The music of our soul

By Deacon Derick Cranston

There is utter and complete pitch-black darkness. It is an all-consuming “nothingness” that suffocates any definition or meaning. It is so void of meaning that — in a mind-boggling way — you cannot even say it is “nothingness,” because simply naming it gives it definition and meaning. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Quarks and neutrons come into existence penetrating the nothingness, producing form and definition. The very first strands of being and existence are woven into the very fabric of the universe. They are the first notes to harmonize into matter and energy; the symphony of an unfolding cosmos begins.

The musical notes of divine creation become chords and the chords harmonize and become a melody. There is a natural progression of quantum fluctuations, stars, gravity, dark energy, solar systems, planets and life! The tempo increases into a sweet joy of ecstasy as the celestial conductor brings forth every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed within it.

An operatic aria booms forth in ecstasy as man is fashioned from the clay of the earth and woman from the rib of the man. The divine aria begins and the Lord sweetly sings, “Be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over every living thing on earth.” The Garden of Eden, a paradise on earth, is given to our first parents to effortlessly live in joy and happiness. And then they eat from the fruit of the poisonous tree.

The music suddenly descends into dark, ominous tones and the drama of the human condition begins. The ground is cursed; the woman will now in pain bring forth children and the man will toil by the sweat of his brow to yield forth earth’s bounty. No longer will the attainment of joy and happiness be effortless. The heavenly music is replaced by the noise of pain and suffering.

But the human race is not completely abandoned by God. The first whispers and faint notes of divine music are whispered to Noah and Abraham and their descendants, the chosen people of Israel. But this is only a prelude to the incarnation of God as he manifests himself as the light of the human race which shines in the darkness. A host of heavenly angels burst forth and breaks into song, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to people of goodwill.”

But a kernel of wheat cannot bear much fruit unless it falls to the ground and dies. All too soon our Lord and Savior is taken from this earth. This is only the beginning of a new and more glorious musical score that will transform our earthly dwelling tent into a mansion with many rooms. The Holy Spirit is sent to dwell among us to bring forth music from the noise and clutter of a world rife with pain and suffering.

Yes, the music is often hidden in the background as we struggle to learn and master the musical instruments of our soul and the essence of our being. But despite all the noise and discordance of an imperfect world, the music is still there … can you hear it?

(Deacon Cranston is pastoral associate for St. Mary Parish in Riverside, Holy Trinity Parish in Richmond and St. Joseph Parish in Wellman. He can be reached at derickcranston@gmail.com.)

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