About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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"Since such is the nature of man that he cannot easily without external means be raised to meditation on divine things, on that account holy Mother Church has instituted certain rites, namely that certain things be pronounced in a subdued tone (canon and words of consecration) and others in a louder tone; she has likewise made use of ceremonies such as mystical blessings, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind in accordance with apostolic teaching and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be commended, and the minds of the faithful excited by these visible signs of religion and piety to the contemplation of the most sublime matters which are hidden in this sacrifice."
— Council of Trent (Session XXII)

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St. Hildegard of Bingen on Music
published 27 December 2012 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

St. Hildegard of Bingen is a wonderful medieval woman saint. Now that Pope Benedict has made her a doctor of the Church we ought to read her more. Here are some lines from her writings I especially liked:

“There is the Music of Heaven in all things and we have forgotten how to hear it until we sing.

“Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, these watery varieties of sounds and silences, terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.

“When the words come, they are merely empty shells without the music. They live as they are sung, for the words are the body and the music the spirit.”

On a personal note, I had a charming experience. One of my grandsons is studying piano and composing. I was listening to him practice in the distance. He has a book to work with that contains renditions of all types of music, including what we used to call “lounge lizard music,” i.e. what popular pianists played at night clubs underneath the din of the voices of the drinkers and diners. I noticed that one piece was really beautiful. I asked what it was. It turned out to be a Beethoven Minuet. I was delighted that my untrained musical taste was good enough to prefer that music without knowing who the composer was.