"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."
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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Power of Music

I was reading "The Chronicles of Avonlea" by Lucy Montgomery. The third story is of a young boy, Felix who has the skill and genius to play music which the listener wants to hear in the depths of his soul. The following passages moved me. At the end of a life of Magdalene of the harbor, Naomi is scared of hell and wants forgiveness, but is unable to grasp the love of a forgiving God with an all en-compassing and unconditional love. Felix, the minister Mr.Leonard's grandson, with his music makes Naomi, on her deathbed, understand God's love.

"Felix drew the bow softly, perplexedly over the strings. He had no idea what he should play. Then his eyes were caught and held by Naomi's burning, mesmeric, blue gaze as she lay on her crumpled pillow. A strange, inspired look came over the boy's face. He began to play as if it were not he who played, but some mightier power, of which he was but the passive instrument.

Sweet and soft and wonderful was the music that stole through the room. Mr. Leonard forgot his heartbreak and listened to it in puzzled amazement. He had never heard anything like it before. How could the child play like that? He looked at Naomi and marvelled at the change in her face. The fear and frenzy were going out of it; she listened breathlessly, never taking her eyes from Felix. At the foot of the bed the idiot girl sat with tears on her cheeks.

In that strange music was the joy of the innocent, mirthful childhood, blent with the laughter of waves and the call of glad winds. Then it held the wild, wayward dreams of youth, sweet and pure in all their wildness and waywardness. They were followed by a rapture of young love—all-surrendering, all-sacrificing love. The music changed. It held the torture of unshed tears, the anguish of a heart deceived and desolate. Mr. Leonard almost put his hands over his ears to shut out its intolerable poignancy. But on the dying woman's face was only a strange relief, as if some dumb, long-hidden pain had at last won to the healing of utterance.

The sullen indifference of despair came next, the bitterness of smouldering revolt and misery, the reckless casting away of all good. There was something indescribably evil in the music now—so evil that Mr. Leonard's white soul shuddered away in loathing, and Maggie cowered and whined like a frightened animal.

Again the music changed. And in it now there was agony and fear—and repentance and a cry for pardon. To Mr. Leonard there was something strangely familiar in it. He struggled to recall where he had heard it before; then he suddenly knew—he had heard it before Felix came in Naomi's terrible words! He looked at his grandson with something like awe. Here was a power of which he knew nothing—a strange and dreadful power. Was it of God? Or of Satan?

For the last time the music changed. And now it was not music at all—it was a great, infinite forgiveness, an all-comprehending love. It was healing for a sick soul; it was light and hope and peace. A Bible text, seemingly incongruous, came into Mr. Leonard's mind—"This is the house of God; this is the gate of heaven."


  1. A lovely post to read Ruby.. many thanks for sharing it.
    I hope you have a nice week.

  2. you are right, and montgomery too. music has the potential to heal and unlock worlds within us, even just world free of stress and anxiety. i have a bad tendency to not bring new music into my life, but i have a stockpile i go to when i'm blue or flat. music taps into something. i don't know how to make music, and so its healing quality takes on a mystical quality i am in awe of often.

  3. Music really can have a powerful effect!

  4. It's a long time ago that I read this and I had forgotten this part of the story. My teacher read it too me in school in about 1948...that's right 1948.

  5. that's a lovely post Ruby! music is healing in deed ... it can lift up or help to calm down ... i used to play piano but that was a long time ago ... i recently started to learn how to play panpipes and i'm just so happy to hear the sound of it ... have a lovely day! :-)

  6. The right music at the right spot at the right moment! What can be more fabulous?

  7. Hello, Ruby! There is a special award for your blog on mine. If you wish to participate, you can copy-stick the award and give it to 5 other blogs that you appreciate for your readers to discover them.

  8. Great post :)

    I read somewhere you like philosophy, perhaps you would like to discuss it sometime.

    In the meanwhile you may check out some of my blogs if you wish :)


  9. Thanks Andrew!

    Ed, Music has a mystic quality to heal. I like to hear different genres from classical (eastern and western) to the latest hits though!

    Red - wow!I only recently started reading her novels. They are immortal and a joy through the generations.

    Sprinkles, Bob, V - Thanks!

    Birdie - Thanks! That's great!

    Peter - Yes, one must very lucky to have that kind of experience.

    Anne - Thanks for the award and the kind comments on your blog!!

  10. I had never realised "The Chronicles of Avonlea" by Lucy Montgomery were so deep. I have never read the Anne of Avonlea series but the Chronicles (having now looked them up on Wikipedia) look well worth reading. Thank you for bringing them to my attention.

  11. You're welcome Scriptor Senex, it was a delighful read. Although most of the stories are hilarious and fun, the insight into the characters,the description of nature - a poetry in prose and some of the images that she paints are very deep.

  12. Music to me is very much emotional experience so I was fascinated by the prose and the storyline and looked it up on line and, having seen the synopses of some of the other stories (and despite not usually being a reader of short stories), I added it to my list of books to be read. Thanks. PS This was all done before I'd seen the other comments and it was interesting to see that I'd almost mirrored my brother's actions.

  13. Wow, it is interesting that both of your actions were the same :))


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