He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. - Aeschylus

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Love it to Death: The Music of Love

Music suffuses contemporary life; never has music from all over the world been so widely available to so many people.  An extraordinary amount of time and effort goes into producing and listening to music by those who have the means to fill their ears with its sounds and silences.

Oh how our hearts yearn to be moved by music!  Our feet find their places more smoothly with the help of music, and our hands reach out to comfort others so as to share the peace music brings to our minds.  When we listen to music, our will to exercise grows stronger and remains longer.  Music uplifts all the faculties of our souls.

We play music to celebrate a life well-lived at a funeral, to grieve for love lost after a heartbreaking breakup, to remind us of joyful moments on the anniversary of our wedding, to soothe the crying child we love so much that our hearts burst with more love than they could ever hold before.

One of the most romantic and meaningful things a lover can do for his beloved is compose and play a song for her, to her, and with her.  Through music we offer to those love the very best of what we can create, the best of what moves the heart, the best of what provides the body with rhythm, the best of what calms the mind, and the best of what strengthens the will.

Music well done is music written for the love of another person, played for another person, and sung for another person.  The best music of all is music written for Love Himself, the Son who died on the cross for the love of all His Father's children.  The best music of all is a gift of our greatest talents in the service of Him from whom we were given all those talents, a returning of the music which uplifts the soul to the creator of the soul.

The best music of all is the music which reflects the harmonies and melodies of divine love and directs them to the font of divine love from which they first sprang into creation and watered the world with the rhythms of life.  This is the music of Love, and it is the music of the Church His Bride who has participated in it for millenia.  It is God's song to the souls of all those made in His image and likeness, a love song to the icons of Love.

It is the music of Love which we give back to Love Himself because it is the most worthy music we can offer to Him in our smallness, lifting up to Him our little voices in song as He lifts up our souls with the song of divine love which moves through all of Creation.  This music of Love is the music which has the words of Sacred Scripture as the foundation of its lyrics, the divine revelation of Love's creation sung to us over and over, ever new and refreshing to the soul.

Just as by the lover's devotion to his beloved he loves to death his selfishness and habituates himself to a constant process of giving the radical gift of all that the best of himself is to her, so too we who love God give Him all the best of ourselves and habituate ourselves to a life of radical self-gift.  We enter ever more fully into the song of divine love which suffuses all of creation, making our lives into an ever more magnificent sacrifice of praise, the love present in our lives becoming the music of Love Himself.

We are called to order our lives along the scale of Love's most just statutes, to hang the habits which are the notes of our life's song in the sequence prescribed by Love and His Bride.  We are called to both sing boldly of the greatness of Love and to let our love for others be a song which everyone can hear and know that it speaks of God's love for us and for our love of Him.

We are called to enter into the song of Love, and by composing our lives as a piece of the music of Love we love to death all those parts of us which cannot partake of the divine harmonies and melodies ever-present in the heavenly household of our Father.

Note:  The above piece is one of the most lovely compositions I've heard for liturgical music.


  1. That Rachmaninoff is in my opinion the greatest choral work ever composed. Absolutely love it.

    1. I'm glad you approve, sir! I love to listen to it while I write, myself.