It was during the spring of 1983 that Mary Bagnell came into my life. I think of her often. After 4 years at St. Anselm College and 40 classes, it was Mary’s class “Music Appreciation” that made all my parents tuition payments worth it. I signed up for this course not because of my interest in music, but because I thought it was a ” gut”. A class to show up at each day, get a good grade and graduate. Located on the third floor of Alumni Hall, I recall walking into Mary’s class on day one with excitement. Excited that I can cruise through this 50 minutes with little to no effort. Then walked in Mary. 5’5″, looked like a nun and she immediately took charge. She had me sitting up straight, my hat was off and boy did she grab my attention. I recall her opening remarks. ” You will leave this class falling in love with music. You may not realize it now, but in the years to come when you are on a date or at business function and you can recognize pieces by Arron Copland or Beethoven, you will forever thank me. I enjoy music today, and as my family can attest to, I enjoy playing name that tune, not only to the hits of the 70’s and 80’s but to classical scores as well. Recently I started to listen to violin solos or sonatas featuring violins and pianos. I find the works of Itzhak Perlman very appealing and soothing.
This past week, Saint Ignatius had me focusing on the Call of Christ. The grace I was asking for was: Not to be deaf to Christ’s call in my life. Help me be open and willing to do what Christ asks of me. This grace can raise fears and resistance, but I find comfort in knowing I remain open to hearing what my call may be. I promise to be patient, and I will allow God to work on me. Kevin O’Brien SJ put it so well in last weeks reading. “God’s call is meant to give us a fuller life of deeper meaning and authentic joy.” When I found Saint Ignatius months ago, he offered me a way to get closer to God through his Spiritual Exercises. I’m so grateful for this. Over the years I have struggled with what I call ” the desire for consistent happiness”. I would often look in the mirror, acknowledge all that I’m blessed with, but still feel unhappy/unfulfilled. With all I have, I should be on cloud 9 all the time, right? What I’m starting to see as I take a personal inventory on what I have, what was missing was recognizing God is in my life. God was with me in 1983, and I know God is with me now. Mary Bagnell brought me authentic joy through her music. I’m starting to hear the music of another today. Authentic joy…I will be patient for you.