On Monday 31 July our school will celebrate the feast day of St Ignatius of Loyola. One thing that always stands out to me is the musical offerings of our students. There is something about music that touches us deep within and sparks within an emotional response.
I always hope that we might be fortunate enough to have a rendition of 'Amare et Servire' (To Love and Serve The Lord), written by Father Manoling Francisco, SJ. The lyrics are simple, beautiful and I always feel deeply moved by the pure nature of Ignatian Spirituality, and closer to St Ignatius and his teachings, when we have the opportunity to hear this lovely song.
Music can transcend the ordinary. Liturgical music is a specialist area in itself and the use of music in worship is ancient. The psalms were all originally sung. The beauty of the words - of these ancient prayers - was coloured and brought to life through music, as song. Every Mass has song and hymns to bring to life the readings and draw those present into the celebration.
When I was young, a family friend played the bagpipes, and over the years I felt an indescribable energy each time he played for us. So much so that I pestered him to teach me and when I was old enough he agreed. From then on I travelled an hour each way, every week by train for lessons.
Today I deeply love playing for others and myself. Some people are touched by the power of the bagpipes as I am; others talk of injured cats or throw rocks. Musical taste is highly selective.
St Ignatius had a great teaching of ‘God in all things’. This central thread within Ignatian Spirituality is a delightful revelation to us of the presence of God around us. God can be found in a relationship, in something of beauty, in a great meal, in other people. God can even be found even in those moments in life that seem to offer no joy.
St Ignatius offered more formalised ways of seeking and connecting with God, but sometimes we live in a state of time poverty that debilitates us; we have ‘no time’. When we have a time deficit, often the first things to suffer is our relationship with our self and with God. If five minutes is all you have to offer, a song may just help you move beyond the day to day concerns, make a connection and restore in a small way your two most important relationships.
'Amare et Servire'
Written by Fr Manoling Francisco, SJ and is the school anthem of the Ateneo de Iloilo-Sta Maria Catholic School (Philippines).
In omnibus amare. (In everything, love.)
In omnibus servire. (In everything, serve.)
In ominibus amare et servire Domino.
In everything, love and serve the Lord! (x3)