Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Inspired by cheap music

I have made no secret of my poor taste in music (here for example, and passim), yet even I hesitate to admit to liking a Billy Joel album.

In mitigation, I plead that it was given me as a parting present by a French exchange guest (who was doubtless fed up with my poor taste in music and thought he should introduce me to something…. better…).  It was The Stranger, and I listened to it a few times; and as so often with cheap music, the associations of that period in my life mean that I continue to like it (my fondness for Abba springs from the same period - but I digress.)  I further plead that what I've heard of his subsequent music has not appealed to me at all.

The reason for mentioning Billy Joel now is that one song, Only The Good Die Young, (an adolescent attack on Catholicism, as it happens) contains a telling line: I know they never cared for me,// but did they ever say a prayer for me? That struck me as a very powerful indictment at the time, and has stayed with me ever since.

Yesterday, I was exhorting (or at least reminding) my readers to pray for those with whom they have profound differences - specifically 'women priests' and abortionists.

Today, I am adding another suggestion.  I have observed that the Catholic blogosphere is somewhat fractured.  I think it behoves us to pray regularly for those with whom we have fallen out.  I would also suggest that such prayers should be kept between you and God. I think there are contexts in which telling someone that you are praying for him or her is not appropriate (still less telling others…)

I think it worth paying attention, too, to the quality of that prayer: it is all too easy to pray for the conversion of the evil other to one's own sane and sensible point of view, or for their forgiveness for the wrongs they have done you.  But perhaps those are not the most appropriate prayers in this context.  But again, I leave that between you and God.

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