Saturday, March 17, 2012

Transformation unto Sacred

"In music, the transformation of elements of our ordinary world conveys the message that our ordinary lives can also be transformed. The hitch is: what if the incorporation of music into the liturgy does not involve a discernible transformation? What if the use of styles clearly identifiable with worldly and secular purposes retain their identity in liturgical use? Is the message, then, that there is no transformation? that the secular life-styles are all that there is? I would contend that this is the danger of the present use of secular styles, since the instruments they use, their vocal styling, their simplistic musical construction all retain their secular identity. Rather, it is crucial that whatever musical styles are used in the liturgy, there be clear elements of their sacralization, that their incorporation is unambiguously for the sake of transformation into something sacred. The regular use of a few pieces of Gregorian chant and of sacred polyphony can be enough to signal that difference, to inspire a congregation to higher purposes in their participation in the liturgy."

Mahrt, William Peter (2012-01-16). The Musical Shape of the Liturgy (Kindle Locations 6406-6413).  . Kindle Edition.

For someone who sees worship as, yes, communal or cooperative, but in a linear or vertical sense, giving "the sacred" pride of place in church is only too right. "Sunday-go-to-meeting" is not Catholic and when we try it, it ends up never more than social and a necessarily foreign and shallow prayer. We're made differently. You might say that if we've been properly brought up in the faith and immersed in genuine Catholic culture, then we are indeed Augustinian... our hearts are restless unless we rest in the Lord. Church, Sunday is for the sublime; it is for the sacred, that which has been set aside for God's service, for the service of the One Who alone is truly Holy.

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