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I blog about my Catholic faith, my prayer life, good books and good movies.

Play Your Cello

Abigail Benjamin

In the middle of an ordinary Mass at my regular church I suddenly heard a cello start to play the Gloria. The sound of the rich strings felt overwhelming to me. I haven't heard strings play the regular church singing parts since my college chapel days 20 years ago.

I sing the Gloria every Sunday, and sometimes on Weekdays. I'm usually distracted by helping out one of my kids or thinking about whatever social or personal problem led me to attend Mass at 8 AM.  This time the suprising cello music made me stop and truly sing the Gloria. I focused on every note. In my head, I thought "This is how God hears the Gloria every time." With or without the cello solo. Even when my 1 year old has accidentally smashed my fingers with a 3 inch leather bound hymnal or wipes his muddy sneakers on my church dress. No matter how badly we are collectively singing the Gloria, God hears music to his ears. 

The cello is an awkward instrument to learn how to play. In a world of violins and violas, the cello player has an instrument that doesn't fit on his back on easily on the bus. There's a lot of social pressure to confirm to downsizing his instrument to fit more neatly into the pigeon holes of life. Yet this one cello player had "stick-to-it-ness", or the virtue of perseverance, and I got to hear Beauty for an ordinary Sunday Mass. 

Right now, my life does not make a lot of sense to outsiders. I'm studying for the Bar Exam while being the full time caretaker for 6 kids ages 13 to 1. I feel some pressure to trade down into a less oversized set of ambitions. The surprise cello music in the Gloria reminded me that God is please when we do our ordinary life with an oversized chunk of grace.