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The sacredness of secular music

Brendan McManus SJ is the delegate for Spirituality with the Jesuits in Ireland and author of the recently published book The Way to Manresa.

The book is about a pilgrimage he undertook in the footsteps of the founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius of Loyola. Each chapter begins with a reference to a song or piece of music relevant to his journey, inner and outer.

He has also written two blog posts around the theme of spirituality and music, one concerning the band Fleetwood Mac and the other his recommended list of the best songs for surviving the Covid-19 lockdown.

In the video interview above he talks to Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications about the music referenced in his book, and the aforementioned blog posts. He explains his love of music, and the intrinsic connection he feels it has with the spiritual life. Brendan notes that ‘secular’ music like that produced by the rock band U2 can often be more spiritually enriching than a lot of ‘sacred’ music.

He also talks about how music has played a key role in some of the retreats he has done and he outlines other ways that people can use music creatively, particularly during stressful or challenging times such as the lockdown. And he offers a playlist that might get people started on their own spiritual journey with music as a spiritual companion.