Image courtesy of “The Thin White Duke 76” by Jean-Luc Ourlin . Uploaded here by Auréola. – originally posted to Flickr as David Bowie. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –
This post has been percolating for quite a while. If you’ve read Don’t You Forget About Me (or even just the reviews), you won’t need much thinking to figure out that music is an important part of my life–and not pure, holy music by Matt Maher or Audrey Asaad, either.
When I first returned to the faith of my baptism, I’d come from months of trying really, really hard to be a fan of CCM: Contemporary Christian Music. And while a lot of the words were nice to hear, the music didn’t necessarily speak to me. With the exception of Rich Mullins, it’s nothing I still listen to now.
“Don’t let the Devil have all the good music!” I heard. So I tried, but given the choice between Echo & the Bunnymen and Phillips, Craig & Dean… sorry. Jesus may have saved me, but if I said I’d lost my way, would you sympathize? Could you sympathize?
I asked God to change my tastes, knowing full well He has the power to do so. But He didn’t. So here I am, downright afflicted with an ear that loves anything from blurred lines to the center of the hollow moon. I’m careful with what I let linger in my mind (the former gets the station changed; the latter… well, if it’s on the radio, it gets bleeped, so I let it play). But I still worry about the state of my soul.
The state of my soul.
The state of my soul.
The state of my selfish soul.
So while it did occur to me a few years ago to offer prayers for the soul of Ian Curtis, I didn’t really extend those prayers to anyone else. Then a few months ago, someone in a Catholic blogger FB group asked if it was weird to offer prayers for the soul of Kurt Cobain. Of course it isn’t, not if I’m praying for Ian and his family. After all, dollars to donuts, neither of those people ran in circles where folks are including them in their rosary intentions.
So when Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots died this fall, I was pretty comfortable praying for his soul. I was even contemplating having a Mass said for him (announced? maybe…) when I found this letter from the mother of his children.
Our once sweet Catholic boy refused to watch the kids participate in Christmas Eve plays because he was now an atheist.
“Once sweet Catholic boy.” So… he might have people saying Masses for him? People not making the Entertainment section, but still, people.
But why didn’t I think to pray for him before he died? I’m a child of the grunge era. I liked STP well enough. Maybe if I had focused less on being a Good Contemporary Christian Music Fan and more on the people making the music I liked… I could have fasted and prayed and Noah and Lucy would still have a father here on earth.
I don’t know. We’ll never know, I guess. And now, David Bowie is gone, too. Without a single Rosary from me.
The Catholic definition of “love” (courtesy of Aristotle first, then Aquinas) is to will the good of another. God has been waving this musical flags in front of my ears, begging me to love people who very likely have turned from Him and written Him off. And I’ve been sitting here, tentatively pulling my fingers out of my ears, saying to myself, “Oh, just one more song isn’t gonna hurt me.”
Dumbass. It hasn’t been about me.
It’s the Year of Mercy. We are asked to focus on how much God loves everyone, everyone, no matter how much they look like they don’t need Him. So here’s the dumb thing I’m gonna do to celebrate the Year of Mercy. I’m gonna have Masses said for David Bowie and Scott Weiland and Ian Curtis. I’m also gong to have Masses said for the conversion of other souls still walking among us–souls that, frankly, look irrevocably hardened to my eyes, but as Simcha Fisher said, generosity to one’s audience can be an act of charity, of virtue open to grace; and as all faithful Catholics know, we cannot know another’s soul.
So, Henry Rollins, you’re getting a Mass said for you before 2016 is out. You too, Ian McCulloch. Aaron Bruno? Dave Grohl? Heck, if you’ve ever played the Doctor, you might get a Mass, too. (I’d keep naming names, but I just had steroids injected into my elbow, and while I’m offering it up for all these folks, I’m also a flesh & blood woman for whom Tylenol and ice only go so far.)
So that’s my Modern Love: getting celebrities who don’t know me from Adam into heaven. If it doesn’t work (free can be a b1tch sometimes), then I’ll at least have some guardian angels joining me at my individual judgment who can hopefully say, “See how she loved them?”
Loved them. Not their music. Them.
Any other names you want to throw onto my list? Pray for them. Ask me to pray for them. And we could be heroes.
“And may God’s love be with you.”
Let me know, below, on FB, shoot me an email, whatever works for you (but a reply might take a while, see above re: big needles in my elbow.)