Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Novena for Fr. Jaki - Second Day

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Prayer must contain the lifting of the mind to God, an act rooted in conceptualization before it can blossom into the unutterable promptings of the Spirit that in turn are immensely more than mere aesthetics.
It is well to recall that Augustine took Athanasius, one of the greatest minds ever in the Church, for his guide in the matter of praying the psalms. Athanasius, so wrote Augustine in that chapter 33, "used to oblige the rectors to recite the psalms with such slight modulation of the voice that they seem to be speaking rather than chanting." Such problems do not, of course, arise in private recitation of the psalms.
As a wise pastor of souls, Augustine did not urge the abolition of melodies attached to the psalms. "I am inclined," he wrote, "to approve of the custom of singing in church, in order that by indulging the ears weaker spirits may be inspired with feelings of devotion." Yet whenever he found "the singing itself more moving than the truth which it conveys," he took this for a "grievous sin" and at those times he "preferred not to hear the singer." Such was the dilemma of the one appreciative of music and yet even more sensitive to what prayer had to be, an "elevatio mentis ad Deum," the lifting of the mind to God.

[Jaki, Praying the Psalms introduction]


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