ou may have been surprised about the first verse in the last blog, because it did not correspond to the traditional charming depiction oft the scene.
Perhaps today’s view of the second verse will also surprise you!?
Here the literal translation from the original in German:
Silent Night! Holy Night! Son of God, oh how laughs
Love from your divine mouth,
as we are struck by the hour of salvation.
Jesus in your birth! Jesus in your birth!
When you sing this verse at Christmas, do you have the feeling that it’s just sentimental kitsch? – No?
You see!? There’s something in there that really touches you. Maybe it’s a similar feeling as when you touch a small child, a very small young life with so much hope and so much need for help? You were also like that, I was like that too! Somehow this very original life power is still in all of us, a life power that consists of pure tenderness!
The young life, Joseph Mohr must have felt this too, because in this verse he describes so tenderly that LOVE has become a human being – one like YOU and me, of flesh and blood. As a child that one would most like to simply caress. He has not descended from heaven, he was born of a young woman! GOD and LOVE, is that not ONE, as it is also described again and again in the Bible? Is the real human LOVE something else? Separated? No! For Mohr it is ONE, he sings about it so tenderly!
What does the saving hour mean? Salvation does not happen in heaven, somewhere, somehow in the hereafter. Young life, love, is not THAT the divine salvation? Does that sound heretical to you? Read the Bible! There you will find impressive testimonies that God and love are one – not in the hereafter! Not theoretically! They belong completely to our life. (1.Cor. 13)
Does this fit with the traditional image of God that God is enthroned as ruler in heaven and from there he rules the world, directs our fate and, as a strict judge, rewards the good and punishes the bad? Do you still belong to that generation where this was taught to us in religious education? Joseph Mohr sees it differently; he sees in the child Jesus a little brother, the Son of God. He bears witness to it so tenderly and lovingly! There Joseph Mohr is completely HE himself – completely free. Do not let yourself be religiously enslaved by moral preachers, nor be put off into the hereafter!
Are you „Catholic“? Don’t worry. I won’t ask you about your religious affiliation!
Do you know what „Catholic“ means? It means all encompassing. Because it encompasses the whole of life, right down to your fingertips! I truly mean LIFE, not a specific religion. Nor a worldwide church. I mean the very concrete life, yours and mine, with all its ups and downs, joys and sufferings. It is in LIFE where you find consolation, true trust and security even in the face of catastrophes!
That is „catholic“, nothing else. Do all „Catholics“ see it in the same way? Never mind, the important thing is that you and I understand that! YOU? ME? The teacher Franz Xaver Gruber understood the priest Joseph Mohr „catholically“ – that’s why he was able to translate Joseph Mohr’s Christmas poem Silent Night into the right melody, into the universal language – music, and touch so many people all over the world!
In the next blog we look at the 3rd verse. It contains a particularly comforting message.
- Welcome to the SILENT NIGHT BLOG! (#1)
- How many verses of SILENT NIGHT do you know by heart? (#2)
- Does SILENT NIGHT sing about an unrealistic world?(#3)
- Tenderness is life! (#4)
- Consolation in chaos (#5)
- Silent Night- THE peace song (#6)
- Silent Night – not for moralists! (#7)
- Silent Night – a pastoral idyll? (#8)
- Joseph Mohr – a saint? (#9)
- Franz Xaver Gruber – a simple village school teacher? (#10)
- Encounter – this is where life happens. (#11)