This week I was listening to the radio when a song came on and triggered a lovely memory. When I was thirteen my family moved to New Roads, Louisiana from Baton Rouge and I was enrolled in Catholic School for the first time in my life. One of the first things my sister and I did was join the youth choir at St. Mary’s. The choir director was a volunteer, Mrs. Sarita. She was strict and had high expectations. She held two practices a week and conducted the choir for 10:30 Mass each weekend. If I am not mistaken she just celebrated 50 years as the youth choir director. What an amazing ministry. She was responsible for fostering my love of liturgical music.
The year was 1979 and at that time our choir really was wonderful and we sang every week for Mass and for many special events. Our priest at the time, Father Uter, loved listening to us sing. I can remember him sitting in the pews listening to us above, as we sang from a choir loft that was accessed by a tiny winding stair case.
Also in 1979, the movie The Rose hit the big screen and Bette Midler became famous and so did her gorgeous theme song, “The Rose”. Father Uter loved this song. So, after consultation with our choir director, they bought the music for “The Rose” and we started learning the parts. As we were learning the song, Father Uter had custom banners made that flanked both sides of the Church aisle that illustrated a seed becoming a rose. Finally after much practice, we added this beautiful song to our choral library. I remember the first time we sang it like it was yesterday.
“Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor, that leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed
Its the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance
Its the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance
Its the one who won't be taking, who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live
When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose”
“Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows Lies the seed, that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose” are the lyrics that always remain with me. I believe that verse is telling the listener that when things look bleak all we have to do is look to the Son’s love and things will get better.
In 1979 when my family moved to New Roads, I was a 13 year old who thought the world was ending. I left my home, my school, and my friends. Mrs. Sarita, Father Uter, the individual choir members and this precious choir as a group were the Son to me. Through my participation in the choir, I found out that my world was not ending but really just beginning.
Take a moment and think about something that has been the Son to you. As we enter into the Advent season, remember that God is sending His Son for you.