Matt Maher‘s charity concert. Before this point, she was only an unknown backup vocalist… but when she started singing her Restless… nobody wanted her to be merely a backup anymore.

Audrey AssadYesterday night I had the chance to see Audrey again on her final tour. So much of it felt like a reunion of sorts, but I also noticed and appreciated the beautiful and subtle ways she has changed since 2010’s experience.

She was not center stage this time — not even close! She put herself off to the side, and made sure icons and masterpieces of the Faith were our focus. The artwork would appear distorted at first, and only gradually become recognizable as we prayed with Audrey through song.

And she didn’t just sing, but she led us in prayer. She moved away from the mic and would let us take over — hinting to us that our voice is beautiful too. We needed to pray while she hushed.

And hushed… and hushed until she backed away from stage, unknown to us. She left us praying and praising Christ at the end, herself decreased to the point of absence, Himself increased to the point of sole presence.

It was clear she wanted to remind us that we were gathered there for Jesus — not for anyone else, not for her. Even after the whole show, she was nowhere to be found, because she wanted us to find Christ instead.

And I think a lot of us did find Him.

As my brother seminarians and I drove home after, we prayed and praised God the whole way. I really don’t think the other fans were doing anything different either as they went home that night.

Thank you, Audrey [and Bellarive!] — may Mary keep you and your beloveds close to her Son’s Sacred Heart always.

Some favorites:

Lastly, check out this post for how to move to Audrey’s You Speak… yes, you read right: move. As in dance. With me.

Godzilla and the True God

Godzilla 2014The turf of my childhood has a Godzilla-sized shape carved into it. In fact, when I was a first-grader, I was so obsessed about the radioactive beast that I made a shrine for him one day atop my dresser — complete with train wreck, car in mouth and hand, and ocean surf at his feet! The water leaked and blistered the wood finish of course, and Mom made me take it down, but my fanhood stayed with me. Everything had to be Godzilla! It got to the point that even my humble little computer teacher in Catholic school became uncomfortable whenever I said Godzilla since it seemed to him to mock the name of the True God.

So when I found out there was another effort to remake the classic (my favorite was Godzilla 1985), it was difficult to pass up the film on the big screen.

And if you didn’t notice, I’m the most scrupulous film viewer I know. Mix that movie-scrupulosity with my super-serious-Catholicity and whaddya get? Well… let me show you with a screenshot:

[Click image for better view]

[Click image for better view. Elle Brody is played by Elizabeth Olsen.]

And I’m pretty sure my working knowledge of Catholic iconography is decent. Anyway, what’s an overt Catholic medal doing on the necklace of a summer blockbuster’s actress?

Well, everything that goes into a shot of any film means that the director approved of it. Everything in every scene cost work and money to put there, and producers and directors won’t waste time and money making sure things show up on a frame, unless they want it to. So the fact that this medal is blatantly focused in on, with the shot resting on Elle and with her medal clearly noticeable, one has to think either: (a) Elizabeth Olsen insisted on wearing the medal and director Gareth Edwards approved of it, or (b) director Gareth Edwards insisted the medal be part of the actress’ costume, and Elizabeth didn’t object. Other than those two paths of thought, anything else is a stretch…

HALO jumpersBut then there was the scene of the military personnel preparing for the now-famous HALO jump scene. Just before their jump, we hear a Christian praying to God, thanking the Lord Jesus for allowing him and the other men to serve others with their lives. Now that is pretty obvious that there is a Christian presence to this film — a presence I definitely did not expect but was pleasantly surprised by. After all, these scenes both vindicated me that Godzilla is not a mockery of the True God.

Anyway, just wanted to point out those God-fearing tidbits in Godzilla. If you do decide to give it two hours of your time, know that it’s definitely a fun flick with a big emphasis on mothers and fathers and their children, on husbands and wives and their faithful marriages, and of course on the king of the monsters. Gojira!