Music as prayer: Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI was right on quite a few things. After listening to a piano concert he offered his reflections on “great music,” saying that it can become prayer. The concert was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Piano Academy and featured Chinese pianist Jin Ju. At the end of the concert the Pope thanked the academy and the pianist, who “enabled us to savor &hellip the emotional impact of the music she played.” He said that, “This concert has, once again, given us the chance to appreciate the beauty of music, a spiritual and therefore universal language, and hence the appropriate vehicle for understanding and union between individuals and peoples. Music forms part of all cultures and, we could say, accompanies all human experiences, from suffering to pleasure, from hatred to love, from sadness to joy, from death to life . . . Over the centuries and the millennia music has always been used to give form to what cannot be expressed with words, because it arouses emotions otherwise difficult to communicate. It is, then, no coincidence that all civilizations have given importance and value to music in its various forms and expressions. “Music, great music,” he observed, “distends the spirit, arouses profound emotions and almost naturally invites us to raise our minds and hearts to God in all situations of human existence, the joyful and the sad.” Thus, he said, “Music can become prayer.” Indeed so.