Friday, June 29, 2012

Music to Encourage Conversion of Heart

Of all that has encouraged my conversion to the Catholic Faith, one of the most important encouragements was music. The fact that I discovered was that the quickest way to conversion is understanding Jesus and Mary. Obviously, conversion to Catholicism is complex, and there is a lot to grapple with, and it can be extraordinarily hard to understand all of it at once or to come to terms with all doubts that you may have. But trust me, spiritually, there is no where you will be better aided in getting to the very heart of all Catholicism, than in the relationship between Jesus and Mary. If you can get there, and understand the Passion of Christ through the eyes of Mary, and understand Mary through the Eyes of Jesus; if you can not so much even understand as feel their relationship, you will be at the heart and soul and core of all that the Catholic strives for. All of the treasures of grace and wisdom and truth that is Catholicism lie at the meeting place between these two; for it is here that God meets man. Music can be an incredible aid to opening your heart and your mind to the spiritual power of dwelling in Jesus and Mary, take this video, for example. This video will soften anyone's heart, because it presents the reality of Mary's maternal suffering and her intentional and sublime cooperation with the Redemption that Christ gave us in His Passion. It sparked in me a love and a care for the Blessed Mother as her son, as one who was born of her and is united to her in a bond as unbreakable as that of the bond between her Son Jesus and her. It also helped me to grow in understanding that nothing that was done in the past or is done now in the Life of Christ that we share, which life is utter oblation, and in oblation, utter prayer to the Father, is done without Mary, the Mother of God. This is the most sublime way to understand the concept of Mediatrix of Grace being applied to Mary - Mary is involved with all Graces that we receive specifically because she is the very humanity of Christ, and she is involved in all of His Life, that Life which is but one act of oblation and prayer from the beginning of His Divine Conception, to His Passion and Burial, to His Resurrection and His eternal presentation of Sacrificial Prayer before the Father as the Lamb on the Altar in Revelation. Mary cannot be separated from Jesus, nor Jesus from Mary; the Life of Christ is Marian in spirit, and the Mary herself is Christ's blessed humanity, which communicates to us all grace. This, I think, is communicated to the soul in this video, and others like it.

Also helpful to remember is that every Catholic ought to strive for continual conversion of heart toward dwelling more deeply and fully in that special bond between Jesus and Mary that is the very Life of Christ, the Life of the Sacraments and the Life of Prayer and Contemplation. It is not enough to simply passively receive the Sacraments or to go through the Catholic life in a sort of participatory way. It is not even enough to intellectually know dogma. Dogma is, as Chesterton put it, the gate and fence which guards the children from spilling out into dangerous lands, and thus to know dogma is essential. But to simply stare at the fence without frolicking in the wonderful garden contained in that fence is to miss out on a substantial part of the Life of the Church, the Life of Christ. Certainly, you will be safe staring at the dogmatic fence and minding it and it alone. But come, come to the center of the garden, and come meet Jesus in Mary and Mary in Jesus in a personal way that transforms your way of thinking about God and about our world. When you receive any Sacrament, when you pray any prayer, when you offer up any personal praise to God, or contemplate any sublime mystery, know that Jesus and Mary, Mary and Jesus, are right now present in your act. Be aware of it, strive for more of it; for where Mary and Jesus are, there is the Holy Spirit, and all grace. And when we dwell in the Spirit and grace, we are running for the Father of Mercies and of Light, who longs to embrace us.

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