Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Reformation Day!

On this day in 1517 Martin Luther Nailed these 95 points of debate to the door of the Wittenberg church. This act utterly commonplace and no one had any way of knowing that this perfectly orthodox Catholic dissertation would be the spark that lit the flame that we know as the Protestant Reformation.

Instead of posting the whole 95 thesis I decided to post the 20 most relevant to the point of the whole. The whole thing is available here if you are interested

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial."

86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?"

90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace!

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Various things, mostly music

(Note: I wrote this during the summer after a week in New Orleans for Suzuki training. I never posted it, and I'm not sure why. I came across it and decided that it was not to time-sensitive to post now. So I did)

Well, I have spent a week learning how to teach the piano. I think I learned as much about how to play the piano as how to teach it. I have been inspired to practice 3 hours a day. Let's see how long it lasts.

Awhile back I was listening to some really good music. I guess we have gotten rather out of the habit of listening to music as much as we used to. As I was swept away by the beauty of what I was hearing, I remembered "oh yes, this is why I am a musician. Because I love it." funny, isn't it, how sometimes we lose sight of the forest for the trees? I have spent so much time recently practicing because it's what I have to do that I had lost sight of why I was doing it in the first place. Music is a gift, and I'm in the business of sharing it. You know, I think that perhaps that could be said of many of the things I do. Sometimes I get so caught up in 'doing the right thing' that I forget the big picture. I'm a child of the King, chosen and blood bought. God's love and his grace are gifts, and I'm in the business of sharing them. What would my life look like if that where always first and foremost on my mind? By God's grace, we'll see.

You know, music is many thing to many people. To some it is a waste of time and energy. To some it is a nice venue of entertainment that they could live with or without. To some, however, it is a positive obsession. Robin's horn teacher went off on a tangent at one of her lessons about people who are so "into" music that it is almost a religion. "It's like music is the god and we are all priests of something. I think that some of them would like us to shave our heads and bow worship it" I didn't quite know how to take that statement when it was made, but then, I had never met someone who fit that category. Well, I have now. My instructor this past week is passionately and obsessively devoted to music.

Beethoven is universally acknowledged as one of the great masters of Classical music, yet he was an altogether disagreeable person, not to mention being quite miserable. Music did not even make him happy. It is all rather disturbing, if you ask me. Schumann went positively insane, Wagner was a vehement anti-Semitist and form all accounts insufferably arrogant, and they and many like them lived and died very unhappy. Music, which was given as a gift from the giver of all good things, when in becomes the gift, and from there proceeds to be venerated as the great good and the highest that man can attain, becomes a terrible master. Beethoven, when he lost his hearing lost the only thing that made the world worth living in to him. What a tragedy! What will it profit a man if he gain the world and lose his soul?

What is music? not a end in and of itself. Bach said that all music should be none other that to the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. Bach's life was not wound up with his music. He was a full time church organist and a father of 20 (several of whom chose music as their profession). And he seems to have died happy and contented.

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent"

I don't know who said it, but I like it.