Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was conferred with honorary doctorates in Sacred Music earlier this week! He spoke of the origins of music as a launching point to understand how the timeless music of Mozart and others finds its place in the Sacred Worship to Almighty God. The Holy Father points out that music has it’s origin in three places:
1. Love. Music opens humanity to a new dimension in the human experience! Music speaks to the human heart, to emotion, to intellect, and draws a person out of themselves.
2. Death. Music opens to the opposite dimension to the portals of absence. It gives language when discourse has reached its peak.
3. Divine. Here, the Total Other and the Total Great meet. Music paves the way of encounter with God who touches us in love and in death, in the two total opposite spectrums of life.
Musicianship is more than just mastery of a timeless art. It is encounter! His Holiness states: “It can be said that the quality of the music depends on the purity and the grandeur of the encounter with the divine, with the experience of love and of pain. The more pure and true this experience is, the more pure and great also is the music that is born and develops from it.”
This statement must speak to the core of us who are musicians. Music, especially Western Music, is born from the liturgy! Music is God’s language spoken to his beloved.
Furthermore, His Holiness paid tribute to the great Saint John Paul II by stating:
“…without him, my spiritual and theological journey would not have even been imaginable. With his brilliant example he also showed us how the joy of great sacred music and the task of common participation in the sacred liturgy, the solemn joy and the simplicity of the humble celebration of the faith can go hand in hand.”