Saint Nicholas is the patron of the defense of young people from abuse or exploitation.
If you’ve felt abused or exploited by the holiday season of shopping and consumption, maybe the stories of the life and ministry Saint Nicholas could be a source of relief and inspiration.
My favorite composer, Benjamin Britten, made a lovely, queer, brilliant, yet accessible oratorio of Saint Nicholas. Britten had a heart for the common folk, just like Saint Nic’. The piece was written so it could be performed mostly by amateurs with the support of a few professionals . That’s my man Ben! I think he was as clever as any composer who ever lived, but he didn’t want to make music that showed a superiority to the common people. He wanted to make music that would uplift the common folk. Amen Ben!
New York’s own, Downtown Voices, gave an exquisite performance of the piece you can experience here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wXSm0OpYR4
If you only have time to watch one movement, I recommend the one that starts here https://youtu.be/4wXSm0OpYR4?t=509
It’s Nicholas emotional personal testimony of his spiritual journey.
I think Britten’s raw and soaring setting of this text offers us an experience of the heart of Saint Nicholas’ witness. In some traditions, Saint Nicholas brings gifts to children every year on his Saint Day. But the heart of the stories about him, is that he cherished the gift of every human life, especially those whose lives weren’t valued by his society, like widows and “the fatherless”. His ministry was not about presents, but being present in the ultimate reality that everything is a gift, amazing grace. Britten’s music transports me into that ultimate reality. Amazing extravagant and sometimes strangely beautiful grace: How sweet the sound!
Paz, Bendiciones and Thanks for Listening,