The creative types among us, the artists, and poets, and writers and makers, spend their lives chasing “success.” Success as the world defines it usually involves some mixture of money and celebrity or fame. But for every artist who is able to sell his work for tens of thousands of dollars, there are many more Vincent Van Goughs toiling in obscurity.
When it comes to the Liturgy, what does the Church actually tell us about the role of music, and why guidelines does the Church give us in selecting music?
Of the three sacred arts of art, architecture, and music, the Church has given us the most explicit direction when it comes to music. But as music acts (or should act) in concert with art and architecture, what is said of one can apply to the others.
Artists need the Church to remind them who they are and why they are here. They need the refuge of the Barq of Peter to shield them from the work of the Adversary that preys upon their ego and the wants and desires that are common to all people regardless of their vocation. Artists need the Church as much as the Church needs artists because it is in the Church that the Artists finds True Beauty and the meaning of their lives.
Pope Saint John Paul II perhaps understood the sensibility of artists better than most pontiffs. He was, after all, a poet, playwright, and actor himself. His Letter to Artists, written in 1999, deserves special attention among those struggling to find a way to reconcile being an artist with being Christian.