“In our imaginations, we listen for the distant murmurs of prayer,” wrote Dennis Aubrey in his post “In Seclusio at Thines” posted on Via Lucis Photography.
Listening for the distant murmurs immediately brought to mind a hymn composed by Anne Quigley in 1992. The tune is LONGING. The textual refrain is:
“There is a longing in our hearts, O Lord, for you to reveal yourself to us. There is a longing in our hearts for love we only find in you, O God.”
It was the recollection of the text that drew me to LONGING. I searched YouTube for possible videos for this post but found that the lightness of the tune, like so much contemporary Christian music, left me longing for “the distant murmur of prayers” that echo down the ages in the Gregorian Chants once sung in the now empty or mostly empty monasteries and churches that inspired Dennis to conclude “In Seclusio in Thines”:
“[PJ and I] … hear the echoes of sandaled footsteps in lonely churches long deprived of their monastic communities. And in our imaginations, we listen for the distant murmurs of prayer.”
I long for gravitas awakened by the beauty of silence.
The blues struck this week. A sense of longing. You might even say a kind of fainting.
Psalm 84 leaped up for attention, quite by accident. It’s a psalm of enormous contrasts, almost bi-polar in its highs and lows. Joy and longing sit right beside each other like first-born and second-born twins. No sooner is Praise born (“How lovely is Thy dwelling place!”) than faith’s twin, Longing, is born – the longing, the sense of estrangement that yearns to be united with the lovely dwelling place: “My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the LORD….” It is this Psalm that inspired Johannes Brahms’ Requiem, sung here by a combined choir in a lovely place in Atlanta, Georgia. Bring the blues to the music of the Psalm and see what happens.
These are the seductive voices of the night; the Sirens, too, sang that way. It would be doing [the Sirens] an injustice to think that they wanted to seduce; they knew they had claws and sterile wombs, and they lamented this aloud. They could not help it if their laments sounded so beautiful.
– Franz Kafka, Parables and Paradoxes
The Green Dragon
The door opened and what entered the room, fat and succulent, its sides voluptuously swelling, footless, pushing itself along on its entire underside, was the green dragon. Formal salutation. I asked him to come right in. He regretted that he could not do that, as he was too long. This meant that the door had to remain open, which was rather awkward. He smiled, half in embarrassment, half cunningly, and began: “Drawn hither by your longing, I come pushing myself along from afar off, and underneath am now scraped quite sore. But I am glad to do it. Gladly do I come, gladly do I offer myself to you.”