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So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent: Season of Music. Reminders. Part 1.

A reminder from the distinguished liturgist Bishop Peter J. Elliott.

From a presentation given at The Te Deum Institute of Sacred Liturgy
Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Friday March 11th 2011

by Most Rev Peter J. Elliott

Liturgical music should never be “utility music”, that is, music used to prop up worship or function as a teaching device. Just consider the sentimental songs still sung in so many churches, preachy songs that make God speak to us, giving us “messages”, or sacro-pop songs we sing about ourselves. True liturgical singing is addressed mainly to God. And we should always speak with reverence of our God, which is why [Pope Benedict XVI] has forbidden the use of the sacred Name (YHWH) in Hebrew which crept into singing and readings after the Council.

The music of the Church is the divine praise of the Logos in the cosmos, therefore this unique form of music must never to be left to subjectivist fashions or whims. Music also helps us see that the strong theme of beauty in [Benedict's] writing on liturgy was not mere aestheticism, rather beauty understood as a revelation of the divine Logos, “the harmony of the spheres” echoing the beautiful God of cosmic order and design. [Benedict] insists that singing, human word and voice, always should take priority over instrumental music.

The Titular Bishop of Manaccenser and Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Most Rev. Peter J. Elliott, MA Oxon, MA Melb, STD, is the author of Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, Liturgical Question Box (Ignatius Press, San Francisco) and Prayers of the Faithful (Catholic Book Publishing NJ). From 2005 to 2010 he was a Consulter to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

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We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.