Sunday, July 17, 2005

Pope Benedict on Singing

This morning I found this passage in a collection of speeches and essays by Joseph Ratzinger called A New Song for the Lord: it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read!

"At the end of my reflections I would like to note a beautiful saying of Mahatma Gandhi that I recently found in a calendar. Gandhi refers to the three habitats of the cosmos and how each of these provides its own mode fo being. The fish live in the sea and they are silent. The animals of the earth scream and shout; but the birds, who habitat is the heavens, sing. Silence is proper to the sea, shouting to the earth, and singing to the heavens. Human beings have a share in all three of them. They carry the depths of the sea, the burden of the earth, and the heights of the heavens in themselves, and for this reason all three properties also belong to them: silence, shouting, and singing. Today--I would like to add--we see that only the shouting is left for those humans without transcendence since they only want to be earth and also try to make the heavens and the depths of the sea into their earth. The right liturgy, the liturgy of the communion of saints, restores totality to these people. It teaches them silence and singing again by opening to them the depths of the sea and teaching them to fly, the angels' mode of being. It brings the song buried in them to sound once more by lifting up their hearts. Indeed, we can now even turn this around and say: One recognizes right liturgy by the fact that it liberates us from ordinary, everyday activity and returns to us once more the depths and the heights, silence and song. One recognizes right liturgy in that it has a cosmic, not just a group, character. It sings with the angels. It is silent with the expectant depths of the universe. And that is how it redeems the earth."

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