A cathedral is a prominent house of prayer and worship which is jointly used by the people of a diocese. It is also typically the seat of the diocesan bishop. These are definitions which do not begin to embody the prodigious character of a cathedral church.
On February 20, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was more than just an ordinary cathedral with a lower case c. On that night, the lives of those present intersected for two hours of communal interaction with our Lord God. That wonderful edifice was filled beyond capacity with the prayers and praise of thousands of people inspired by the love of God. I had the privilege to be one of over 600 adult singers, and 150 children, present on that night to sing the inspiring works of Mack Wilberg, Thomas Cousins, and Fredrick Swann. We were accompanied by the oft times thunderous notes of the pipe organ.
As I gazed out at the diverse congregation assembled in the seats of the CATHEDRAL, I was awestruck by the immensity of our combined voices which went forth to mingle with all previous sounds uttered in that glorious house of worship. The echoes of our
prayer and praise are now a part of the fabric of the space contained within the walls of the CATHEDRAL. I felt as if the texture of my life was forever transformed. I experienced an urgency to take the tremendous gifts of music and community we received that evening back out with me into my daily life.
Just as I have come to realize that tears are often the outward expression of feelings too deep to articulate, our voices raised jointly in song conveyed our gratitude and love for God better than mere words could accomplish. What we experienced on that Sunday was more than a musical performance. We brought our individual joys and sorrows which became a vibrant, resounding community AMEN. However, this AMEN was not the final word, but rather a defining moment in which our lives began to be changed from humble earthly vessels into mighty CATHEDRALS unable to contain the abundant blessings of our loving God.
One of the contemplative anthems we sang at the cathedral, entitled Jesu, the Very Thought of You, expresses my difficulty in capturing my emotions from that experience. The words came from a text by Bernard of Clairvaux. The final stanza reads as follows:
No tongue of mortal can express, no letters write its blessedness; alone who hath thee in his heart knows, love of Jesus, what thou art.
Susan Green, Alto