Monday, January 5, 2009

Be still my soul

As I was about to begin Mass a lady in distress came to see me. There was little I could do in the few moments before walking out on the altar, so I invited her to come round when Mass was over. During the Offertory, the organist played the Sibelius piece to which the verses below have been attached.

The splendour of the music moved me deeply and touched something above and beyond. At the end of the service, the lady herself came round to say, that she was fine and needed no further help. The message that sounded from the organ playing supplied all she wanted. "Waves of stillness and splendour swept over me, as the Finlandia music, as it is known, sounded through the church.”

Most of that piece by Sibelius is taken up with rousing and turbulent music, evoking the national struggle of the Finnish people. But towards the end, a calm comes over the orchestra, and the serenely melodic hymn is heard. How well suited it is to the Christian words applied to it:
Be still, my soul:
Your God will undertake
To guide the future
As he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence,
Let nothing shake,
All now mysterious
Shall be clear at last.
Be still my soul:
The tempests still obey
His voice, who ruled them
Once in Galilee.

For the Christian, the secret of stillness and security is faith in Jesus Christ. We do not rest in the void and the darkness, we respond to the call of one who loves us: Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest. Mt.11.28

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