If the new evangelization means in part trying to bring the lax and the “no-shows” at Mass and Holy Communion back to their senses and practice their faith, it will take a lot more than speeches, programs, and homilies by the hierarchy. It takes exceptional efforts at prayer and penance on the part of the few to save the many.
Before one tries to restore truth to the blind of mind and the dull of heart, we must remember that exceptional graces for others require more than ordinary efforts. We know from our faith that no one can merit grace for others from the perspective of justice but only by appealing to God’s mercy in friendship.
When St. Catherine of Siena wanted to save several of her friends from dying unrepentant, she would beg God to send her the punishments due to their sins so long as he would grant her wish that they repent. After accepting much suffering often for many months, she would “win” back their souls, something some of us can admire but not imitate since it would be based on a great deal of false motives, especially presumption.
I once wrote a book called Music and Morals in which I tried to show that some music has a dispositive effect on the moral life. Music does not immediately or directly cause virtue or otherwise the beautiful works of Mozart or Bach that were played at the same time while the Nazis were killing Jews would have prevented such atrocities.
Like preaching itself, many works of music motivate to transcendence or degradation of one’s moral life. For example, listening to Gregorian chant or Palestrina at the Mass, all things considered, normally intensifies prayer because the mood is prayerful caused in large part by prayerful singers. If one understands Latin, then the sentences take on a richer meaning leading to contemplative prayer, more or less, depending on one’s spiritual life. It can introduce the listener to the praise and adoration of God himself.
By Adolfo Castañeda, S.T.L. and Felipe E. Vizcarrondo, M.D.
The mission of Christ entrusted to the Church is of a supernatural order. It is not primarily political, economic or social. From this mission, however, derive teachings for all aspects of human life. This is why the Church rightly claims “the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls” (CCC 2032).