SHORT FEATURE: KATE BUSH – EXPERIMENT IV

The attempt to read through the Catechism in one year as part of the Year of Faith continues, and as often happens around these parts, my brain is making some pretty weird pop culture associations. For instance, the reading for Day 15 immediately brought to mind this old sci-fi influenced music video…

So, I suppose you might be wondering what in the world a woman warbling about weaponized sound could possibly have to do with the Catechism? Well, just take a gander at paragraph 102:

“Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely: You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.”

I’m pretty sure you can spot the dichotomy that set my mind to musing. While Kate’s song is about a single manmade sound that induces instant death, the Catechism, riffing on St. Augustine, describes The Word as a single-syllable utterance by God that echoes throughout eternity and brings life to us all. You know, the Catechism might not delve into poetic territory too often, but that image of Jesus as God’s single note that sparks all of creation is vividly expressive. Is it any wonder that C. S. Lewis appears to have co-opted Augustine’s train of thought with his description of Aslan’s creation of Narnia through the use of song in The Magician’s Nephew.

“In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing… Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise ever heard.”

Nice, huh? I like that there’s passages in the Catechism that brings these type of associations to mind. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what we’re reading through is nothing more than a bloodless textbook when in fact it can be a guide to some of the most beautiful things that “whoever has ears ought to hear.”

David

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  • JMC

    This is very similar to the Silmarillion, wherein Tolkein describes Iluvatar (the elves’ name for God, meaning “Sky-Father” or “All-Father”) creating the world through song. Other fantasy writers have used the same imagery. I didn’t know it originated with St. Augustine, but I’ve always loved that image. It appeals to my musicianship, I guess.

  • catholicexchange

    Well done, sir! As a devoted Kate Bush fan, I think this is a very cool connection you’ve made.

  • David Ives

    Thanks for the kind comments. I could happily post Kate videos all the time, but I’m not sure the Kate Bush Catechism would have as broad an appeal as what I’m up to :)

    I’m not as up on the Silmarillion as I am the other books so I didn’t know Tolkein had used the imagery as well. That’s great.

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