Amazing Grace

On their album, These Two Hearts, the Foxhoven Family Singers sing the song “Amazing Grace” with some different lyrics. (See below for sample) They said these verses were part of the original version of the song. Does anyone have any information on this that could support their claim? I think these lyrics are amazing and I would like seem them replace the “traditional” lyrics when played at Mass.

Second bar forward:

"Amazing Grace, God’s love to me
Christ gives Himself to be
In broken bread and cup of wine
My life eternally

Our Blessed Lady, God’s own sign
Of what my life should be
All given to our gracious Lord
He lives His life in me.

The Church, Christ’s Body here on earth
His love, His life divine
Blest saving fold of God’s elect
She is His mystic sign"

It’s certainly possible that these lyrics could have been part of the originial lyrics, and left out as different denominations picked up the hymn. I have several hymnals that are quite old, but I don’t see any of these verses.

Until recently, I had never seen the verse “the Lord has promised good to me,” etc.

The song “Oh For A Thousand Tongues to Sing!” was written with 17 verses. Most hymnals include 4-6 of these verses.

Could it be possible that after the hymn was written, Catholics and other sacramental churches wrote these verses and substituted them or added them?

If anyone knows the true history, I would be interested.

I am a big advocate of singing ENTIRE hymns, not just picking and choosing verses. I think it’s sad that often Catholics only sing two verses of hymns (Protestants sing three verses, usually verse 1,2, and 4, skipping verse three. I wrote a song once called "The Forgotten Third Verse.).

In fact, in certain hymns like “Te Deum” and “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” this two-verse practice cuts the message of the hymn in half and leaves the singer hanging on a “bad” verse.

I’ve seen it done in Catholic churches. We visited one Catholic church in another state where ALL the verses of ALL the hymns were sung, and the priest carried in the hymnal when he processed, and stood front and center singing his heart out on all the verses! It was quite glorious, and to my knowledge, there is nothing in the GIRM that prohibits the singing of all the verses.

I’m a songwriter, and if I ever write any Catholic hymns, I will only write two verses.

Apparently, when it was first published it was not titled “Amazing Grace”, but “Hymn 41, Faith’s review and expectation”. It was based on First Chronicles, chapter 17, verses 16 and 17.

These are the lyrics recorded in the 1779 edition of “Olney Hymns”:

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, hut now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

  'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
  And grace my fears relieved;
  How precious did that grace appear,
  The hour I first believed!
  Through many dangers, toils and snares,
  I have already come;
  'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
  And grace will lead me home.
  The LORD has promised good to me,
  His word my hope secures;
  He will my shield and portion be,
  As long as life endures.
  Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
  And mortal life shall cease,
  I shall possess, within the veil,
  A life of joy and peace.
  The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
  The sun forbear to shine;
  But GOD, who called me here below,
  Will be for ever mine.

Apparently the same lyrics appeared in the 1808 edition of “Olney Hymns”, a year after the death of its composer, John Newton.
anointedlinks.com/amazing_grace.html
cgmusic.com/cghymnal/others/amazinggrace.htm#orig

I agree with most of what you have said; however, the last sentence of the 2nd verse, (sentence, verse? I’m not a song writer) should not be sung in a Catholic Church. Grace was there even before I “first believed”.

So Dale_M, as far as you know the verses above were not part of the original? Disappointing. These verses should be sung in a Catholic Church.

I agree. I guess we need to convince the hymnal publishers to change the lyrics!

I would agree (even as a Protestant) that Grace was there LONG before I believed. Its funny - I never saw the hymn as saying it wasn’t. I would read it as I first saw how precious that grace was in the hour I first believed. I can understand how other people might see it differently though. I was confused why many said that this hymn (one of my favorites) wasn’t in line with Catholic doctrine. Are there other instances in the song where it also contradicts?

I have always taken that verse to mean ‘how precious did that grace appear (to me)…’ That is, the singer appreciated the preciousness of grace, once he believed.

I’ve never agreed with those who think those lyrics are innapropriate for Catholics.

God Bless

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