Frassati Reflection: Harmony and Dissonance

From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day,
we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard his voice.
—Baruch 1:19


In today’s Gospel, the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum reject Jesus even after seeing Him perform mighty deeds in their midst. Their response to Jesus might seem baffling to those of us who can only imagine the privilege of meeting Jesus during His lifetime and seeing miracles take place before our very eyes. However, the reality is that we, too, fail to recognize Jesus in our midst on an everyday basis.

When someone who has no musical training listens to a symphony, they might think it sounds nice but perhaps a little boring. A musician, on the other hand, will appreciate it on a much deeper level, because they are more attuned to the intracacies of its chords and countermelodies. Their heightened awareness of its beauty comes from all the hours they’ve spent immersed in making music. This training makes them sensitive not only to harmony but also to dissonance. They will flinch instinctively when they hear a note out of tune or a chord left unresolved, where others might not even notice a wrong note. An amateur might not be able to recognize the difference between an off-key rendition and a skilled performance, but a musician will plug their ears at the former and see a reflection of Heaven in the latter.

Can we recognize the harmonious music of God amidst the noise of the world, or do we perceive it as one sound among many? Do we know that we are meant for a deeper beauty than the dissonant clamor the world offers us? When Jesus shows up at our door, do we rejoice and invite Him inside, or do we mistake Him for just another nuisance?

If we know what is good, true, and beautiful, if we are familiar with harmonious relationships and sincere virtue, then we will be able to recognize His voice in our lives. We will open our arms to welcome Him when He comes instead of turning Him away.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
—Phillippians 4:8

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