I would share one of the highlights of today’s class reading. It’s had me pondering all day.
The article was the text of a talk Cardinal Ratzinger gave on Church Music in 1985 (20 years before he was elected pope). The link to the complete text is below. He concludes his talk saying:
I would like to conclude my remarks with a fine quotation from Mahatma Gandhi which I recently, found in a calendar. Gandhi mentions the three “living areas” of the cosmos and notes that each of these involves a specific manner of existing.
Fish live in the sea, and they are silent.
Animals on earth below, bark and bray.
But the birds who inhabit the heavens sing.
Silence is proper to the sea, braying is proper to the earth, and singing belongs to heaven.
But man has a share in all three, for within himself he bears the depths of the sea, the burden of the earth and the heights of heaven. Hence he possesses all three properties: silence, bellowing and singing.
Today, I would like to add, we see that for man deprived of transcendence there remains only braying, because he desires to be earth arid nothing more, indeed tries to make the heavens and the ocean deep to be his earth.
True liturgy, the liturgy of the communion of saints, gives man once again his completeness. It instructs him once again in silence and in singing by opening for him the depths of the sea and by teaching him to fly—the existence of the angels. By “lifting up the heart;” true liturgy allows the buried song to resound in man once again. Indeed, we could now actually say that true liturgy can be recognized by the fact that it liberates from everyday activity and restores to us both the depths and the heights: silence and singing. True liturgy is recognizable because it is cosmic and not limited to a group. True liturgy sings with the angels, and true liturgy is silent with the expectant depths of the universe. And thus true liturgy redeems the earth.