Let’s wrap up our examination of John Paul’s chirograph on sacred music. The last entry:
15. I hope that the centenary commemoration of the Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini, through the intercession of their holy Author together with that of St Cecilia, patroness of sacred music, may be an encouragement and incentive to those who are involved in this important aspect of liturgical celebrations. Sacred music lovers, by dedicating themselves with renewed impetus to a sector of such vital importance, will contribute to the spiritual growth of the People of God. The faithful, for their part, in expressing their faith harmoniously and solemnly in song, will experience its richness ever more fully and will abide by the commitment to express its impulses in their daily life. In this way, through the unanimous agreement of pastors of souls, musicians and faithful, it will be possible to achieve what the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium describes as the true “purpose of sacred music”, that is, “the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful”[SC 112].
May your example and model in this be the Virgin Mary, whose praise in the Magnificat of the marvels God works in human history remains beyond compare. With this hope, I impart my Blessing to everyone with affection.
Focusing on the higher things, avoiding the easy path of the hermeneutic of subtraction: this section suggests a higher calling for the church musician of today: being encouraged by the witness of those whose shoulders on which we stand. Note especially the prominence given to the expression of faith in song by the entire people of God.
Suppose you were giving a final encouraging word to the musicians of today. What would be your one point you would want to communicate? How would you conclude John Paul’s letter in your own words?