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The Bishop’s Wife

 

A fine Christmas movie is The Bishop’s Wife from 1947.    David Niven is an Episcopalian bishop of a struggling diocese;  Loretta Young (ironically one of the more devout Catholics in the Hollywood of her time) is his wife;  and Cary Grant is Dudley, one of the more unimportant angels in Heaven, sent by God to lend the Bishop a hand.  The film is a graceful comedy which effectively and quietly underlines the central importance of faith in God as we see in this little scene when undercover angel Dudley, Cary Grant, uses his powers to summon a tardy boy’s choir for an unforgettable rendition of O Sing to God:

 

O sing to God your hymns of gladness,
Ye loving hearts your tribute pay;
Your Lord is born this happy day.

Then pierce the sky with songs of gladness,
Disperse the shades of gloom and sadness;
O sing to God your hymns of gladness.

Mark how the Mother lulls to slumber
Her new born Babe with tenderest love,
And guards her treasure from above!

O blessed Child with her who bore Thee,
We, too, will kneel in faith before Thee.
O God Incarnate, we adore Thee!

O Word of God for us incarnate,
By faith we hear Thine angels sing,
Their hymns of praise to Thee their King.

We join with them in adoration,
We pour to Thee our supplication,
That Thou wouldst grant us, Lord, salvation

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

2 Comments

  1. It never fails. When ever you present a clip from a movie from long ago and far away I inevitably go to the next one and the next and on. This is one movie I have long remembered and it saddens me not to see it presented on TV, especially during the Christmas season. Heart warming, refreshing, affirming reminder of how important the birth of The Child is, but so sad to see how commercial such an important day has become, beginning as far before as Hallowe’en. It is true that three wise men brought gifts, tokens appropriate for their time, but look at what has since happened; we prod children to compose wish lists, ask adults what they want. We were not put on earth to grant wishes. It has gotten so easy to just ‘buy’, often with little thought, finery and goods and toys that will eventually be long forgotten and sometimes not much appreciated. To give is a beautiful thing, I do it gladly, but I believe that gifts made by our hands with our hearts to God, promises to help make life sweeter and easier for another, are so much more meaningful, no matter how small, genuinely expressing personal thoughtfulness and love for the receiver. It saddens me each year to observe what we have done to Christmas, how we celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

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