Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
March 26, 2006
Music Moves Our SoulMusic is the universal language. The simple and obvious reason for this is that is moves us all at our core regardless of the country it originates from. We do not need to learn the language of the composer to hear, understand or feel the rhythm, the beat, the soul message it relates. Of course, there are different types of music and some of us like a particular type more than an another. Within the universal language there is something for everyone.
What exactly does music do for us? On one level it serves as a means of entertainment. On another level, we listen to music simply because we cannot tolerant the silence in our lives. Silence often makes us feel alone and lonely so we listen to music or the television for “noise”. On yet another level it enables us to release some physical energy. Sometimes we are full of energy and we need to move. Moving or dancing to music enables us to do this.
On a deeper level however, music touches us at our core. If we are truly attentive to the music we listen to and allow ourselves to enter into its depths, music has the ability to touch our soul. Music, well done, can move us to tears, whether of sorrow or joy. None of this can happen however if the person listening does not allow him/herself to be touched. When we listen to music or actually participate in the playing or singing of music, we need to allow our emotions to be touched. Otherwise nothing will happen. If we go to a concert and do not enter into the music we may find the evening very long indeed.
Church music is a style of music all its own. Nonetheless it is part of the universal language and it certainly has the ability to touch us at our core. Some of the greatest musicians have written beautiful music for church celebrations and that same music continues to be appreciated even in the 21st century.
The Church uses music to help the people have a fuller, deeper experience of the liturgical celebration. Music is that element that allows us to be touched with our entire being. When we sing or listen to the music, we engage in an activity that has the potential to lift us to the heights or depths of our being. We can experience joy, sorrow, pain or elation. We can express love, passion in service, deep gratitude etc.
Why then, is the music at Mass so “dead”? There are many reasons for this. Some people claim they do not have a good singing voice. Some seem to think that the music simply distracts them from praying. Still others think that the music element of the Mass should be performed rather than participated in. And, of course, there are a number of people who see the music as an element of “entertainment” while at Mass. There are those who would like the music to provide a source of energy release, etc. When these things do not happen they become disgruntled.
Is there a middle ground to all this? Like everything else in life, the answer is Yes. Music can be better chosen, better played, better sung. On the flip side, the people attending Mass must be willing to enter the depths of the music that is chosen to express the themes of the weekly celebration. If the theme is sorrow or reconciliation the music must relate to the theme.
Lorette P. Nault