Columns

Music of God

Originally Appeared in : 9723-11/9/17

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When I was 13, my parents, sister and I traveled to Paris for a week. We visited many Parisian landmarks including the remarkable 12th century gothic cathedral dedicated to Our Lady, Notre Dame de Paris. The flying buttresses, rose windows, towers, and uplifting interior pointed to a higher place, encouraging us to lift up our minds and hearts to a transcendent and eternal God. After graduating from high school I returned to the historic cathedral and attended Mass on June 11, 2000, Pentecost Sunday. It was during that visit that my mind and heart were uplifted not only by the architecture of the place but also by the spectacular organ music. I imagined the notes swerving through the arches and filling every nook and cranny of the church. The sound emerging from the pipes shook my insides – sound waves passing through me unseen but certainly felt, in the same way the Holy Spirit works in our lives. Christmas Eve of 2008 I returned to the magnificent cathedral, this time to stand admiring its façade after midnight Mass as its organ could be heard blasting and continuous tolling bells announced to the freezing Parisian night that Christ was born in Bethlehem.

 

Two weeks ago Olivier Latry, one of the three principal organists of Notre Dame Cathedral, visited Savannah and dazzled about 300 people at a concert at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. A musical genius, he has played at Notre Dame de Paris for the past 32 years, ever since he was 23 years old. The night before the concert, I went into the cathedral before going to bed as I often do to pray. I found myself sitting close to the altar while Latry rehearsed on the opposite side of the church up in the choir loft. Exquisite music gushed effortlessly out of the pipe organ. “What a privilege,” I thought. I was overwhelmed not only by the beauty of the music but by the singular opportunity to sit in the church for an impromptu personal concert by a world renowned musician. “All that beauty being created now, and I am the only one who gets to hear it.”

 

 

As I sat on the deacon’s bench, I was overcome with a sense of God’s personal interest in my life and his fatherly care. As incredible as this singular concert was, how much greater is the symphony God writes for each person he creates! “Even the hairs of your head have all been counted” (Luke 12:7). Suddenly the organist represented God the Father playing beautiful music just for me to enjoy. God is a gardener who tends every flower individually. He is not a distant entity who governs the world from afar sitting on a throne; he is near. “What is man that you should keep him in mind? Mortal man you should care for him?” (Psalm 8:4). Notre Dame came to Savannah, and Christ her son was near. “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you” (Isaiah 49:15).

 

Father Pablo Migone is chancellor of the Diocese of Savannah and resides in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist,Savannah.

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