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Things A Catholic Ought Never Say
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Sister Patricia: On Seven Quick-Takes Friday
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sister Patricia On: Church Music

(Sister Patricia Owens O'Flannery, OP, a post-modern pre-traditional omni-spiritual Dominican sister, periodically contributes to AoftheA. Today she has something to say concerning Church Music.)

Hello gentle readers! May the peace and joy of the hopeful springing of Spring Hope fill your consciousnesses with effusive light and peaceful wisdom! I so love this time of year, heralded by the Vernal Equinox, a wonderful feast day full of hope and change. Although...if my sinuses weren't suffering so from a relentless onslaught of allergies, I'd be enjoying this season so much more! Ah well - I read somewhere once that suffering is to be expected. While I admit there's truth in that statement, it is so rife with negative energy...thank Sophia for reiki though! That'll absorb the negative energy and disperse it into the Eternal Voidness!

Anyway...it's been some time since my last post (my apologies for the lengthy interlude!), but I haven't been a stranger to the blog. I've been reading regularly, and I noticed that LarryD recently posted on a hymnal recently published by the Laodicean Church. Those songs sound simply wonderful! I googled the church, hoping to find a local branch. Unfortunately, I only found obscure references about it in the Scriptures, and since the Scriptures can be so unreliable, I've come to the conclusion that ii must exist as an underground church, avoiding persecution from the Roman Church (akin to the Apostolic Visitation, but with secret agents from Opus Dei). Sadly, they're in hiding, but have taken a tremendous risk by unveiling their blessed hymnal. Such bravery! Such courage! I would join that fellowship in a heartbeat...so if any member is reading this, please contact me and let me know where you meet! Take me!! I'm trustworthy, and I won't let anyone know where you worship!

I feel that each of those hymns would touch my soul, like "Just As I Pretend To Be" and "Special Special Special". They speak to the heart, don't they? Especially "Special Special Special". It's important to remember that in Godde's eyes, we are indeed very special.

I'm struck by the similarity that many of these Laodecian hymns have with what is played during worship ceremonies throughout Catholic churches around the world, including my own community. Songs that build us up and emphasize our inherent divination, like "I Am The Bread Of Life", or 'Here I Am, Lord" (I like that one because it's like a conversation I have inside my head all the time!). And I just love "Let There Be Peace on Earth" - one of my favorites! Because, after all, peace does begin with me. And with you, too! And I can't think of a better moment to reflect on that truth - while doing liturgy. A perfect synthesis of deep theological pablum and anthrocentric contemplation while in the midst of fellowship. Being in the presence of Godde is icing on the cake!

Unfortunately, there appears to be a pushback against these wonderful hymns by some people in the church. A regression to the more (gak!) patriarchal traditional hymns and (ick!) Gregorian chant. Songs that are bereft of inclusive language and have strange words like thee and thou - some are even in a foreign language called "Latin". Such individuals claim that such hymns reflect 'authentic Catholic identity', but I say pish-posh. Singing a few rousing verses of "Table of Plenty" is much more Catholic than sitting in the pew listening to a bunch of hoity-toity cassocked choir singers. But to each their own, I suppose.

Music is so important to me, and church music even more so. It lifts the soul, fills the heart and makes some of the boring parts of worship go by a little bit more quickly. I'm sure that none of you knew this - perhaps you've had a suspicion or inkling - but years before I joined my order, I recorded inspirational songs. Yes it's true! In my youth, I was a member of a trio - I had the prettiest baritone voice you ever did hear, and on occasion I could push it up to countertenor. Here's one of our album covers:


I ditched the glasses years ago - I go with contacts now.