What is so wrong with the hymn "Gift of Finest Wheat"?

Hey everyone. What is so wrong with they hymn called “Gift of Finest Wheat”. It’s one of my favorites but I’ve heard plenty of complaints about it over the years.

Here it is on Youtube. Lyrics are in the description.


Good question, but what are the kinds of complaints you’ve heard?

Schutte, Haugen and Haas often get complaints about their music from the more traditional crowd because they feel their music is too touchy-feely or broadway or bubble-gum (all three terms I’ve actually heard people use, including one who is a prominent author and another who is a professor). They feel music like theirs lacks the majesty of the older songs, one of the frequent complaints we hear about the postconciliar Church of the last fifty years.

My stance on it is that those songs can be great – as long as it’s played on the organ and there’s a good musical conductor with a good choir. Guitars are a nice novelty every now and then but shouldn’t be the norm. Stuff like that makes Mass mundane which is why so many people don’t bother going anymore since they never feel the transcendence or solemnity in it anymore.

I’m guessing the complaints you’ve heard are along the same lines as that? On Eagle’s Wings is another example of one that could be great but usually isn’t because of bad music direction at the parishes. The list goes on, really.

If a song is in the Catholic hymnal there is nothing “wrong” about it. Not everyone has the same musical tastes, that’s all.

I love that hymn and have not heard a complaint. I would only guess complaints must be from people who prefer more traditional hymns.

To me, it’s maudlin. I especially loathe the “hungry heart” line. Also sick of “Taste and See”.

Good answer.

Man, just as a regular church attendee, I LOVE both of those songs, Gift of finest wheat and Eagle’s Wings… I’ve never heard anything bad about either one… But then, I don’t get out much… :slight_smile:

The words “Taste and See” are lifted directly from psalm 33(34), and forms the words of the communion antiphon for the 15th Sunday of OT, in the Graduale Romanum (official Gregorian chant repertory for the Mass). It is also used at other Masses as well.

In Latin, the antiphon is “Gustate et videte, quoniam suavis est Dominus: beatus vir, qui sperat in eo.”

“O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him” (or more literally: blessed is he who places his hope in Him).

I don’t know the rest of the lyrics of the hymn beyond “Taste and See”, but certainly “Taste and see” has a solid foundation. Nothing more Catholic than singing a psalm verse at the Mass!!!

Both songs are beautiful. There is always someone who will complain without a clear explanation as to why. I pray for them.

Almost all of Taste and See is drawn directly from the Psalms. The refrain itself is from Psalm 34.

O taste and see that the LORD is good!
Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!

(Psalm 34:8)

The melody is one thing but the words are taken almost verbatim from the Bible.


Theological understanding?
When you sing “Gift of Finest Wheat” and are about to receive the Body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord, do you have the understanding that it is still Wheat (finest) or that the change has occurred although still under the appearance of Bread and Wine?

Some of these I rank as good, better and best at what we believe (theological understanding).

It is a beautiful melody. Not my favorite as we, Catholics, have a deeper understanding and belief of the Body and Blood of Christ in communion.

I like it, too. :slight_smile:

And Gift of Finest Wheat also has roots in the psalms.

Ps. 80(81):

I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.

Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

That is where the confusion comes in as our Psalms are great, but we have the completion of salvation with Christ (new Testament). The way they are incorporated, worded does matter theologically.
For me, I compare it to O Sacrament Most Holy.

That is why I rate some good/better/best.

Yes, but even Jesus calls it bread, as does Paul. I like it because of its theology. It actually has a verse, “Is not the cup we drink and share the blood of Christ out poured.” Not all hymns have such an obvious transubstantiation verse.

But, he went one to say (which caused some to walk away)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:53–56).

That is where we differ in our understanding of transubstantiation with other Christians.

The almost all of Gregorian chant for the Mass, including introits and communion antiphons, is rooted in the psalms. The antiphon is either a bible of psalm verse (rarely, a verse of praise), and the verse(s) following the antiphon are always a psalm or canticle verse.

The psalms also form the root of the Liturgy of the Hours.

They are the most Catholic of prayers. Not only do they capture every human sentiment, hope, aspiration, disappointment, etc., but they prophecy the New Covenant in Christ as the two hymns being discussed here do. It is why they are so theologically important, and as a rule, left as is.

I can live with lyrics that border on the insipid if the melody is good.

It is difficult for me to think of a more boring melody than this hymn. It just wanders around. Some melodies virtually invite you to sing them. Some require that you work hard to make yourself sing them. This one is of the latter sort.

I see what you are saying but the difference to me, and I try to chant the psalms in the LOTH, is that one is the psalms and the other is an adaptation of it - with their own theological views/understanding to go along.

I know that “Taste and See” is from the psalms, but we use it too often at our parish. I wish we would sing something like “At that first Eucharist” instead.

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