Song du Jour

Song du Jour

Benedictine Thoughts, Teachings, and Prayers

The Breath of God

September 10, 2012

God’s breath becomes our breath; he gave us our breath from his when we were born. Our breath is made up of air, wind, and spirit that keeps us alive. When we are calm, we take longer breaths; when we are anxious, we take shorter breaths; when we are suffering with a cold, we labor to breathe. The key is to breathe freely. When we are one with God, our breathing has a rhythmic flow where we inhale with our nose and exhale through our nose. When we want to spiritually clear our souls, we inhale pure thoughts and exhale all impurities from our mind, body and soul.

Our breath is one of many gifts from God that we take for granted each and every day. I have never counted how many times I inhale and exhale in a day but our breath goes on and on even while we sleep.

 We need our breath to support our words and controlled breath to support our singing notes. Imagine a sailboat without a motor just rocking in the ocean awaiting a steady stream of wind. It cannot move without the wind. It is the same with our words and notes…without our breath we cannot push out our words and lyrics. Sometimes when we are speaking or singing, we begin to run out of air and then have to take a quick gasp to finish our spoken thoughts. A productive exercise for strengthening your breath is to think of yourself as an old fashioned radiator. Begin by inhaling as much air as you can with your nose, hold your breath, position upper and lower teeth together, then hiss only letting a very small amount of air to escape and see how long you can sustain the hissing sound. If you do this regularly, you can build up your breathing capacity while having more control over your own breath.

My “Song du Jour” this week is “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.”


Breathe on me, breath of God

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.


Edwin Hatch in 1878 wrote the lyrics to this hymn and Robert Jackson composed the melody in 1888. This hymn gives us a daily focus as to how God’s breath becomes our breath.

After contemplating on our wind capacity from our lungs, I cannot help but think about this quote from Scripture:

"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

God's wind and spirit blow through us and if we are open, we will follow the spirit wind.  Knowing that God's breath is breathing for me and in me, helps me look at life so differently.  I walk with a lilt in my step and my head looking upward knowing that the gift of breath does not come from me.  Hildegard de Bingen wanted  to be a feather on the breath of God; I know now that I would love to be a feather following God's wind as well.


"That in all things, God may be glorified"

Sr. Jo-El McLaughlin, O.S.B.




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