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.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Diary entry re Good Friday past.

The following is a previously unpublished diary entry commenting on the 2014 Good Friday Liturgy (Mass of the Pre-Sanctified) at a local parish.
2014 Good Friday Mass of the Pre-sanctified [location withheld].
With the exception of one hymn, the other compositions were nothing more than dry pablum, devotional ditties talking buddy-buddy about God, and opaque cardboard excuses for Catholic music.
The congregation was subjected to one fluffy text after another attached to pirated settings. Someone forgot to inform the music people that devotional music is not liturgical music.
How many times does it need to be said? Liturgical music:
  • has the congregation speaking to God, not at nor around Him. 
  • has us praising, adoring and giving thanks to God.
  • does not merely speak about God as if He (yes, 'He', not 'it') is merely a set of neutered attributes (which are far too easy to manipulate to some idolatrous end). Liturgical music is not merely an information tool about God, it serves to engage our hearts and minds in worship of the Holy Trinity.
  • does not focus ad nauseam on the congregation. We are not worshipping ourselves at Mass. The sooner we reorient worship, i.e., literally turn around the altar and purge the Liturgy of unholy music, the sooner we'll be more likely to worship and pray in spirit and truth. As it is, much Catholic worship is frequently anthropocentric to the point of being idolatrous. Were it not for the Propers (if they are actually prayed/said/sung) and the Ordinary texts (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) and the content of the Eucharistic Prayers orienting us to God, the hymns or songs frequently presented would easily cause an outsider to think Catholics are self-centred, new age narcissists. Apparently, the shoe fits and most parishes are wearing it.
  • does not have us singing in God's voice. E.g., "I the Lord of snow and rain... .", or "I will raise you up on eagle's wings... ."
  • is not "devotional music" that is highly individualistic and therefore not suitable for Liturgy. That kind of music merely massages in us a trite emotionalism. The Liturgy is the Church's corporate public worship of God, for when we gather we do so joyfully and solemnly in response to Almighty God's call to His people. The Liturgy's design was established by Christ. Because God is beautiful, so must the music and ritual be if they are to reflect something of the glory of God, of heaven and the saints. Beautiful music points to the Creator Who gave us the beauty of creation and Who entrusted to us the power to create beauty.
  • is beautiful, not banal; sacred, not saccharine; majestic, not mediocre; chant and authentic polyphony presenting orthodox theology, not awkward heterodox texts set to unsingable drippy melodies.

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