It stands to reason that any secular music that openly and proudly sings the praises of mortal sin (or any sin) is something to be avoided entirely, but what of popular music whose lyrics and rhythms are seemingly harmless?
I recently finished The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton; a fascinating autobiography of a man that went from Atheist to Trappist in the first half of the 20th century. The book made a brief mention of music that gave me pause. The author described the austere warmth of Gregorian Chant. He describes it as something glowing, like a living flame which draws you within yourself. Here you are lulled into a peace and recollection and where you find God. This is why some never grow tired of it. Perhaps this is also why some can’t stand it.
In sharp contrast, Merton described other types of music that seem to do the opposite. They wear you out by making cheap demands on your sensibilities, toying with your soul so to speak. Once your feelings are drawn-out in the open, the devil, together with the vulgarity of your own corrupt nature & imagination, can get at you with their blades and cut you to pieces.
1915 - 1968
|Is that what a fox says? Really?|
Prayer, simply put, is directing one’s life toward God and I’ve heard it said that he who sings “well” prays twice. If this is the case, perhaps he who sings “badly” directs his life away from God twice as fast as he who does not sing at all. Certainly, listening to morally neutral music is not objectively wrong, but maybe having ear buds in your head all day long is. Just like eating candy, moderation and temperance is in order with an awareness of its effects. Perhaps with music, just like with anything else, we should ask ourselves now and then, “Is this bringing me closer to union with God or further away?”