Jacques Fesch

The power of music.

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I am currently reading the prison letters of Jacques Fesch (book details above under “Books to read – biographies”), a self-described juvenile delinquent, found guilty of robbery and murder, but subsequently gave his life fully to Christ.  A very inspiring read.  His cause for canonization is now open.  The thing I wanted to share here is a paragraph from a letter in which he described a bit of what his life was life before conversion.  (Read it, and then I’ll comment on what struck me.)

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Jacques Fesch

During the six or seven years when I lived without faith, I did evil, much evil, less through deliberate malice than through heedlessness, egoism and hardness of heart.  I was incapable of loving anyone.  Father, mother, wife, child–I was indifferent to them all.  I felt no warmth of emotion for anyone or anything, unless perhaps it was music. (p.32)

It was that last phrase that struck me–and reminded me of the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s reflections in my previous post about the power of music.  It wasn’t music that brought about Fesch’s conversion, but it is striking to me that that was the only thing he mentioned as evoking any emotion in him at that time in his life.  Music, reflecting the true beauty of God, is extremely powerful.  I think of pieces like Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending” which I had the privilege of hearing performed in a Scottish cathedral years ago, or Rachmaninov’s liturgical pieces that move one’s heart to worship. 

What music moves you to greater love of God?