Thursday, July 21, 2011

Faith Like A Child

My almost nine year old daughter is writing a book about Catholic Apologetics?

It's true. In her own words it's "something I've wanted to do for a long time." Yeah, probably since she was seven.

She's quite evangelist going so far as to write a letter to President Obama suggesting he follow the Commandments, go to Confession, and become Catholic. If only it were that easy.
Thankfully the Secret Service didn't come to my door but I'm probably on some kind of "subversive list."

It's no wonder that Jesus tells us to be "like little children" and why Our Blessed Mother seldom appears to adults. When our faith is pure and unbiased by the culture, it is easily expressed. My children have no problem praying in public or talking about their faith. Besides Sonja, six year old Joshua has no issue with calling someone out for leaving after Communion. (He has no filter and we're working on him.) I'm sure the teenage years will be more challenging, but I will enjoy it for now.

If only I was as comfortable proclaiming the simple truths of the faith to people. For now I'll just keep writing on this blog.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Favorite Things

It's the simple things I enjoy most. Right now I'm enjoying a beautiful July night, sitting outside by a fire with my family, listening to some Christian music. Nights like this really allow me to count my blessing and sit in awe of how blessed we are.
God is so good!!!

How is God speaking to you tonight?

A Tale of Two Requiems

— n
1. RC Church  a Mass celebrated for the dead
2. a musical setting of this Mass
3. any piece of music composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person or persons
[C14: from Latin requiēs  rest, from the opening of the introit, Requiem aeternam dona eis  Rest eternal grant unto them]

I had the wonderful opportunity this week to perform in an orchestra Mozart's Requiem with a local choral group. (I promise I won't complain the entire time about having to move my timpani from one church to another in the pouring rain.) Even better that that, my daughter Sonja got to sing with the chorus. This was a "summer sing" where the public is invited to come and practice the piece with the group and end the night with a performance.

Sonja really loves to sing and I try to expose her to whatever I can to foster that. She
started with our parish children's choir at age 5 and began to sit in with the adult choir later the following year. Although I'm sure her head was spinning from trying to get through a major choral work in one night, she seemed to enjoy it. I think I'm going to attempt piano lessons next. I think I have enough skill to at least get her through "book 1."

Mozart's Requiem, his final composition and debuted at Mozart's own funeral, is an amazing work with unforgettable melodic themes and harmonies. Since it is a funeral Mass, it's lyrics convey God's loving plan of salvation by not only reminding us of our own mortality and failings but also bring us comfort for our grief and hope for an eternity with Him.

Remember, kind Jesus,
my salvation caused your suffering;
do not forsake me on that day. 
Faint and weary you have sought me,
redeemed me, suffering on the cross;
may such great effort not be in vain.

I've been to many funerals both as a mourner and musician, with the majority being Catholic. And while we seldom hear anything like Mozart's Mass, the Rite of Christian Burial still captures the themes of rest for our deceased loved, reflections of sin and Christ's mercy, and our hope of eternal life with God forever. It also keeps us mindful of the fact that Heaven, while attainable by all through the death and Resurrection of Jesus, is a gift we must accept.

Sacrifices and prayers of praise, Lord,
we offer to You.
Receive them in behalf of those souls
we commemorate today.
And let them, Lord,
pass from death to life,
which was promised to Abraham
and his descendants.

Sadly this week, I also attended the funeral of a high school friend, who at 34, was taken from his friends and family much too early. It was surreal, first being at the funeral home with only an urn, and then being there with some people I haven't seen in 16 years.

I don,t think my friend or his family were particularly religious, but there was a local Assembly of God pastor who did a brief service. He read some Scripture such as John 3:16 and
Psalm 23 as well as gave a brief reflection of death and salvation. After some personal witnesses, most notably from his 2 young children (which was heartbreaking to say the least), the pastor led a prayer of committal and it was done.

Something seemed missing last night. Yes, my friend was definitely missing and missed by those gathered, but there was something more. Maybe I'm just used to a Catholic funeral with it's rubrics, ritual, and most importantly the Eucharist. During the service, I actually prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for my friend and all those in attendance and hoped that in his last moments, heard Jesus' invitation and reached out for Him. I hope we all accept His invitation and accept His freely given gift of Salvation.

Please pray for the repose of my friend's soul an for healing and comfort for his family and friends. The last movement of the Requiem sums it up best:

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternum dona eis, Domine,
et Lux perpetua luceat eis,
cum Sanctus tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es. 

Let eternal light shine on them, Lord,
as with Your saints in eternity,
because You are merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine on them,
as with Your saints in eternity,
because You are merciful.

Have a blessed week.