In recent days, while reflecting on why music has always seemed to occupy such a large space in my life, I’ve come to realize that I use it in (mostly) two ways.
Well, three, actually. Because the first — “first” as in “primary” — way is pretty much straight-up enjoyment, brought on by an appreciation of and a deep love for its beauty. But that’s a very emotional response, and I can’t/don’t analyze it much.
I just feel it.
In a more intellectual (or maybe just less visceral) way, though, I use music to inspire emotions. And to control them. And that means it can have (and has had) a huge impact on my spiritual life. (Also, yes. I realize this is pretty basic stuff and not at all unique to me. Well, either that, or the Church has created and curated vast stables of liturgical music for pretty much no reason.)
My Lents, in particular, have frequently benefited from a bit of melodically-packaged meditation, for there is nothing better suited to slow my racing mind while subtly offering me food for thought at exactly the same time. But I’ve never really been particularly systematic. So this Lent, I’m modifying the cool “Photo-A-Day” idea and attempting the Lenten Musical Challenge instead. (There’s no way I can do anything for 365 days, anyway.)
So, I’m going to post — or try to post — a musical meditation each day from now until Easter. There might be some themes; there might not (other than, of course, LENT). But you’re welcome to come along for the ride, beginning with today’s inaugural offering from the influential (if not particularly famous, at present) Francisco de Peñalosa: “Inter Vestibulum et Altare.”
Inter vestibulum et altare
ministri Domini, discentes: Parce, Domine,
et ne des hereditatem tuam in opprobrium,
ut non dominentur eis nationes.
Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris.
The priests, the Lord’s ministers,
were praying between the court
and the altar, saying:
Spare your people, O Lord,
and do not abandon your heritage to shame,
so that the heathen shall not rule over them.
Give peace in our time, O Lord.