Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Music box

I retrieved a small package from my mailbox last Saturday, which was my birthday. No matter what I was about to find in that package, I was happy to see it, because it came from Noah in New Haven. The more stories I hear from parishioners about their family relationships (and their brokenness), the more I'm amazed at the blessings given to me through my family. Why should I be so fortunate, while others are not?

Inside the package was a golden music box, only 3 inches wide and 1 inch tall, that plays Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence." The music box came from the Haus der Musik in Vienna, where Noah spent several days in August. This music puts me in touch with my formative years, prior to college, when I was overwhelmed by experiencing God through music. I say to this day that music put me most directly in my path toward priesthood, and I believe it will keep doing so. Receiving a gift from as far away as Vienna from a son I don't see nearly enough but am so grateful to have, I can only give thanks and praise to the God who puts up with me and with all of humans who try one another's (and God's) patience often -- yet, we surprise one another with wondrous gifts.


Blogger Castanea_d said...

Years ago, I was part of a conversation with some teenage choristers. One of them said something akin to what you said: "Why should I be so fortunate, while others are not?"

A good answer, which occurred to me only later, is in the General Thanksgiving of the Daily Offices:

After giving thanks for "all the blessings of this life" and much more, we pray:
". . . and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days. . ."

Like you, I am blessed with a multitude of blessings, of family, friends, and much more -- to say nothing of God's "inestimable love." The only proper response is "giving up our selves to [his] service."

Another practice I try to observe, in light of these blessings, is my "breath prayer," which for some years has been "Deo gracias." I tried the Jesus Prayer for a month or so, and decided that, worthy as it is, it was not quite what I wanted to pray "without ceasing." But "Deo gracias" is; I am entirely content to pray this at all times. Even saying it with every breath for a lifetime is not enough. As G. Herbert says:

"E'en eternity's too short
To extol Thee."

I wish I could say that I am constant with this prayer; I am not. I fall out of it and try again, repeatedly.

You know how I feel about music, so I won't speak of that, except to say that for me as well as you, music has put me on the path, and serves to keep me there.

The music box sounds beautiful. Noah is to be blessed for finding such a gift for you. You and your husband are blessed to have such a son as he is.

7:43 AM  

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