Sunday, July 06, 2008

Advertisement for New 'Chant' Album by Cistercian Monks

This past weekend (the first in July), I stumbled upon a television advertisement for Chant: Music for the Soul (the link to an advertisement that is more or less like the one I saw can actually be seen here, since the embedding for it has been disabled). I was really surprised and gratified to see it, and on a fitness-oriented network no less!

While many people these days will probably download the album off iTunes, for those who, like me, are "old-fashioned" and like buying the CD, they will find a nice set of liner notes, which includes a message from the abbot of the Cistercian Abbey Stift Heiligenkreuz, Gregor Henckel Donnersmarck, whose monks chanted beautifully on the album.

In his message, Abbot Donnersmarck begins with a theme quite similar to that contained in the TV ad. He also addresses those who might have bought the album just for mere "relaxation."

Much of today's world is too fast, too loud and altogether bewildering. A monastery is a piece of paradise by comparison. Monks strive to live peacefully, content, somehow out of time.... Cistercian monks live their lives in a community where everyone has the same simple but glorious goal of getting to heaven. And we hope you can hear this in our singing of Gregorian chant, which is not music for the sake of music; it is prayer....

The monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz have made this CD to show the world that Gregorian chant is so beautiful because it aims for the highest, for the greatest of all goals. Chant will move everyone who listens, because it is 'music for the soul.'

I just finished listening to this album, and I cannot recommend it more. Between the abbot's message, and the extraordinary music itself, it might plant a seed for evangelization in those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith of the monks. May the monks' chant help bring souls to Christ!

Thanks be to God for Cistercians, the sons of St. Benedict!


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