Catholic artist Marie Miller’s latest music is an uplifting dive into the faith

(OSV News) — The newest music from Catholic singer-songwriter Marie Miller’s feels as easily played at a retreat as driving in the car with the windows rolled down.

To create “The Way of Love,” released on streaming platforms May 31, Miller said she leaned deeply into “the treasure chest of the church” to inspire her music. The resulting five-song extended play album is an uplifting, prayer-provoking collection. “The faith is the greatest gift I can give to anyone, and so why not focus on that?” she said.

A devout upbringing

Miller, 35, grew up on a vineyard in the Virginia countryside, not far from where she lives today in Rappahannock County, Virginia. She and her nine siblings played bluegrass music and frequented daily Mass. “My parents are very devout and so even at a young age I loved the faith because they made it so attractive,” she said.

As a teenager, she signed with Curb Records, and her song “You’re Not Alone” reached the No. 1 spot on Christian radio. Other career highs include touring with Five For Fighting and playing in front of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015. “6’2,” a song about imagining her future husband, was featured on the television show “Dancing with the Stars.” She’s been married for a year and a half; her husband is 6’4, she admits with a laugh.

Shifting focus to faith

Though never shy about her faith, for much of Miller’s career her music had a more general appeal, she said. “I usually write about experiences that have happened in my life, a lot of heartbreak songs, and this album I didn’t have to depend on myself and my life,” she told OSV News. “It’s me bringing out the church’s beautiful words, maybe in a new, fresh way that people haven’t heard before and (hoping) that it would draw them closer to the Lord.”

At first, it felt intimidating to write such an overtly Catholic album, said Miller. But when she was watching the television show “The Chosen,” she was inspired by the way God used the disciples to carry out his mission. “I’m so broken and I need (God) so much and that’s why I’m writing about him,” she said. “You don’t have to be a saint to tell the story of Jesus Christ, because he’s the one who’s going to save.”

Sources of inspiration

Though the album was inspired by the life and works of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the topics of Miller’s songs jump from Gospel stories to T.S. Eliot quotes to the prayers of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The chorus of the sunny, mandolin-tinged single, “The Way of Love,” is taken from a St. Thérèse of Lisieux quote — “How sweet is the way of Love! One can fall, I know; there may be infidelities, yet Love knows how to turn all things to profit, quickly consuming everything which might displease Jesus.”

“Sweet Company,” a winsome tribute to the power of adoration, opens with the words, “Out of the darkness of my life/ So much frustration and pain/ I find a quiet red candle/ And I wait.” The Eucharistic presence of Christ has been a constant in her many travels, said Miller. “It has been such a great gift to me, not only where I am but where I am in life,” she said. “If I’m going through a time of trial, a time of joy, of confusion, he’s always with us and we never do this by ourselves.”

“Woman,” a collaboration between Miller and songwriters Sarah Hart and Sarah Kroger, highlights Christ’s relationship with women through the experiences of Mary Magdalene, the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well. Miller sings the part of the woman at the well. “I’ve always been so fascinated with the idea of Jesus thirsting for us,” she said. “(Jesus says to the woman), ‘Give me a drink,’ which is this amazing thing that there’s something I can bring to Jesus that satisfies his thirst.”

Trusting in St. Thérèse

Miller hopes to perform the new songs in what she calls musical presentations, a mix of original songs, hymns and praise and worship music chosen to represent a particular aspect of St. Thérèse’s spirituality all interspersed with stories and reflections.

“I call her the patroness of this album,” said Miller. “She just accompanied me in all my writing and I asked her to be the guide for each of these songs. She believed everything you do should be for love.”

While Miller hopes the music reaches a wide audience, she said her biggest priority is being faithful to God and doing little things with love. “The cool thing is when you make St. Thérèse your patroness, you then put it in her hands,” she said. “I have been performing for so many years, and I have been down so many roads hoping that they would make me happy. The way of love is the only road that leads us towards our hearts deepest longing, union with God.”

This post Catholic artist Marie Miller’s latest music is an uplifting dive into the faith appeared on Our Sunday Visitor.

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