GOD - THE MUSIC OF THE SOUL

Photo:Courtesy of the Anglo-American Observatory

All music comes from the heart of God, from the interplay of unending life and love of the Father, with the Son, in the Holy Spirit. All happiness, all joy resides there and when God said: "Let there be light" the symphony of creation began. All matter sings as vibrating strings of energy. All beings experience repetition or rhythm and with the advent of man, melody and song arises in the human heart. St. Augustine said that music is "ordered movement", and so God's ordering of matter into stars, moons, planets and living forms is the music of God's creation. And "the morning stars sang in chorus and all the sons of God shouted for joy". (Job 38:7)

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of Glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before thee, praising thee their sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!

MUSIC IN THE HUMAN HEART

Pope Pius XII has well written: "Music is among the many great gifts of nature with which God, in Whom is the harmony of the most perfect concord and the most perfect order, has enriched men, whom He has created in His image and likeness." 22 But what does music do to human nature? The great violinist Yehudi Menuhn as well said: "Music creates order out of chaos; for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent; melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous." 23 And so man creates music and sings about many things, all of them mirror the moods, aspirations and his desire for happiness. He sings about love, joy, peace but also about lost love, sadness and death because his or her nature is subject to the frailty of human existence.

Celtic melody: Muncloak/courtesy of Ron Clarke.

MUSIC OF THE EAST

"Music in the East, including the Eastern Christian world, is basically a melody and rhythm with no mathematical harmony or counterpoint. The "drone" gives the reality of cyclical timelessness that roots man in the presence of something eternal and unchangeable, through which the peripheral and the changeable pass."24

Chinese melody: Village

FINAL PURPOSE OF MUSIC

St. Augustine tells us that God gave music to lead our rational soul to higher things. He tells us that the soul is moved to ardor and greater piety when the sacred words are sung rather than voiced.

1. Gregorian Chant is a form of music used by the Church usually called plain chant. The use of this chant with Latin and organ music is admirably suited to express our relationship with God. It imparts a sense of the sacred and the eternal to our souls lifting us out of temporal concerns.

Gregorian Chant: Sanctus: Missa pro defunctis

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

2. Hymn Singing is considered by the Church of great value because "He who sings prays twice". This means man/woman becomes more focused and engaged their talents and energies in praising God. There are religious hymns in the thousands expressing the multifacet relationship of man to God and God to man. For a sampling of these hymns I will provide a link to -- Catholic Hymns

3. POLYPHONIC MUSIC is created mainly by the use of human voices so that each one or group of voices becomes a musical instrument. It is a very uplifting music and probably the only music we will sing and hear in heaven.

Verbum Caro: from Ars Antiqua Chorales, Vol. IV
Verbum carum factum est; (Word made flesh, we welcome you)
Habitavit in nobis. Alleluia. (Come to dwell here among us all.)
Natus facit Dominus (Thus has God made known to us)
Salutare sum. Alleluia.(His salvation to us all)

ST. CECILIA, PATRONESS OF CHURCH MUSIC

St. Cecilia lived and died as a martyr in Rome sometimes in in the the third century. She is considered the patroness of Church music because it is said "while the musicians played at her nuptials she sang in her heart to God only". While married she remained a virgin and even converted her husband to christianity.
Her body was actually found in the Catacomb of Praetextatus. She was draped in stuffs of gold and brocade with cloths soaked in her blood at her feet.

Her name appears in the the Roman Canon , Eucharistic Prayer I of the Mass where we read: "For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of the apostles and martyrs,...Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia and all the saints."