Friday, May 26, 2006

On the wings of song

Two of my colleagues have fabulous voices. The only problem is that there are very few chances to hear them singing. Today, however, as I made myself a cup of tea, one of them walked into the room, singing away to herself and probably oblivious of the fact that others could hear her. Alas, it all came to an end too soon once she sat down at her computer and resumed working. For those few seconds, however, she had given me, at any rate, a good deal of pleasure to hear her beautiful voice. Her contentment radiated out to include me, so that I, too, returned to my computer feeling brighter and happier for having shared those few moments.

I have a feeling that Pope Benedict had a similar feeling this morning as he celebrated Mass in Warsaw. The music was beautiful throughout the Mass, but particularly so at Communion. The television cameras briefly showed him sitting back in his chair with quiet appreciation ‘writ large’ as the congregation sang the ‘Ave Verum’. It was a personal moment, shared by thousands who had braved cold weather and lashing rain in order to be present. In spite of the downpour, people sang.

There is nothing that we experience that cannot be expressed in music, as far as I can see. Music is like poetry: it picks up the mundane and holds it in the light until it sparkles with a unique brilliance, all the richer and more beautiful for its exposure.

It seems to me that we are extremely fortunate in some of life’s simple gifts. Life would be so much poorer without music. Our own voices are a magnificent instrument that we can use at any time. Admittedly some people’s voices are more finely tuned than others, but even the tone deaf are often overheard singing quietly to themselves. As someone once remarked, "Music is God's gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven."

God bless,
Sr. Janet