Friday, November 29, 2013


And so it begins, that period of expectation which is the time of Advent.  It is another link with our ancestors, in which we share their longing for the coming of the Messiah.  That we have this unbroken link is one of the glories of our Faith.

To face this holy time with the right dispositions of mind and heart, amid all that bombards us and which take our thoughts away from Advent, is a task that even many of our fellow Catholics of old never had to face. They did not have to contend with Walmart and television, and they were spared the modern indignity of having their carols desecrated by talent challenged pop musicians.  They had silence and stillness.  It is what we need moderns need, too: the time to begin stillness, and silence

While it may seem in glaring contradiction to our call for silence at this time, we can provide balm to our troubled souls with the music inspired by this time, beginning with, for example, the O Antiphons:

These are normally recited, or sung, during the final days of Advent, the seven O Antiphons commencing on December 17th.  But it is not inappropriate that we can take part in them even earlier as we continue the days of preparation.

Some weeks back our friend Timothy Cullen wrote here about the beauty of the music of Hildegard von Bingen.  An example, lasting over an hour let us warn you, can be heard here:

Such music is so beautiful to the ear, and thus to the mind and the heart, that it cannot help but add to our Advent.

But can anything compare with sitting in a beautifully adorned Church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in complete quiet?  Very little.  But I say let us have both; let us have our contemplation in stillness, and let us also hear the voices of our ancestors as represented by talented modern artists.  After all there is a reason God gave us music.  But it is both of these things that form a part of the longing we share with the ancients.

Beautiful music and profound silence are saying something to us:

People, look to the East.

1 comment:

aly said...

Where our hearts reside + amen .

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