Praying By Ear

One of the things my mother had was a special gift for was music. She had a good voice, but more amazing was what she did at the piano. She could “play by ear.”

That means that she could listen to any song, and then sit down at the piano and immediately play it. No sheets of notes and scales, no accompaniment. Now, I ended up taking piano lessons for several years, and I could never do anything like that. All I could do was to shake my head in amazement. She had it all built into her.

At one point when I was a boy, she taught me about the scales and the sharps and flats, where they go and what key they signified. Well, one day when I was 12 years old something happened. I don’t remember all the circumstances, but there I was, after class with my schoolteacher, teaching her all about music. The sharps and flats, the keys and scales, the whole bit. Where did I get all that?

I got it from my mother. She had it all built into her.

Jesus was found in the Temple when He was 12 years old, teaching the teachers about the things of God. A boy is teaching the scribes and priests about God’s creation, His generosity and Mercy, His power and providence, and His plan for the salvation of the world.

Where did He get all of the wisdom and understanding?

He got it from His mother. She had it all built into her.

Mary is Full of Grace. What does that mean? It means that when it comes to listening to God, she can “pray by ear.” She only needs to hear God’s voice, and she can reproduce it. She doesn’t need outside instruction or guidance or accompaniment. She is Full of Grace.

People often wonder, Jerome, where do you get all the inspirations and insights, all the wisdom of the spiritual life? Some people are inspired by it, some are afraid of it, some people love it, some people hate it, some are supportive, and some are jealous of it. But when people ask me, where do you get it all, I tell them the truth:

I get it from my mother. She has it all built into her.

Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given to me;
I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
All good things came to me along with her,
and in her hands uncounted wealth.
I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them;
but I did not know that she was their mother.
I learned without guile and I impart without grudging;
I do not hide her wealth, for it is an unfailing treasure for men.
(Wisdom 7:7,11-14)

Piano-keyboard

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