Let's Not Use the "Ave Marias"

Why not make use of this beautiful work?

By EVA JEUNE MCASSEY, Music Instructor, Loma Linda, California

Regarding the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church we read in "The Great Controversy," page 566: "The ear . . . is capti­vated. The music is unsurpassed." Perhaps the best known and most generally accepted of all pieces of music honoring Mary are the "Ave Maria" by Schubert and the "Ave Maria" by Gounod. They are among the outstandingly beautiful selections of that music which is "un­surpassed." Then why not use these glorious numbers in our Seventh-day Adventist services ? After all, do we not wish to hare music in our services that is "unsurpassed" in beauty and inspiration? Yes, of course we do. But let us think this question all the way through.

We know that in the Roman Catholic faith God has had many earnest, sincere followers, both in past eras and at this present time. We would not doubt that God has enabled some of their members to become great writers, others to become master painters, and still others to become master composers of beautiful music. Should we refuse to use good music simply because it was written by those of the Roman Catholic faith ? Of course not ! Such hymns as "Lead, Kindly Light," "Silent Night," and many other much-loved hymns were so writ­ten.

Think, for a moment, of the magnificent works of one of the world's master composers, Charles Gounod, the man who composed "Unfold Ye Portals," "Praise Ye the Father," and "O Di­vine Redeemer." One can scarcely doubt that such selections were inspired to be used to the praise of God. But just because the "Ave Marias" have been written by such master com­posers does not necessarily warrant including these selections in our worship. It is commend­able to desire the finest music obtainable as part of the worship in our churches—music that will honor and glorify God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. But is the "Ave Maria" a piece of music meant to honor God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? No. Through the prophecies of the Holy Bible, God has told us of a power that would "speak great words against the Most High, and . . . wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws." Furthermore, the power that "opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped," "so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God," has developed a system of human inter­cession here on earth to come between the human family and its only Mediator.

And it has gone still further. It has assumed to have human intercessors in heaven itself in the persons of the departed saints. The queen of the departed human intercessors is Mary, "Queen of Heaven." Therefore, the "Ave Marias," consecrated and dedicated to that "Queen of Heaven," are the chosen theme songs of the power that defies the rightful position of Christ, our divine intercessor and the only true mediator between God and man. (I Tim. 2:5)

The "Ave Maria" assumes the position, as it were, of the national anthem of Catholicism, the battle song of a power that has put to death multitudes of God's people. This great nation of ours is now at war. We would not, under such conditions, dare or desire or choose to have played or sung the national anthems of enemy nations in our public assemblies. Another war has been going on for over a thousand years—the war between Christ and antichrist. Let us not introduce the theme songs of the anti-intercessor into our services simply because the music captivates the ears.


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By EVA JEUNE MCASSEY, Music Instructor, Loma Linda, California

June 1943

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