Posted by: fvbcdm | January 30, 2013

Feast of Saint Valerius (29 Jan 2013)

One afternoon in the fall, I was sitting in the apartment I occupied on the campus of Aquinas Junior College in Nashville doing some school work and listening to a marvelous set of records a friend had given me of the piano music of Mozart. From my windows, I could see that a lady was having trouble with her car, so I went outside and told her that she was welcome to come use my telephone — those were the days before cell phones.

She came in, dialed her number, and then had to wait while the person she wanted came to the telephone. All was quiet except for the beauty of Mozart which I was playing fairly softly. Suddenly she looked at me with a look of wonder and discovery on her face and she said, “That is BEAUTIFUL music!” I got the impression that she had never heard anything like that before. I simply answered, “Yes. It’s Mozart.” She finished her call, thanked me, and went back to her car when someone came to help her.

Earlier this week, we observed the birthday of Mozart in 1756, 257 years ago. Most popular music lasts no time at all—thank Heaven—but Mozart was composing his exquisite pieces 230 years ago, and they are still the joy of millions who have an ear for good music.

I believe that beauty and the perception of it is a very important part of education. If I were a parent, I would collect good music and play it in the dining room during mealtimes or at other family gatherings. And I would also buy inexpensive reproductions of the great art of the world: Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, DaVinci, Rembrandt, Rubens, the French impressionists, and display them in the home on a rotating basis. When visiting the great art museums of Europe, I always spend some time in the gift shop buying a few postcards of the paintings in the museum, and wishing that I could buy them all! I feel like a kid in a candy store. Right now, I have in the study where I am presently seated a small reproduction of the Virgin and Child by Murillo; the original hangs in the Pitti Palace in Florence. There are no eyes in the art world more beautiful than those of the young mother and her baby in that picture.

Let us appreciate beauty, whether it be natural or man-made. And let us try to avoid having our sensibilities totally dulled by the cheap, trashy music that we are forced to listen to in restaurants or elevators. Whether our children are rich or poor they are members of the human race, and therefore have a right to know and love good art, good music, and to perceive the splendor of a spiderweb sparkling with raindrops after a summer shower. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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