About this blogger:
Richard J. Clark has served since 1989 as Music Director and Organist at Saint Cecilia Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. For the Archdiocese of Boston, he directed the Office of Divine Worship Saint Cecilia Schola. His compositions have been performed on four continents.
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"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful."
— His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI (7 July 2007)

Composing Heals a Heavy Heart
published 18 October 2013 by Richard J. Clark

USIC HEALS THE BROKEN HEART. Composing in fact, does wonders in this area. One note—one subtle change of dissonance and resolution, of tension and release—can alter the complexion of spirit. One unnoticed change of harmony can cry out to God our inmost pleading of unspeakable human emotion. One note can express the prayer we cannot or dare not put to words.

The creative act, especially in a defined prayerful structure, can sometimes uncover a wounded heart, one that is buried under its own weight. Therefore, composition is an act of prayer and release for a heart in bondage. This prayer need not be a great masterwork. Music in service to God—even for a humble group of singers—may heal and lift those weighed down. This may include the composer as well!

Meanwhile, consider composing an antiphon, and then a simple psalm tone. (Perhaps do this every week? You may become transformed!) Keep in mind, the “limitations” of liturgical structure are in fact not limitations at all, but a roadmap that leads to more focused prayer. This in turn can lead to delightful surprises both musical and spiritual.

For the antiphons and their psalms draw the composer into their wondrous revelations. The psalms expose humanity in all of its frailty and depth. The psalmist unapologetically proclaims the joyful praise of God, the distress of suffering, and the acceptance of total dependance on God. All of these things are found in the psalms ready to be rediscovered again and again in music and prayer.

Finally, here is a simple offering for Communion for this Sunday. It is simple, and I hope it can humbly serve in prayer:

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PDFDomine, Dominus noster | Communion Antiphon | 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time