How nice to see you dear! What a lovely surprise! I was just going out to prune the roses, but let me take off my hat, here, would you put my gloves over there on the swing? Thank you dear. Let’s go in and fix a nice glass of mint tea. I know it’s a little bit naughty, but I usually have a little drop of something in mine. Would you like some? It doesn’t do any harm you know, and Dr Bellavance says it’s good for my heart. Then we could sit on the porch for a spell. You know my dear, I thought quite long and hard about what you said last time about the hymns at church. I shouldn’t worry yourself too much about whether the hymns appeal to the young of not. Goodness gracious, have you heard what they like to listen to? When my grandson Henry comes over to mow the lawn he lets me listen to his music and I’m afraid it just sounds like cars crashing to me. I can’t hear the words and there doesn’t seem to be any tune at all. Think what it would be like at Mass dear if we really did give the young people the sort of music they wanted to listen to. No, I think that would be a mistake don’t you? In my view we need to lift people up to something higher, not take our Good Lord down to the lowest level. I know when he was here on earth he went to parties where they must have had loud music, but he’s in heaven now and doesn’t have to do that anymore. He suffered enough here on earth, we mustn’t make it worse for him. I don’t tell Henry this, but to tell you the truth the music he listens to sounds like it was composed in Hell not heaven, and to bring it into church. I don’t think so. It’s just not right. Goodness me, what next? Big screens in church and go go dancers I expect! You know dear, my neighbor invited me to their church called CrossWinds or Breaking Wind or something of that sort, and she said they actually do have a Dunkin’ Donuts in the lobby and big screens and their pastor is not really there but is a holograph or something. I didn’t really understand what that is, but it’s not what I want when I go to church. You see, I was discussing this with Fr. O’Keefe and he said that he chooses hymns very carefully so that they go with the readings at Mass, and he always chooses hymns that people can sing, but the problem is that nobody is taught to sing nowdays. When I was at school we had singing lessons, and we practiced! I remember singing My Country ‘Tis of Thee and She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain. We used to enjoy it. This will make you laugh dear, but when I first became a Catholic I asked Henry about the crossed armed Catholics. He asked what I meant, and I said, “Why all those young men standing at the back of church with their arms crossed and their mouths closed. They look like Mass is the last place they’d like to be, and never open their mouths to sing a hymn or say the responses. Why don’t they just stay at home!” You see, I wasn’t being very kind was I? So Henry explained that I shouldn’t judge them, and at least they were there and how could we know their motives. He was absolutely right. I do miss Henry my dear. He was so sweet and wise about everything. Always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. So I don’t worry too much if the young people don’t sing hymns at Mass. I do wish they would learn to sing them though because I think they’d get more out of Mass if they did. Henry’s brother was a monk you know–Fr Placid he was called, and I remember once when we visited him he didn’t speak for about an hour, then he said, “He who sings prays twice.” Before long I got him chatting away quite happily and I remember one thing he said, that the real reason people don’t sing at Mass is because when people sing they become vulnerable, and when you sing a hymn as soon as you open your mouth you also have to open your heart, and you know my dear I think that is the real problem, and I’m afraid we can’t do much about that except offer up a few more prayers. My that is refreshing isn’t it? Would you like to help me with the roses dear? They need some more mulch around them, and I’m finding the wheelbarrow rather heavy these days. We could work on it together for a bit, and when we’re done we can have another mint julep, I mean mint tea.
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