Pope Calls Music the Heart's Abandonment to God

Asks for Prayer at Beginning of 5th Year of Pontificate

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI proposed that music becomes prayer and the “abandonment of the heart to God” when he gave thanks today for a concert held in honor of his fourth anniversary as Pope.

The concert was held in his honor at the Vatican by the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano. The Holy Father listened to the music seated in the center of Paul VI Hall, together with Napolitano and the Italian First Lady.

Benedict XVI marked four years as Pontiff on April 19.

The music was offered by the Giuseppe Verdi Symphonic Orchestra and Choir of Milan, directed by Xian Zhang and Erina Gambarini, respectively. They interpreted Haydn’s “Symphony 95,” Mozart’s “Haffner Symphony,” Vivaldi’s “Magnificat in G minor” and Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus.”

At the end of this last piece, the Holy Father said that “meditation gives way to contemplation: The gaze of the soul rests on the Blessed Sacrament to recognize the Body of the Lord, the Body that was truly immolated on the cross and from which sprung forth the fountain of universal salvation.”

“Mozart,” he continued, “composed this motet shortly before dying, and in it one can say that music truly becomes prayer, abandonment of the heart to God, with a deep sense of peace.”

Benedict XVI thanked President Napolitano for the concert, which, he said, “has richly been able not only to gratify the aesthetic sense, but at the same time, to nourish our spirit, and therefore, I am doubly grateful.”

In beginning his fifth year as Pope, the Holy Father requested of those present: “Remember me in your prayers so that I can always fulfill my ministry as the Lord desires.”

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