About Reading Through Lent
How sweet the sound in the city
an hour before sunrise,
When the park is empty and grey
and the light clear and so lovely
I must sit on the floor before my open window for an hour
with my arms on the sill
And my cheek on my arm, watching the spring sky's
Soft suffusion from the roofed horizon upward
with palest rose,
Doting on the charming sight with eyes
Open, eyes closed.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Bach might have been forgotten forever had not Mendelssohn discovered some monks wrapping parcels in music manuscript—and gave the St. Matthew Passion back to the world.
The St. Matthew Passion is an icon of the highest quality for me, an open door into the realm of the numinous. Bach, of course, was a man of deep and profound religious faith, a faith which shines through his most secular music. As a matter of fact, the melody of his moving chorale, O sacred head now wounded, was the melody of a popular street song of the day, but Bach's religious genius was so great that it is now recognized as one of the most superb pieces of religious music ever written.
There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred.
Most but not all quotes taken from the compilation A Lent Sourcebook: The Forty Days, ed. by J. Robert Baker, Evelyn Kaehler and Peter Mazar. Liturgy Training Publication, 1990.