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Finely Tuned By Fr. Isidore Clarke, OP

Finely Tuned By Fr. Isidore Clarke, OP
Fr. Isidore Clarke, OP

FINELY TUNED

A young lad proudly approached us carrying an enormous cello, bigger than himself. Who could blame me for groaning, "That child gives me an inferiority complex!" "Me, too! "He's my youngest son!" sighed the woman standing next to me. I'd put my foot in it once again!

The occasion was Spode Conference Annual Classical Music Week. Keen gifted amateurs as well as a few well-known professionals had come together for the sheer delight of making music, some of it secular, some sacred -to accompany High Mass.

On one such occasion a lady had just finished playing a trumpet on the sanctuary. Some mischievous person persuaded the altar-server to stand with his thurible belching out clouds of smoke in front of her! With streaming eyes the poor dear all but choked! And then there was the man so wedded to his violin that he brought it to breakfast with him. Could be he slept with it?

One of the most delightful features of this week was the solo or group performances given by the singers and instrumentalists, including a world famous harpsichordist. Fr. Conrad Pepler, Warden of the Conference Centre, would give us an annual performance on his violin.

As chaplain to the music group he would preach at the Masses. In one such sermon he drew on the skill needed to tune his violin. He told us that with too much tension the strings would snap; then the instrument could produce no sound. But the same would be true if the strings were too slack. The strings had to be tightened to the correct tension if they were to produce a melodious sound. As for playing in a group or orchestra, your instrument must be in tune with all the others. Otherwise you will produce a dreadful row.

Fr. Conrad then applied the image of correctly tuning a violin to the whole of our lives. Without the right amount of tension we won't strive to achieve anything. We need a challenge to get us moving! We need to want something very much before we will make the effort to go after it. Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God. St. Paul urges us to, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things,"(Col. 3.2). We must be convinced that with God's help we can overcome our human limitations and the tension of being tempted to sin. But if we are in tune with God our whole lives can become a hymn of praise to the glory of God. In that, even now, we'll have a hint of what will be our eternal happiness.

But if we can't find any challenge in life we won't strive after anything and will achieve nothing. Imagine how very dull life would be if we had all our needs being satisfied without having to make any effort. We'd be like the violin strings which are so slack they are incapable of producing a worthwhile sound.

Finally, St. Paul reassures us that God won't allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it".(1 Cor. 10. 13). Confidently he declares, "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength," (Philip. 4. 13). He won't let us snap under the tensions of life - so long as we turn to Him for help.

So, let us pray that we are always in tune with God. When we go off key, let us turn to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and ask God to remove the discord from our lives. Together, may our lives be a symphony of praise to the glory of God!

With the psalmist let us, "Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; sing praise to Him with the harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.…" (Ps. 33. 2-3).

Isidore O.P.

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