Today I took out some old vintage records of mine. One was of a French singer Edith Piaf And the other Gregorian chants from the 1950s. I don’t understand an absolute word of what is sung, yet I like to listen to it.
Have you ever had that happen? You’re listening to some music in a foreign language you don’t understand? Somehow you find yourself really touched and moved by what is being sung. People ask me, “how can you stand for two sometimes three hours at Greek and Russian Orthodox liturgies not understanding the ancient language spoken?”
It makes me wonder if our souls are always ten steps ahead of our human intellects complete with all its earthly limitations? Is that making sense to you? Our souls seem to recognize languages we don’t and this is why we feel great when we hear the music play.
There are people out there who get bored listening to music not in their own language. They may be able to smile and appreciate the diversity of language and the good beat, but after a while it gets irritable for them and they turn it off.
Unlike me they certainly won’t go out and buy it. This diversity in approach makes me question if it’s a soul thing or a sort of Grace or something. Not that I’m crowning myself with graces and being presumptive of that, but it is interesting.
When I stand at these long liturgies I’m not able to explain why I feel this way. But I’ve noticed that when my heart is far from God, I become bored like everyone else at these foreign liturgies. Therefore, maybe the excitement towards music not in my native tongue has its root in how close our souls are to God? When we are close to God all music aimed towards him sounds great. When our hearts have grown cold and are far from God we don’t receive it as readily as before.
Whatever the case may be, our intellect and the soul, although at play with one another have two different functions. For example a police man knows how to burgle a house because he’s studied the subject but he chooses not to do it. We know a piece of music is in a foreign language but we choose to love it because without being able to transmit it to the intellect our soul feels how right it sounds. This with some sort of combination of closeness to the Divine.
To quote Coldplays new song a bit, “You’ve got a higher power” at play somewhere inside you and it manifests itself in a love for things only the soul can comprehend independent of the intellect.