Sunday, September 25, 2011

Let it Be - Theology in the Beatles???

The longer I have been Christian, the more I am learning that God often speaks to us in the simple things of everyday life. Of course, that doesn’t detract from the primary means of God speaking to us – through the Church and the Scriptures, and particularly in the liturgy. If anything, it actually gives emphases to just how special God’s primary means of communicating with us is.

One of the things that helped my journey to the Catholic Church was Marcus Grodi’s “The Journey Home”.
I would often listen to the conversion stories of various people (Protestant or otherwise) who would “come home” to the Catholic Church. I would listen with intent, and I often wondered whether what these people were saying about what the Catholic Church ACTUALLY teaches was simply too good to be true; and whether Protestants returning to the Catholic Church were really like the Prodigal Son returning home (to use one illustration). I distinctly remember on one specific occasion, I was listening to the Journey Home in my car on the way to work. I remember coming to the end of the programme and wondering “Is God calling me home to the Catholic Church?” Anyway, as I changed the function from CD to radio, what happened brought tears  to my eyes – the station was playing the iconic song by New Zealand artist, Dave Dobbyn...and the very first words that came out of the speakers were:

“...welcome home, from the bottom of my heart”.

[If you would like to hear the whole song, click here – it really is quite stunning; and it makes me homesick every time I hear it].
Despite all the Scripture I was reading, and the Catholic theology that I was increasingly becoming convinced of, this little experience was extremely powerful – and I have no doubt that God was using it to confirm to me that the path that I was on was the right one.
Another secular song that had a huge impact in my journey, and still holds a special place for me now as a Catholic, is the Beatles hit “Let it Be”, especially the opening stanza:

When I find myself in times of trouble

Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom

“Let it be”;

And in my hour of darkness,

She is standing right in front of me

Speaking words of wisdom

“Let it be”.

Whether intentional or not, the above lines are loaded theologically. Firstly, the words spoken by Mother Mary are called “words of wisdom”; which is in line with the teaching of the Church Fathers that Lady Wisdom of the Proverbs was an allegorical reference to Our Lady – or as St. Augustine called Mary the “Seat of Wisdom”.  
Secondly, the words “let it be” echo Mary’s “fiat” – when she said to the Angel Gabriel: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Whenever I listen to this song, it reminds me that as children of our Holy Mother Mary, the surest way to learn to submit ourselves completely to God’s will is to imitate her example. Following her, we will learn to echo her words “Let it be done unto me according to your word”; and she in turn will unfailingly lead us to the Lord Jesus Christ. As St. Louis Marie De Montfort reminds us: 

“Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, consequently, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin, His holy Mother; and that the more soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it will be consecrated to Jesus Christ” – True Devotion to Mary, no. 120

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