Music and the Education of the Christian Soul

By |2019-01-05T12:11:21-05:00January 5th, 2019|Categories: Antonio Vivaldi, Beauty, Christianity, Culture, Happiness, Heaven, Mother of God, Music, Sainthood|

In a world ringing with noise and suffused with the more or less artful idolizing of passions divorced from objective goods, where are we to find melodies capable of penetrating our hardened hearts with spiritual truths? In Plato’s Republic, Socrates leads a group of ambitious young Athenians on a search for the best way of [...]

Do You Desire True Liberty? Then Let the Children Live!

By |2019-03-07T11:13:58-05:00December 18th, 2018|Categories: Abortion, Catholicism, Charity, Christianity, Mother of God|

St. John the Baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord by proclaiming the Good News of the coming of the Redeemer, and by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just. According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees. He had them [...]

A Quintet of Sonnets for Mary

By |2019-03-05T14:35:22-05:00December 8th, 2018|Categories: Mother of God, Poetry|

It is true that some Christians have disagreed with one another bitterly about her, but equally, in every age and every church she has been, for many Christians, a sign of hope, an example of prayer, devotion and service, and an inspiration. In a strange way, which I will write about one day, she was [...]

Ave Maris Stella

By |2018-12-08T00:08:39-05:00September 8th, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Edvard Grieg, Mother of God|

Editor’s Note: Edvard Grieg composed his "Ave Maris Stella" ("Hail Star of the Sea"), for mixed choir, in 1898. It is based on a plainsong Vespers hymn to the Virgin Mary that dates to the eighth century. Its lyrics, in Latin and English, are below the embedded video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmFFYZID4rg   Ave, maris stella, Dei mater alma, atque semper virgo, felix cœli [...]

The Seven Joys of Mary

By |2018-12-08T00:07:40-05:00January 1st, 2018|Categories: Catholicism, Mother of God, Music|

Editor's Note: "The Seven Joys of Mary" (sometimes called simply "Joys Seven") is a traditional carol based on events in the life of the Mother of God. Though it was not originally connected to the Christmas season, it has become so with time. It should be noted that the joys described in the song differ [...]

“O Virgo Virginum”: A New Sonnet Set and Sung

By |2019-03-05T14:54:28-05:00December 24th, 2017|Categories: Mother of God, Music, Poetry|

Last year I was asked by the Precentor of Wells Cathedral if I would write an extra 8th Antiphon sonnet to go with the special 8th O antiphon, O Virgo Virginum, which was used in English churches and Cathedrals in the middle ages, as distinct from the usual seven on the continent. He explained that the Cathedral was [...]

Blessed Flesh of the Virgin Mary

By |2018-12-08T00:08:08-05:00December 8th, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Mother of God, Music|

Editor's Note: "Beata Viscera Marie Virginis" ("Blessed Flesh of the Virgin Mary") is a piece intended for the Communion section of a Mass honoring the Blessed Mother of God. This setting is a monophonic (one-voice) "conductus," a musical form that gained in popularity during the lifetime of the medieval church composer Perotin, and which was intended to [...]

Oh, White Lady: Faith as a Struggle

By |2018-12-07T23:49:59-05:00May 11th, 2014|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christianity, Mother of God|

Faith has always been a struggle for me. Indeed, throughout my forty-six years of life, very rarely have I ever felt comfortable for any stretch of time with my religion or my religious practices. I readily and rather gleefully abandoned almost any faith and religious observance during my teenage years. I’m not totally sure [...]