May 18, 2015

'The Greatest Stumbling Block to My Conversion'


How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears, distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face—tears that did me good.
~ St. Augustine, Confessions 9:6, 14

These wonderful words are quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which also reads as follows:

The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. the main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy. The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. the Church continues and develops this tradition: "Address . . . one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart." "He who sings prays twice." (Eph 5:19; St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 72,1: PL 36, 914; cf. Col 3:16)
Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are "more closely connected . . . with the liturgical action," according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful.

"Wonderful!" you'll say. Well, things are very different in real life... Here is what a former Lutheran pastor who is now Roman Catholic had to say a few years ago:

I am sorry to say Augustine’s wonderful words do not describe my experience with worship in the Church. Though at times I have been on the verge of tears, that was due to feelings of despair and not devotion. Far from drawing me into the Church, the manner in which the Mass is celebrated in most parishes constituted, in the end, the greatest stumbling block to my conversion.

The rest of the article is also worth reading.



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May 11, 2015

My Newly Redesigned Website Is Up!

Dear readers,

I’m very pleased to announce that my newly redesigned website, www.srpiccoli.eu (also www.aninfiniteidea.org), is now up and running! Any feedback is welcome and really appreciated!

The purpose of my new website is to provide general information about myself, my interests and background, as well as details about my books, including extracts, reviews, interviews, and more.

There you will also find a page of favorite quotations—some 120 at the moment, but the number is expected to rapidly increase—along with an introductory note titled “Why Quotations Matter.” Another page is that devoted to Web resources. Both of them, in my humble opinion, may contribute significantly to a better understanding of myself, even though they are first and foremost tools I use regularly to explore and catalogue my passions and interests.

I hope I did my best to help readers find what they may be looking for. Otherwise, please let me know. Paraphrasing a famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, everything in life is an experiment. Therefore, the more you experiment, the more you fail, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know, and how much more there is to know and to learn, and how much better you can get if you really work at it. But I'm getting slightly off topic here... so let's get back on track! I'd just let you know that I really appreciate any and all feedback, positive, negative, humorous, or whatever.

I'll be waiting for you at the door. See you soon!




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