A few weeks ago, I was sitting at the computer while my two-year-old son noisily played with some tupperware behind me. I clicked on a link to listen to a song from “Angels and Saints at Ephesus”, a new CD by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles (which, incidentally, has been tearing up the Classical music charts). The beautiful, a capella voices of the Sisters came softly over the computer speakers as they began a Gregorian chant in Latin.
Suddenly, I noticed that the banging of tupperware behind me had stopped.
I turned to see my two-year-old, standing, staring at the computer, eyes wide open and mouth slightly agape. He took a few steps forward, and then said, breathlessly: “Dada…that’s Jesus music.”
I was stunned. How on earth did he know that? (Our parish certainly doesn’t do any chanting at the N.O. Mass we attend…).He crawled up into my lap, and we listened to the rest of the chant together. And then we listened to it again. And then again. And then again. My boy was totally captivated, totally transfixed, totally enraptured…each time the chant would come to an end, he would look up at me and plead “again, Dada?”
I bought the album, and now every night my son asks to listen to the “Jesus music” as he falls asleep…***
Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said: “Beauty will save the world.”
Cardinal Ratzinger once said: “The encounter with beauty can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the soul and thus makes it see clearly, so that henceforth it has criteria, based on what it has experienced, and can now weigh the arguments correctly.”
Mother Theresa once said: “You have to learn from the Heart of Jesus. That is why Jesus said ‘learn of me’–not from books.”
And somehow, in ways I will never understand, my two-year-old boy is listening to the beat of the Sacred Heart. He is encountering beauty, and listening to it with childlike ears of faith. He’s learning lessons that only the gentle notes and chords of Heaven can teach him. And all I can do is sit back and treasure up all of these things in my heart…
Wow, that’s pretty cool. Do I recognize beauty not only with my eyes, but also with my ears? It doesn’t take a band nerd or Catholic nerd to appreciate the sisters’ music because it is, in fact, beautiful. When I encounter beauty, am I “totally captivated, totally transfixed, totally enraptured”?
Hmm…if not, at the very least I can at least begin to allow myself to be captured by beauty and listening to this album points me towards that direction.
Maybe it helps to know why the cloistered nun sings: