April 18, 2012

The Blessed Between

This past Sunday was my last Mass at the parish where I have been going since last year. Leaving this little 'help out' has thrown me deeper into the liminal space, the in-between time, that first crashed open when I got the call about the Rome job back in September and realized that I wouldn't be finishing the doctoral program at BC.

At the Mass one of the songs was Dan Schutte's Blest Be The Lord.

Music hooks itself into memory so deeply. For example, I can't hear the Beastie Boys' Ill Communication album without being taken back to another very liminal period, the six weeks or so in between my graduation from college and my first entrance into religious life. Though I have no desire to do so, if I were to listen to the albums House of Pain or the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Mother's Milk, I would certainly be taken right back to the cheap pool hall at University College Galway where I spent so many afternoons in the spring of 1993. Those were the only two records they had, and they alternated loudly and continuously. But a game of 8-Ball was only 35p, so what do you want?

Of course I would rather have a Graduale romanum or a Liber usualis in my hand than an OCP hymnal and even though Blest Be The Lord is pretty hokey, at least it's a psalm. But in any case it sure takes me back. At the Saturday vigil Mass at Harkness Chapel on the campus of Connecticut College, Blest Be the Lord was in very heavy rotation back in the fall of 1992 when I was a new Catholic. It will probably always remind me of the sense and feel of my neophyte days.

Hearing and singing this song at Mass on Sunday has stuck with me during this week. It has come into prayer as the gratitude for the way a liminal time, in its concentration of endings and beginnings, brings back the clarity and innocence of early inspirations. Grace uses the peculiar openness of the time to re-member the journey of self and the salvation God delights and desires to give.

1 comment:

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

That song sticks with me as well; it's one of the first ones I learned to play. Yes, hokey--but I appreciate that a good bit of the early St. Louis Jesuit music was, at least, very Scriptural. I'll take "hokey but scriptural" over "hokey and questionable" any day of the week.