Rhapsody of faith. A meditation on music, corner and theology: the human being as glorious reverb

catechesis & pastoral -

RAPSODY OF FAITH. A MEDITATION ON MUSIC, CORNER AND THEOLOGY: THE HUMAN BEING AS A SOUND OF GLORY.

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As the beautiful Platonic image in the dialogue teaches Ione : cultivating the liturgical musical tradition means being the rhapsodies of divine love incarnated and alive on earth. It means becoming more and more the voice of God for man.

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Author
Gabriele Giordano Scardocci, o.p.

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the Gradual Triplex, Week of Advent

Singing and music they are a spontaneously human and natural expression. From the simple daily experience we notice how our days are enlivened by the presence of songs that become soundtracks of the daily routine. The radio, television, mp3 music players and even cell phones Samsung and Iphone, today they are vehicles of this music that accompanies us; that expresses our feelings, our joys, fears and even desires. The French scholar Marcel Proust wrote:

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"Music is the only example of what could have been said - had it not been for the invention of language, the formation of words, the analysis of ideas - the communication of souls " [The prisoner].

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I frankly admit that I have never learned the art of music except when I entered the convent, because since I started the convent life, there was a new experience that I had never experienced in my life. We know and practice many ways of praying, yet for me, the whole new way of praying, entering the Order of Preachers, it was the prayer expressed in the song, especially in Gregorian chant. Not that I had never sung before. On the contrary, when I was in my parish I would rehearse the chants of the mass between guitars, bonghi, cymbals and also wanting a little’ organ. But there, my voice, it thinned to hide behind the "professional" singers.

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A mid-winter Saturday, we postulants were in church. Silence, loneliness and a lot of concentration. After the rehearsals of the various antiphons and some sequences, the voice begins to fade. We are a bit tired. At this point, however,, before leaving, we approach the statue of the Madonna del Rosario, who with her serene and maternal gaze welcomes pilgrims from the weary daily gait. At that point one of us proposed:

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“Why don't we greet you properly?».

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Gabriele Giordano Scardocci, o.p. with the tuning fork

That was how they hugged each other, lonely heart and lonely soul, looking at Mary with such affection we sang the ode Hail the queen of the heavens. And I think it was the first time inside me that I was not afraid to be out of tune. It was the first time that I thought like Bach inside myself: Glory to God alone! Until someone commented on someone else smiling:

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«He will have appreciated!»

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Singing and music, they are therefore a purely human phenomenon; a beautiful and fascinating phenomenon. The Lord, having redeemed all humanity and raised it to a state of grace, he also elevated man's song and music to be a vehicle for prayer; they then become a very special instrument of relationship and intimacy with God. Let's see how …

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Since the liturgies of Ancient Israel, the Jewish people celebrate their covenant with God through inspired songs and hymns, an example above all:

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"Here are those to whom David entrusted the direction of the chanting in the temple after the ark had found a place. They exercised the office of singers before the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting until Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem. In the service they followed the rule set for them " [1].

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The first biblical datum is the presence of song also in the Jewish people. This passage emphasizes the presence of official cantors wanted by God while waiting for Solomon to finish the temple in Jerusalem. And from this we therefore propose a first source of reflection: the role of singers fulfills not only a typical instance of man as a thinking and romantic living being. Being a "cantor" is part of the same Ancient Covenant of the Lord in which a circle of good performers of liturgical pieces is foreseen. The celebration of the mystery of God requires, therefore, an elevation of the soul that burns with the mysterious presence of God. This elevation, it is possible thanks to the medium of music and singing. Here is the first role of singing: to be a vehicle of elevation in the presence of God.

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the Gradual Triplex

Already by now we are sure that singing it is that transcendent glider that allows us to unite with God in an outburst of pure love. This is an analysis on which a speech given by the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI in July seems to agree 2015:

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"What is music actually? Where does it come from and what it tends towards? I think we can locate three "places" from which the music originates. One of its first sources is the experience of love. When men were seized by love, another dimension of being opened to them, a new magnitude and breadth of reality. And it also prompted us to express ourselves in a new way. Poetry, singing and music in general were born from this being affected, from this opening up of a new dimension of life " [CF. text, WHO].

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Let us now consider two New Testament biblical concordances. At the end of the Last Supper, two evangelists focus on a not secondary detail:

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"And after singing the hymn, they went out towards the Mount of Olives " [2].

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The song that the Apostles and Jesus perform - a typical hymn of the Jewish tradition - here is the prelude to the dramatic events of the Passion of Jesus Christ. But at the same time, the hymn cited by the synoptic Gospels is inserted within the New and Eternal Eucharistic Covenant that God works through the glorious work of Christ, with humanity. The music link, suffering and glory of God, it gets so strong: right in the moment of deep suffering, Jesus sings with the apostles.

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We will notice again together with the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI:

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"A second origin of music is the experience of sadness, being touched by death, from the pain and from the abysses of existence. Again they hatch, in the opposite direction, new dimensions of reality that can no longer find an answer in speeches alone ". [CF. text, WHO]

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Dominican friars in the convent choir

The song performed here it is thus a special sign that he wants to show, with its language composed of sounds, harmonies and melodies, the glory of the God Christ who, suffering, he offers his life for redemption [3].

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Here is the second role of singing: it is therefore a means of showing glory to God, tell him a joyful thank you for giving us redemption. It is in this sense that the Supreme Pontiff Francis also recently underlined this role in his recent one Address to the participants in the III international meeting of choirs in the Vatican the 24 November 2018, proposing the theme in a Eucharistic nuance:

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"Your music and your song are a true instrument of evangelization to the extent that you are witnesses to the depth of the Word of God that touches people's hearts, and allow a celebration of the sacraments, in particular of the Holy Eucharist, that makes you perceive the beauty of Paradise " [CF. text, WHO].

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One last thought that I propose, instead he pushes himself to focus not only on the moment and the redemptive place in which the hymn is performed, but also on who performs it. We said: Jesus together with the apostles. Each apostle performed that hymn with its own key and melody, and at the same time he performed it with all of himself, giving his best to God and thus uniting himself with God. Therefore, with post-Pentecostal language, we will say that the apostles sanctified themselves through singing. And so do we, when we do the same.

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The third role of singing, that of being a sign of our sanctification and union with God, leads us to conclude with these words of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI :

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"Finally, the third place of origin of music is the encounter with the divine, which from the beginning is part of what defines the human. Even more so that is where there is the totally different and totally great that arouses man new ways to express themselves. Perhaps you can say that actually in the other two areas - love and death - touches us and the divine mystery, in this sense, It is being touched by God that altogether constitute the origin of music ' [CF. text, WHO].

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a group of Dominican friars in the Roman basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

In our Dominican tradition we must never devalue or forget the importance of choral singing. Suffice it to recall the reason why the song of the Salve Regina - and the contemporary procession - by Blessed Jordan of Saxony, who succeeded the leadership of the Order of Preachers after St. Dominic of Guzmàn. Indeed, the Devil continued to torment the friars, and then they joined in the chorus Marian par excellence for themselves under the protective mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is why today more than ever necessary to resume our musical and liturgical tradition. That our hearts like those who cherish the Holy Father Dominic and, from future preachers, we might as well burn the whole world with the Word of God, Celestial Harmony of parallel scenes that form the choir of the Catholic Church.

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The singing is stronger and vivid expression of the soul strings, than like a masterfully strummed guitar, he raises his agreements of love to the Lord. The symphony has its key in the Yes we say at the beginning of each of our vocational choices, while the rest of the pentagram suggests it to us Jesus himself. We, which we do instead, for our part we are out of tune instruments and out of tune voices, we do nothing but let ourselves be harpened by him. The elevation of the song then brings us to Heights of Love that until now we had never even thought of touching. When we then go back to earth, we have thus received an inestimable treasure. The higher we go with the singing voice towards God, the more we can penetrate the hearts of men with the preaching voice. It is now that we realize, with our operational charity, the mystery of the Congregating Church. The reverb, which is created when we cross the voices with two different chords as in a song for parallel fifths, it generates a sound effect that literally makes the hearts of those present at Holy Mass explode. It is the reverberation of Glory, the reverberation as a profusion of very strong affection. With the Holy Father Francis I feel instead of concluding:

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"The music, therefore, be an instrument of unity to make the Gospel effective in today's world, through the beauty that still fascinates and makes it possible to believe by trusting in the love of the Father " [CF. text, WHO].

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For this, as the beautiful Platonic image teaches present in the dialogue Ione : cultivating the liturgical musical tradition means being the rhapsodies of divine love incarnated and alive on earth. It means becoming more and more the voice of God for man.

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«sweet Jesus, Jesus love» [St. Caterina da Siena]

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Rome, 18 December 2018

III Week of Advent

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[1] Cr: 6, 16-17

[2] Mt 26:30; MC 14: 26.

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church 1156 "The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, that excels among other art expressions, especially the fact that the sacred song, united to the words, It is necessary and integral part of the solemn liturgy " [Conc. ecum. Vat. (II), The Council, 112]. The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, They are already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Alliance. The Church continues and develops this tradition: Spend some time "to one another in psalms, others, spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart " (If the 5,19) [Cf Col 3,16-17]. "He who sings prays twice" [CF. Sant'Agostino, Commentary on Psalm, 72, 1]. We recall two other documents of the papal magisterium on the subject of music: Musicae Sacred Discipline, Pius XII - encyclical 25 December 1955. Holy music St Paul VI - Education 5 March 1967

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