Gregorian Chant Will Save the World

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at the computer while my two-year-old son noisily played with some tupperware behind me. I clicked on a link to listen to a song from “Angels and Saints at Ephesus”, a new CD by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles (which, incidentally, has been tearing up the Classical music charts). The beautiful, a capella voices of the Sisters came softly over the computer speakers as they began a Gregorian chant in Latin.

Suddenly, I noticed that the banging of tupperware behind me had stopped.

I turned to see my two-year-old, standing, staring at the computer, eyes wide open and mouth slightly agape. He took a few steps forward, and then said, breathlessly: “Dada…that’s Jesus music.”

I was stunned. How on earth did he know that? (Our parish certainly doesn’t do any chanting at the N.O. Mass we attend…).He crawled up into my lap, and we listened to the rest of the chant together. And then we listened to it again. And then again. And then again. My boy was totally captivated, totally transfixed, totally enraptured…each time the chant would come to an end, he would look up at me and plead “again, Dada?”

I bought the album, and now every night my son asks to listen to the “Jesus music” as he falls asleep…


Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said: “Beauty will save the world.”

Cardinal Ratzinger once said: “The encounter with beauty can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the soul and thus makes it see clearly, so that henceforth it has criteria, based on what it has experienced, and can now weigh the arguments correctly.”

Mother Theresa once said: “You have to learn from the Heart of Jesus. That is why Jesus said ‘learn of me’–not from books.”

And somehow, in ways I will never understand, my two-year-old boy is listening to the beat of the Sacred Heart. He is encountering beauty, and listening to it with childlike ears of faith. He’s learning lessons that only the gentle notes and chords of Heaven can teach him. And all I can do is sit back and treasure up all of these things in my heart…

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31 responses to “Gregorian Chant Will Save the World

  1. I bought 2 copies of the CD when it came out; one for us and the other for a friend. It’s beautiful but I don’t think any of us see its beauty as much as your son.

  2. What a beautiful story! I loved it, and agree totally with the title.

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  4. Edmund

    You may be right. If nothing else, it will affect the world for good. Gregorian chant beats pretty much any kind of worship music coming out these days. “Angels and Saints” is gorgeous!

  5. Theresa

    I read this story from a link your mom posted on Facebook. By the way, I love your mom! I’m so happy for you all that you will soon be reunited again.
    We have been traveling 40 min. every Sunday to attend the Tridentine Mass for the past 14 years because of the beauty of chant music and the sacredness of the Liturgy. Our children were formed by sacred music, also, and that’s one of the reasons why their spirits are so peaceful. Sacred music truly forms the soul and is the bridge to spiritual realities. Your grandson’s soul is traveling across that bridge and he is fascinated by what is on the other side, even though he could never put it into words or thoughts. At his young age, he gets to experience truths that most people will never experience in their entire life!

    • Theresa

      Oh, that’s funny! I just read the quote you have explaining your blog name. Well, your son is seeing the other side and he likes it so much, he can’t get enough!

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  8. What a lovely experience for you both. Music is very powerful. :)

  9. I had a similar experience recently. Some Gregorian Chant was playing on Pandora radio, and my children, who have never heard Chant in a Church setting, said, “That’s Church music.” It was simultaneously inspiring and confusing that they should call “Church music” something they’ve never heard at church.

  10. Seppe

    Gregorian Chant will save the world…
    The Church was established to “save the world”…
    [by leading all to the redemption and salvation of Christ through the
    Sacred Scriptures and the Sacraments lived in the communion of the
    one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church founded by Jesus upon Peter]
    The Church would certainly embrace and promote Gregorian Chant as a
    way to save the world, right? Right?
    It would even follow the teachings of Vatican II so that “steps should be taken enabling the faithful to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass belonging to them” (Sacred Liturgy, §54).

    “All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy.… Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, set to the simpler melodies” 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, §41).

    Why do I rarely ever hear Gregorian Chant at my parish (or at any nearby parishes)? Why are the Proper Antiphons (Introit, etc., which are rooted in Scripture) always replaced by other songs? I long for more Chant!

    The Maronite, Ukranian, Byzantine Liturgies have heavenly chants as well, which they have preserved and regularly use.

    Laudate Dominum omnes gentes!

  11. Angela Park

    God is delighted in your son’s soul!
    I attended Gregorian Chant workshop at St.Warburga Abbey on Pentecost weekend. The sisters are joyful, they chant/pray 7 times a day! I got so unexpected grace along with sisters and Gregorian Chant! They sing in one voice for our Almoghty!

  12. The chants are just Heavenly. How can i buy the album please, some one direct me.

    • Saundra Lee

      You can go to Amazon and look under music/Gregorian Chant. I buy all my music there. I also love Byzantine and Maronite chant which they also have.

      • I deeply love the Byzantine and Maronite liturgies as well…I was able to take a retreat at a Maronite monastery not too long ago, and it was absolutely amazing to be a part of their daily prayer…

    • emma1022

      Also on you tube for us poor folks :)

  13. Gregorian Chant brought me into the Catholic Church! Raised in an atheist home extremely hostile to all Christian Teachings, went away to college and found an old CD in a thrift store simply titled, “Chant”. I loved the way I felt listening to it. It wasn’t until a friend, a music major, came to my room when I had it on that I discovered it was Catholic! I thought the monks were Buddhist. He suggested to fully experience the music I attend a Tridentine Mass. Too funny Three yrs. later, married the boy and in full communion with the Catholic Church.

  14. Ben in SoCal

    I love Gregorian chant. But for regular O.F. Masses (Ordinary Form), I wonder if we can replace all hymns whether modernist or traditional) with proper English chants and polyphony, and the very smpl English Propers? The re-introduction of vernacular into the life of the Church was a blessing 50 years ago, but I don’t know why our precious traditions had to be altered with banalities.

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  16. That is so true! Thank you so much for posting!!
    My own story: last week, my brother and I (both adults, both super nerds) were waiting in the car, singing soprano and bass parts along with a youtube video of Sicut Cervus, when my two-year-old daughter chimed in with a beautiful “u” vowel sound, an absolutely serious look on her face, she was into it!! There is something irresistible about the truly sacred to an innocent child…

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  18. Janet O'Connor

    The use of the Vernacular was allowed by the Document of the Council Fathers but the Bishops Conferences were the ones who as you said allowed and even Ordered the Latin to be junked as well as our other precious traditions. The needs of “modern People” was given as the reason yet Vatican II did NOT suggest all of these needless innovations and changes which drove many away. The strong Catholic identity was exchanged for a “Church of Nice” which was more Protestant in its outlook and it was also believe that we could not offend non-Catholics as well.

  19. Larry Mandrell

    “And the Children Shall Lead Them”!

  20. John Sparta

    Our church has drums! Every Sunday it sounds like the Elvis Comeback Special! Uggh, Please save the world with chant. At least my Parish. This is an excellent article and that even little children see the beauty and uplifting sound the Holy Spirit endows us to create.

  21. Pingback: “Dada, that’s Jesus music!” | The Back of the World

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