Shortly before his death in 1840, the great violinist, Nicolo Paganini, willed his exquisite violin to Genoa, the city where he was born, but only on the condition that the instrument never be played again. It was an unfortunate condition, for it is a characteristic of violin woods like spruce, willow, and rosewood, that as long as it is used and handled, it shows little decline in quality. However, as soon as it is set aside in storage, it begins to decay. Hidden away in its case, the fabulous, mellow-toned violin became worm-eaten, valueless except as a relic. Until it was restored, the deteriorating instrument was a reminder that gifts and talents are tools meant to be used, not treasures to be stored up.
Likewise, a life withdrawn from love and service to others loses its melody and meaning. We were all given a set of gifts at our Baptisms, which were re-affirmed at our Confirmations, and are restored every time we receive Holy Communion.
While we might not be violin virtuosos, with the Eucharist, beautiful music is right at our fingertips.
This Monday Minute is from Deacon Andy Neu, currently listening to Paganini's Caprice No. 24. Listen in at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITzcZia7fsQ