Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Pearls Before Breakfast"

I find myself gravitating towards the same thoughts and ideas lately; the concepts of wonder and awe, a sense of the sacred and the beautiful. I think it's because I'm hungry! I've been left hungry by the glitz and the shallowness of the media. And I hear real Beauty beckon, offering food for my soul.

I think many of us are hungry these days. We're fed so much garbage from our fast food culture. A friend of mine sent me an article from the Washington Post that for me was a total confirmation of these thoughts and inklings. The article (attached below) absolutely confirms what many feel is an illness, a malignancy, a cancer of the modern mind: that loss of a sense of wonder. An ignorance of beauty.

The Washington Post pulled off this incredibly sobering stunt a few months ago. The full article is here, with video clips from the hidden camera:

The short of this very long article (so worth the read) is that we are moving too fast, living too fast, and passing by beauty sometimes without a second glance. In the case of this story, many of us are not only NOT stopping to smell the roses, but we don't even remember what a rose is anymore!

Joshua Bell, one of the world's great musicians, was asked to slip incognito into a D.C. Metro station during the morning rush hour, open up the case of his violin, and play some of the world's most beloved classical music of all time for the masses. The point? Would the people notice? Would beauty stop them cold, or would they coldly pass beauty by in the rush to "other appointments"?

Shakespeare once wrote that it was "strange that sheep's guts should hail men's souls from their bodies." Do they still? Can music still calm the savage beast in us and raise our minds to what is above?

I'd love to know your thoughts on this one! So read on!

I'll close with a favorite poem of mine. I was introduced to this one by listening to Bishop Fulton Sheen, who often quoted it in his talks. I think you'll see the parallel when you read the article. For what is the sound of music, even the most beautiful, when we discover that the Musician Himself has been with us all the while?

"When Jesus came to Golgotha they hanged Him on a tree,
They drave great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed Him by,
They never hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.
Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do,"
And still it rained the wintry rain that drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary.

- G.A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

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