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"Music hath charms . . . "

The Thanksgiving Mass we had at St. Columba coincided with the feast day of St. Cecilia, a martyr in the early years (3rd century) of the Church.

This made me recall that when we went to Rome some years ago, we visited the catacombs of St. Callixtus. There we saw a sculpture of St. Cecilia at the exact spot where she was initially buried. Her body was found uncorrupted centuries later, and it was transferred to the church in Trastevere in Rome.

St. Cecilia is revered as the patron saint of music and musicians because on her wedding day, she sang a song to Christ in her heart. The saint is depicted mostly playing the harp or piano, or holding a violin.

Music has had a special place in the Church's worship, prayer, and liturgy. Through the centuries, the Church's prayers, including parts of the Mass, have been set to music. For music sparks and enhances the prayerful mood: the adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplications of the pray-er (the one who prays) addressed to his Creator and Lord.

Gregorian chant, especially, succeeds in drawing pray-ers to the Almighty in ways that are unexplainable. The "Te Deum," "Adoro Te Devote," the "Panis Angelicus," the "Kyrie Eleison," and the more modern worship songs help us to pray and lift our minds and hearts to God. No wonder, St. Augustine tells us: "If you sing, you pray twice.

"Pray without ceasing." Aside from church and prayer groups, we can sing our prayer while driving to work, while doing house chores, when we find ourselves alone like hiking or biking in the forest or your neighborhood or just about anywhere.

According to William Congreve in the play "The Mourning Bride": "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast . . ."

It has the power to enchant even the roughest of people, even the toughest heart.

When we sing our prayer, our toughness or even hardheartedness melts in the gentle love of God.#

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