Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Et incarnatus est

Et incarnatus est is one of the two pieces of music that Fr. Pietro played for us during the Advent Retreat on Sunday. It is an aria taken from Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor, from the Credo, and refers to the moment in the Creed when we pray, "And became man." Here is information on the recording and an excerpt from Fr. Giussani's reflection on the piece:

Spirto Gentil music series founded by Fr Luigi Giussani - n. 24


Grand Mass in C Minor K427
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Deutsche Grammophon
Herbert von Karajan
Berliner Philarmoniker

The Divine Incarnate

This spectacular work by Mozart, which culminates in the song Et incarnatus est (And was made flesh), is the most powerful and convincing, the simplest and greatest expression of a man who recognizes Christ. Salvation is a Presence: this is the wellspring of the joy and the wellspring of the affectivity of Mozart’s Catholic heart, of his heart that loved Christ.
Et incarnatus est is singing at its purest, when all man’s straining melts in the original clarity, the absolute purity of the gaze that sees and recognizes. Et incarnatus est is contemplation and entreaty at the same time, a stream of peace and joy welling up from the heart’s wonder at being placed before the arrival of what it has been waiting for, the miracle of the fulfillment of its quest.
There came a Man, a young Man, who entered the world in a certain town, a certain place in the world that can be identified on a map, Nazareth. When one goes to the Holy Land, to that little town, and enters the shadowy hut where there is an inscription on the wall that reads Verbum hic caro factum est (the Mystery of God, here, was made flesh), he is overcome by shivers. This is the Man Jesus of Nazareth, chosen to be the humanity of the Word, the humanity of God, God who is the answer to the heart of man whom He created, the complete, superabundant answer to the cry of the heart He created; the cry that reverberates in the mystery of the Trinity through the presence brought about by the spirit of a Jewish Man, born of a 17-year-old woman.

(Excerpt from the introduction by Luigi Giussani to the booklet enclosed in the CD)

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."