MOVED BY THE MELODIES OF CREATION

Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov  (1698-1760 and founder of the Chassidic movement) was asked: “Why is it that Chassidim burst into song and dance at the slightest provocation? Is this the behaviour of a healthy, sane individual?”

The Baal Shem Tov responded with a story:

Once, a musician came to town–a musician of great but unknown talent. He stood on a street corner and began to play. Those who stopped to listen could not tear themselves away, and soon a large crowd stood enthralled by the glorious music whose equal they had never heard. Before long they were moving to its rhythm, and the entire street was transformed into a dancing mass of humanity.

A deaf man walking by wondered: Has the world gone mad? Why are the townspeople jumping up and down, waving their arms and turning in circles in middle of the street?

“Chassidim,” concluded the Baal Shem Tov, “are moved by the melody that issues forth from every creature in God’s creation. If this makes them appear mad to those with less sensitive ears, should they therefore cease to dance?”

Source | http://www.chabad.org

CONSIDER THIS

They dance because they have tapped – in the words of George Fowler –  the “unmined gold” that is inside.

THE RABBI WHO HUMMED AND DANCED

There’s a Hasidic tale about a famous rabbi who was on his way to teach a village that was very interested in his ideas. This was going to be a very big event, and each Jew in the community made great preparations, pondering what question he or she might ask the wise man.

The rabbi finally arrived and, after the initial welcome, he was taken into a large room where people gathered to ask their questions. There was tremendous anticipation and excitement all around.

The rabbi walked silently around the room and then began to hum a Hasidic tune. Before long, everyone started humming along with his soft voice. As people became comfortable with his song, the rabbi started to dance. He danced everywhere in the room, and, one by one, every person danced with him. Soon everyone in the whole community was dancing wildly together. Each person’s soul was healed by the dance, and everyone experienced a personal transformation.

Later in the night, the rabbi gradually slowed the dance and eventually brought it to a stop. He looked into everyone’s eyes and said gently, “I trust that I have answered all of your questions.”

Source |  Jon Carlson, American Shaman: The Odyssey of Global Healing Traditions
(Routledge, 2004) page 158.

 CONSIDER THIS

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”

Angeles Arrien in the forward to Gabrielle RothMaps to Ecstasy: The Healing Power of Movement.
(New World Library, 1998.) pages xv-xvi

 

BEYOND ADORATION

A story told my cardinal Martini SJ, has to do with an Italian couple that’s getting married. They have an arrange­ment with the parish priest to have a little reception in the parish courtyard outside the church. But it rained, and they couldn’t have the reception, so they said to the priest, “Would it be all right if we had the celebration in the church?”

Now father wasn’t one bit happy about having a recep­tion in the church, but they said, “We will eat a little cake, sing a little song, drink a little wine, and then go home.” So father was persuaded. But being good life-loving Italians they drank a little wine, sang a little song, then drank a little more wine, and sang some more songs, and within a half hour there was a great celebration going on in the church. And everybody was having a great time, lots of fun and frolic. But father was all tense, pacing up and down in the sacristy, all upset about the noise they were making. The assistant pastor comes in and says, “I see you are quite tense”.

“Of course, I’m tense. Listen to all the noise they are making, and in the House of God!, for heaven’s sake!”

“Well, Father, they really had no place to go.”

“I know that! But do they have to make all that racket?”

“Well, we mustn’t forget, must we, father, that Jesus himself was once present at a wedding!”

Father says, “I know Jesus Christ was present at a wed­ding banquet, you don’t have to tell me Jesus Christ was present at a wedding banquet! But they didn’t have the Blessed Sacrament there!”

Source | Anthony de Mello,  Awareness. Page 65 ff

PONDER AND CONSIDER

You know there are times like that when the Blessed Sacrament becomes more important than Jesus Christ. When worship becomes more important than love, when the Church becomes more important than life. When God becomes more important than the neighbor. And so it goes on. That’s the danger. To my mind this is what Jesus was evidently calling us to – first things first! The human being is much more important than the Sabbath.