Today I was listening to an assignment for my music history and appreciation class - the Gregorian chant "Deum Verum."
As I was listening to it, I was struck by the thought that these lovely, mournful voices hardly sounded human, and I marveled at the fact that mere men could make such heavenly music.
But as I thought it over and listened, it struck me that this song, lovely as it is, cannot possibly be truly heavenly. It is far too mournful, far too lonely. It sounds, not like angels, but like men, pouring out their souls in longing for God.
It is mysterious. It is spiritual. It is deep. But it is also earthy. It is solid. It is gritty. It sounds almost as though you could pick it up and let it crumble through your fingers, like rich, rich soil in an old, old garden.
This music portrays very clearly the essence of mankind - spiritual yet touchable, bodily yet invisible. It shouts our very nature at us - we are not wholly of this world. We are body, but we are also soul. We love this world of mountains and flowers and fresh flowing streams, but this world has been broken. We long for something greater - something deeper and more beautiful - something perfect that has been lost to us. We long for Heaven. We long for God.
If this music, then, reflects the very deepest fathoms of our nature, why does it seem so supernatural? Why, if it is in a sense the very essence of man, do I hear it and think, "This cannot be of men?"
Is it because I have been influenced by an atheistic and materialistic world - a world that says I am but an animal evolved by chance into a thinking thing? A world that whispers, "you have no soul" - a world that has forgotten man has a spirit?
If only we could remember the truth that is sung to us in Gregorian chant! If only we could remember that we are not only bone and earth and flesh, but heart and spirit and imagination! If only we could grasp again that realization that was so prominent in the Middle Ages when this lovely music was written. Perhaps, perhaps, it would mean a new era in art, in literature, in fashion, in philosophy - a new epoch in the history of the world.
We are not wholly of this world. We are body, but we are also soul. We love this world of mountains and flowers and fresh flowing streams, but this world has been broken. We long for something greater - something deeper and more beautiful - something perfect that has been lost to us. We long for Heaven. We long for God.
|This icon is a beautiful portrayal of the Christian life. Ever climbing up, up, up,|
the ladder towards Christ, always with the danger of falling. There is something
mournful and yet glorious in it which strikes my very soul.