Although the Church these days is everywhere beset with difficulties, it is the light of Christ on earth, and it shall never go out. There may be fewer Christians in the future, but I believe they will be stronger in faith and more committed in practice. One indication of this hope is the growth of several movements within the church—liturgical, artistic, musical—to re-affirm the role of the Transcendental in Church experience, to bring back Beauty. Beauty, more than reason, quickens the soul towards God.
This documentary from the Church Music Association of America speaks from a Roman Catholic perspective, but it contains several universal ideas about the practice of church music.
Lately, the atheist Left is showing every sign of believing it has won the Culture Wars by ratcheting up the consequences of heresy to an increasingly painful degree. Make no mistake: Secularism is a competing religion. The only thing currently standing between the individual and the dehumanizing utilitarianism of the secular state is the Church. If the state of Idaho wins, it is another step in the rapid criminalization of our faith.
COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.
By what boundless mercy, my Savior, have you allowed me to become a member of your body? Me, the unclean, the defiled, the prodigal. How is it that you have clothed me in the brilliant garment, radiant with the splendor of immortality, that turns all my members into light? Your body, immaculate and divine, is all radiant with the fire of your divinity, with which it is ineffably joined and combined. This is the gift you have given me, my God: that this mortal and shabby frame has become one with your immaculate body and that my blood has mingled with your blood. I know, too, that I have been made one with your divinity and have become your own most pure body, a brilliant member, transparently lucid, luminous and holy. I see the beauty of it all, I can gaze on the radiance. I have become a reflection of the light of your grace.
The Byzantine saint and poet Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022) is one of the Christian world’s greatest mystics, if such a term can properly be used of ancient writers. It is here applied for the sake of convenience, and for the purpose of unveiling the author, as it were, who is not only a visionary of the highest order within the Eastern Orthodox tradition, but equally one of the Christian world’s most lyrical and rhapsodic writers. It is a startling fact that it is only in recent years that his works have become available in English translation, and a sadder one that his name is still largely unknown to a wider public who would otherwise undoubtedly be interested in a spirituality suffused with light and hope and one of the most profound senses of the mercy and compassion of God. The situation of neglect is comparable to finding something of the quality of the works of San Juan de la Cruz still awaiting an edition.
Amazon’s St. Symeon page with works translated into English: St. Symeon
Lord, I beg Thee, let the burning and gentle force of Thy love pervade my soul
and withdraw it from all that is beneath Heaven,
that I might die through love of Thy love,
since Thou didst deign to die through love of my love.