far north in the winter, snows have already arrived in the mountains and
foothills, in fact July is the only month we can be assured the days and nights
will not surprise with a snowfall, though the usual snowy months are October to
April. At the same time while the normal cold days average minus 15, extended
periods in the winter months of temperatures of minus 30 to minus 40 are common
enough that the morning weather reports include frostbite warnings.
the pandemic, the sounds of the city were fortissimo while the normal winter
sounds, always lessened by the snow cover and thin cold air are pianissimo.
year city sounds, in particular the music of people talking, laughing, walking
about, driving, or taking the bus to work, shop, etc., are inconsistent.
strange silence has engulfed us in this pandemic, an oppressive silence which
paradoxically is a banshee screaming: normal is gone.
days ago, with a plethora of new Covid protocols, the government re-opened the
schools and as I walked past the large one in the neighbourhood, the building
covers half a block and the field a block and a half, I heard the long silenced
by Covid sound of children!
human voice is unique, has its own cadence, range of volume, while each
syllable is voiced as a particular note.
sounds of exuberant children are the consonance music of excitement of being
alive among ones like themselves. That long silenced exuberance reminded me immediately
of one of my favourite Louis Armstrong songs, whose melodic line in any of his
performances was always his radiant smile: I see trees of green, red roses too
them bloom for me and you
say to myself, what a wonderful world
skies of blue and clouds of white
sunny days, dark sacred nights
think to myself, what a wonderful world
colours of the rainbow are so pretty in the skies
also on the faces of the people walking by
friends shaking hands saying
really saying I love you
babies cry, I watch them grow
learn much more than I'll ever know
think to myself, what a wonderful world
think to myself, what a wonderful world 
people these days, after months of this pandemic do not appear so wonderful,
particularly when the music of respectful, even loving, human conversation has
been replaced by the cacophony emanating from so many angry people with endless
and ever varying demands of everyone they assume is not of their clan and
therefore owes them redress for whatever lies behind all the screaming.
not to say there are no injustices needing redress, nor divisions needing to be
bridged, rather that what should be the consonance of authentic dialogue, with
ears and hearts open to listening, has become the dissonance of countries
tearing themselves apart in anger.
it is a refusal to love.
creates us, sustains us just as Love created and sustains the cosmos.
the gifts given us are those of a voice, for our use and enjoyment in
communicating with other, and the gift-ability to hear the voice of other. Yes,
of our own too, a particular voice we should listen to when we speak to verify
if it is lovingly melodic, comforting, or perhaps betrays we have an overly
close relationship with banshees!
the Lord is questioning Job, there is this wonderful line in chapter 38:7:
While the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for
Holy Trinity is surrounded by the musical voices and singing of all the choirs
of angels, yet the above word reminds us all creation is musical, for example:
wind in the trees, variable by the intensity of the wind, the seasons of the
year, blizzards have their own sound as do rainstorms, the drops sounding
various notes depending what surface they land on and thunderstorms are clearly
the kettle drums of creation; waves rolling ashore, rushing streams, the rustle
of dry leaves in the fall nudged along by the wind, the crunching sound
co-mingled with the laughter of children stepping on them, or in spring
splashing in puddles.
listen and contemplate the sounds of creation this will help tone down the dissonance
of the widespread angry voices of our day.
Jesus is born hosts of Angels sing the announcement, Luke 2:13,14 and
while nowhere in the Gospel accounts is there mention of Jesus laughing, though
undoubtedly as a human being like us He did, we do know, following Jewish
liturgical practice singing, the Psalms in particular, was part of His gifting
music, indeed both Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26, note that after the
Last Supper singing a hymn: they went out to the Mount of Olives. [Mt.
26.30] The ‘they’ obviously including Jesus singing.
5 is one of the more beautiful chapters in Revelation, both in the musical
cadence of the words and it’s reference to the simultaneity of the
music/singing/prayer in heaven and the exuberance of all creation in the
presence of the Lamb: Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and
under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out…..Rev. 5:13
1697 play THE MOURNING BRIDE, William Congreve wrote: music hath charms to
sooth a savage breast.
consonance music, of creation, of language spoken, sung with respect for other,
not falling into the trap of anger, the ‘savage breast’ being an angry heart.
strive to be charitably melodic in conversation, even with people we totally
disagree with, such patient understanding is charity in action. If we strive to
be so charitable a significant amount of the stress of this pandemic will be
lifted from our hearts and that space will be filled with joyful peace for our
interlocuter brother or sister, and ourselves.
critical then for our emotional and spiritual health we invoke the Holy Spirit
for His gift of discernment when it comes to choosing the type of music which
dominates our listening. Music that does indeed charm, sooth, the ‘savage
breast’ or music which winds us up accelerating discontent, anger,
restlessness, lack of hope.
Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis truthfully and comfortingly reminds us: “……Since we are
already a “new creation” in Christ [2 Cor. 5:17] and His power is ceaselessly
at work within us [2 Cor. 13:3], we must bravely press on into every apparent
cataclysm as Miriam and her band of trusting Israelite women blithely ventured
into the desert at God’s bidding. Of them we read:
Then Miriam, the prophetess, the
sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the
women went out after her with
timbrels and dancing. And Miriam sang to them:
“Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously;
horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea”
on this curious availability of musical instruments in the wilds of Sinai, one
rabbi comments splendidly: “Where did Miriam and the other women obtain
timbrels in the wilderness? These righteous women were so confident that God
would work miracles for them that they brought timbrels along from Egypt,
anticipating that God would give them cause to celebrate.” Empowered by Christ’s presence within us, how
could we Christians, too, not dance with confidence in the face of tribulation
and shake timbrels at the darkness with a merry heart?” 
What a Wonderful World; Composed by Bob Thiele (as "George Douglas")
and George David Weiss. First recorded and released by Louis Armstrong, 1967.
FIRE OF MERCY HEART OF THE WORLD, Volume III, p. 719; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis;
Ignatius Press 2012
Fr. Arthur Joseph