Does Music Help the Spiritual Life? 

As we’ve had discussions on books which have helped us know the Faith better, on spiritual reading books, and even blogged to share jokes, and as the Feast of St Cecilia, Patron Saint of Music approaches  (22 November), now might be a good time to reflect on the role – if any – of music in building our spiritual life.

There are people who misinterpret the exhortations of the great mystical saints who teach us to avoid seeking sensible consolation in prayer,  as meaning that any sense of uplift within the soul is a bad thing and to be avoided  This is nonsense.  Singing a devotional hymn should lift our mind and soul to God and so it is with other beautiful music.  I remember hearing a composer once explain her conversion to Christianity by telling a radio interviewer that, while she could explain how she chose the notes that created a beautiful melody, she could not account for, nor take credit for, the impact it had on the listener’s innermost being – the soul.  That set her thinking anew about the whole question of the existence of God and ultimately led her into Christianity. Unfortunately, I had switched on the radio halfway through the interview, and this was some years ago, so I’m unable to provide the name of said composer.  Anyway, it stands to reason that a composer may well have the talent to create a lovely piece of music, but is unable to foresee the impact it will have on individual listeners.  That recognising this fact has led at least one composer to seek Christ, is wonderful. 

So, in honour of St Cecilia, let’s share some of our favourite pieces of music, whether hymns or some moving pieces which may raise our minds and souls to God.  The two videos included in this introduction are among my own favourites … Enjoy!

Reminder – to post a video directly onto the page, simply find it on YouTube and copy the link from your browser.  Bring it back to the blog, and paste it into a comment box, with your own remarks, perhaps explaining why it is one of your favourites. No limits, either, feel free to post as many as you wish!  If you can’t find a video-presentation, just tell us what kind of music helps your prayer and meditation.  Of course, if you disapprove of hymn singing or of seeking any sensible consolation in prayer, let us know, but be aware that the saints were not banning sensible consolation – they were simply warning us against thinking that we are not praying well if we lack such sensible consolation. Over to thee!

1/11: A Very Happy Feast of All Saints! 

 

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest—

Alleluia, Alleluia!

Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold—

Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—

Alleluia, Alleluia!

Comment: 

This Feast celebrates the Church Triumphant – all the saints in Heaven.  We remember, on this day, primarily our family, friends and relatives whom, we pray, have attained Heaven.  The canonised saints have their own Feast days.   If you have favourite prayers, hymns, anecdotes, spiritual reading etc relating to this Feast, you are welcome to share them here. 

Youth Synod: Pope Trashes Tradition

Vatican City, Oct 3, 2018 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis began the Synod on young people Oct. 3 with a homily calling for the Holy Spirit to renew hope and dynamism in the Church.

Hope can “broaden our horizons, expand our hearts and transform those frames of mind that today paralyze, separate and alienate us from young people,” said Pope Francis.

The Synod of Bishops commenced its fifteenth ordinary general session with Pope Francis asking to begin the assembly “anointed by hope.”

“Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, ‘it’s always been done like this,’” he continued.

In a historic first, two bishops from mainland China are participating in the Synod of Bishops due to the Holy See’s provisional agreement with China on the appointment of bishops in September.

One of the bishops at the synod, Bishop Giuseppe Guo Jincai of Chengde, was among the seven bishops recognized by the Vatican on Sept. 22.

“The communion of the entire Episcopate with the Successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence,” the pope said as he welcomed the delegates from China.

The Synod of Bishops is taking place over three weeks from October 3-28 and will focus on the themes of young people, the faith, and vocational discernment.

“Hope asks us to get up and look directly into the eyes of young people and see their situations,” said Pope Francis, “This same hope asks us to make efforts to reverse situations of uncertainty, exclusion and violence, to which our young people are exposed.”

More than 300 participants are gathered in Rome, including clerics and religious, as well as 49 auditors, among them 36 young people from five continents.\

“May the Spirit give us the grace to be a memory that is diligent, living and effective, that does not allow itself from one generation to the next to be extinguished or crushed by the prophets of doom and misfortune, by our own shortcomings, mistakes and sins,” Pope Francis prayed.

“Rather may it be a memory capable of enkindling our hearts and of discerning the ways of the Spirit,” he continued. “With this attitude of docile listening to the voice of the Spirit, we have gathered from all parts of the world.”

“The Holy Spirit will be the first to preserve, to keep alive and relevant, the memory of the Lord in the heart of his disciples. It is the Spirit who ensures that the richness and beauty of the Gospel will be a source of constant joy and freshness,” he said.   Source – Catholic News Agency

Comment:
“Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, ‘it’s always been done like this,’” [said Pope Francis]  

What’s that, if not trashing Tradition?  Look at what happens when we STOP doing what has always been done… confusion, chaos and scandal by the bucketful.

I get the feeling that young people are going to be short-changed by this Synod, to put it mildly.  What do you think?  Will they come away from it, excited that they face the challenge of changing themselves, the challenge of holiness… or will they leave in a rebellious spirit, determined to change Christ’s Church, to fashion it in a way that allows them to live in conformity to the spirit of the world – totally opposed to the Holy Spirit, which Pope Francis invokes so freely to justify his calls to challenge Tradition, to, effectively, challenge Christ, Himself?  

Can We Read Our Way To Heaven? 



Our blogger, Elizabeth posted the following request a short while ago…

Just wondering if we could perhaps start another topic on what our bloggers are reading at the moment? Spiritual reading that is. I could start off by saying that I am loving Cardinal Sarah’s book on Silence. It is beautifully written, perceptive, and does bring home the need for quiet in this clamorous world of ours.

So… share with us the answer to Elizabeth’s question:  what are you reading at the present time?  Or maybe you think things are so bad in the Church right now, that we must all be busy ‘about our Father’s business?’ Let’s hear it…

29 June: Feast of SS Peter & Paul…

Comment: 

Discuss any issues arising from this important Feast – perhaps  the role of Peter – Francis – as Supreme Pontiff?  

As well as discussion on relevant key issues, though, such an important Feast must be celebrated with the usual mix of Feast day greetings, favourite prayers, hymns, jokes and stories – enjoy!

A very happy Feast of SS Peter & Paul to one and all!