30 January 2011

Sunday morning reflections about music

As it happens, I am spending this beautiful morning in a location of studied luxury and comfort.  The room is really heavenly:  views out of three windows comprising mountains and city lights in panorama; exquisitely comfortable bed, unobtrusive yet effective temperature control, a bathroom which is a wonderful retreat in and of itself.  A savory breakfast brought up very early, consumed at leisure whilst perusing the newspapers.  And, through it all, the classical station played on the radio.

This classical station was playing when I checked in yesterday, and made me instantly feel at home.  It would make sense to have classical music in such a place of comfort.

This morning, the station is presenting a series of exquisitely beautiful sacred selections, including, of course, masses.

I note that I, a lapsed RC, am sipping tea and thanking God and meditating on His goodness (and would be doing those latter two, I trust, even if I were in a cardboard box under a freeway), and my thoughts of Him are enhanced and encouraged by the beautiful, beautiful music playing quietly on the radio.

Thousands of RCs more faithful than I - but nowhere near as many as there might be - will be exposed this morning to another kind of music.

I don't think it is unexpected for me to say that, if such music were presented right now on the station on the radio to which I'm listening, in this comfortable room on this lovely morning, I would leap up and turn it off in horror, as if it had suddenly emitted a burst of harsh static garble.

In surroundings of beauty and comfort and, yes, comfortable wealth, this beautiful music is offered on a Sunday morning.

There was a time when church was seen as a place of great beauty and decorum.  The world was, and is, harsh; serenity and peace are epitomized by the quiet reception of beauty in sound, visual arts, words, actions.

To say that the music of chant is not conducive to worship is like the kind of mislogic that labels abortion as "family planning."  White is black, evil is good, down is up.

God is still in control.  Whether or not He's wanted, or trusted, doesn't matter.  It's still His creation.  He exists whether you believe in Him or not.  In my experience, it is easier to humbly acknowledge His power and thank Him from the bottom of your heart, than to try to make your own way without His help and loving support... and I have tried it both ways.

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