GRANT US PEACE
I was 12 years old.
A Jesuit (substitute teacher) entered my 6th grade classroom and beamed a handsome smile.
1959 and this was Music class.
Our actual teacher was unable to attend and sent her priest instead!
How very odd.
I had never beheld an actual Catholic priest before that moment, never had a human being with such a beautiful expression appeared.
There is a word for it: numinous.
His name : Michael. Of course. The archangel.
He seemed to open his arms to the classroom...to enfold us inside wings of a theatrical presence.
He spoke and we were instructed.
The song was DONA NOBIS PACEM (grant us peace.)
His mouth opened. The simple melody released.
It began ...continued...ended. A sort of dream.
With him, Michael carried a violin case which opened
as the spectacular instrument caught the light ...just so...
as his head tilted and his cheek pressed against the wood as a baby's cheek against his mother's breast is pressed.
This was the first violin I'd heard played outside of a tinny radio speaker.
As the ancient melody climbed aloft, Michael's voice joined in.
The violin played one line as the Jesuit's voice carried underneath a harmony. This introduced a magic inside my head which, to this very day, has never left me.
We were asked to sing. Boys sang harmony;
girls, the melody.
Doh oh nahhhhh
Pah ah chem pah chem ....
Doh oh oh oh nahhhh
no oh oh oh beeeese
pah ah chem, pah chem.
I learned more from that music class than from all the rest.
It was more than my mind could contain or my emotions could comprehend.
I've come to conclude what I experienced was a
I suddenly realized why the Catholic Church had lasted two thousand years.
Catholics were never taught anything compared to Jehovah's Witnesses who were indoctrinated relentlessly.
Ironically, a couple of thousand years have passed for Catholics and only one hundred for JW's and they've both
ended up in court infested by child molesters.
The simple awe of church spectacle and music the hearts of the parish inside those churches. Forgiveness
is dispensed and hearts are (seemingly) healed.
Inside a Kingdom Hall, fear of Armageddon is pounded like hammer to anvil.
So different; yet - perhaps ultimately the same.