Bishop Barron’s Tribute to Bob Dylan

In honor of Bob Dylan’s eightieth birthday, Bishop Barron sung a verse from one of his favorite of Dylan’s songs in tribute:

He does a really good job. This is one hell of a birthday tribute.

As a side note, Bob Dylan is a curious figure—one of the most popular singers of all time, but not exactly gifted with a great voice. To be fair, he’s famous as a singer on the strength of his writing rather than his singing; there are many of his songs I haven’t heard, but the best versions of all of his songs I know of are covers. Heck, Bishop Barron sings the song better than Dylan did in the recording that I looked up of the original.

Just to pick an example at random, Jeff Healey did When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky sooo much better:

I think just about every cover of Blowin in the Wind was better than Bob Dylan’s. My favorite is Peter, Paul, and Mary’s:

That, by the way, doesn’t have the best audio—it clips sometimes. This version is a much cleaner recording:

I think you can make a decent case that even William Shatner’s version of Hey Mr. Tambourine Man is better than the original, but I don’t think that there’s much argument that the Byrd’s version is the best:

When it comes to The Times They Are a Changin’ I think that Dylan’s version is closer to some of the covers, but still Simon and Garfunkel did it way better:

To be fair, his voice works much better for Like a Rolling Stone:

If you compare it to the Rolling Stones’ version, I think it’s about a draw:

Anyway, here is the full version of the song which Bishop Barron sang a verse from (Every Grain of Sand):

The lyrics really are brilliant. Consider this verse, which comes shortly before what Bishop Barron sang:

I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand

It’s quite profound. Or again, this verse that comes right before it:

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay

Somehow these few words capture both the complexity and the simplicity of sin; and of the desperate need to escape it once you can see clearly enough to see it for what it is.

Bishop Barron on Giving and Receiving

In an interesting review of a book/movie called The Gold Finch, Bishop Barron talks about the subject of giving and receiving:

It’s a good video and I recommend watching it.

I’d like to add that people (not Bishop Barron) tend to view giving as if it is somehow the enemy of having, but it is, in reality, the receipt of something else. People too often take the idea that we are made in the image of God to be exclusively about how we are rational. It is, certainly, about that, but I think people too often neglect that, in the words of Saint James, God is love. Love being the willing of the good of the other for his own sake, this can also be translated that God is gift.

To be made in the image of God means not only that we can rationally understand the nature of creation, and not only that we have the intellect and will to choose good or evil, but that we partake in this divine nature of giving. In us, who are contingent creatures, we must first receive in order to give. But in giving away what we’ve been given, we are receiving the gift of taking part in the divine life of generosity.

Too often, people think of giving things away as reducing the self. As a noble self-sacrifice, it is true, but none the less as a form of self sacrifice. As if it is good to diminish ourselves. But this is not right; it is not good that we become less. The key is that in giving away, we become more, because giving is participation in the divine. It is a privilege to be able to give.

For us finite human beings it is complicated, of course, by the fact that we are surrounded by more recipients than we have ability to give to. This is probably magnified a thousand fold in modern life where we are surrounded by strangers and only a phone call away from a few billion people. Figuring out what it is given to us to give and what it is not given to us to give is an enormous challenge. In fact, much sin has at its root grasping at something we were not given to give.

Looking at life from the right perspective does not make it easy to get right, but it does at least make it possible to get right.