Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Music is something that we all listen to from time to time. No doubt we have our won favourites that we like to listen to again and again.  There could be many reasons why: it may remind of a certain person, a certain event in our lives or one of our favourite places.  Music can often express for us things that we cannot put into words. 
Music plays an important part in the life of the Church and in particular, the liturgy.  ~I once remarked to a friend of mine that music always adds something to the liturgy.  He replied 'yes, about twenty minutes, usually.'  That wasn't the answer I was expecting.
The purpose of music within the liturgy of the Church is to help us to pray, to help us raise our hearts and minds to God.  This can take the form of us singing ourselves or listening to the music being played or sung by others as part of the liturgy.  It is therefore important that great care is taken regarding the choice and type of music used in church.
When I was on holiday in the summer I concelebrated Mass at the church of St Sulpice in Paris.  At the end of the Mass a young man came into the sacristy.  In the course of the conversation he commented on the music at the Mass we had just celebrated.  I was struck by his comment.  'I don't believe in any of what has just been going on in here for the last hour, but I think the music could convert me.'
This is not the first time that I have heard such thoughts about the power of music to lead us to God.  I remember once inviting a music student to come and here the work he was studying in the context for which it was originally written.  He looked at me somewhat surprised when I said that we were going to church and attending Mass.  The piece of music in question was the Gloria from Mozart's Coronation Mass.
Everyone has their own opinion about the use and type of music in church but we have been using the likes of Mozart, Faure Palestrina for a good number of years and they have stood the test of time.  I am not convince that we can say the same about some of the so called 'modern music' that is so common in churches today.

I suspect this would raise the heart and mind to God
 More than this


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