Monday, February 15, 2016

Man's Soul Poured Out in Song


Today I was listening to an assignment for my music history and appreciation class - the Gregorian chant "Deum Verum."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK5AohCMX0U

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.

7 comments:

  1. Halo! I am a Catholic homeschooler too! What fun! :)

    I've been reading some of your old posts, and I really like them! Especially the "character interviews". You draw such neat pictures of them, too! I like to draw as well. I've wanted to be an artist since I was a little, teeny girl. Right now I'm taking a dual enrollment drawing class at a local college. And that's fun :)

    I know what you mean about the Latin chant. It is beautiful, but oh so lonely . . .

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    1. Why, hello! Oh, wow, that is fun! :)

      Oh, gee, thanks. I'm glad you like them! :) Ooh, an artist - that's really neat. I've taken an art appreciation class as part of my high school education, but besides that I've never really had any artistic direction. Good luck with that! I'm sure you're wonderful. :)

      It is lovely, isn't it? Latin is such a pretty language!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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    2. Thank you! Yes, drawing is really neat :)

      And I do like your pictures! So you like to write stories? I do that too!! I've got so many projects going at once it's not funny. It gets hard to focus sometimes :D

      Latin is a pretty language. Did you learn it, by the way? I have two siblings that did. I didn't, instead I did three years of French, which for some reason was easier for me :)

      You're welcome! I love your blog :)

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    3. Oh, a fellow writer! We do have lots in common. :) I know just what you mean - I've got way too many stories underway, too!

      I took one year of Latin and am "teaching" it to two of my siblings, but they're pulling ahead of what I know pretty quick. French is a very pretty language, too!

      Oh, I'm so glad you like it!

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    4. Yup. :) We do have a lot in common.

      That's so cool that you're teaching your siblings!!

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    5. Lovely to meet new people through blogging! :)

      Ha, I don't know how good of a teacher I am...;)

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    6. 'Tis awesome, indeed!

      Ah, well, you're probably a better teacher than I am. (Which is to say, horRENdous :D)

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