18 New Translations

As I mentioned earlier, I have been asked to create singable translations for all the pieces at St. Cecilia Press, and I am happy to be able to say that I have finished! (Or, at least, I’m caught up until Monique adds more pieces.)

My recent translations include 16 pieces to accompany Monique’s editions, plus two I’ve done just on my own initiative. 🙂 They are as follows: Continue reading

Miracles and the Cantigas de Santa Maria

I was recently made thoughtful by a video I watched about non-complementary behavior. Complementarity is a term used in social psychology to describe personal interactions. In essence, social psychologists have found that behavior tends to invite certain responses in others: Dominant behavior from one person leads to a submissive response from that person’s conversational partner; hostility prompts hostility; friendliness invites friendliness; etc. When people fail to respond in the expected way, they are behaving in a non-complementary fashion. The video I watched is about how responding to hostility with friendliness (not the expected reaction) can lead to positive results.

What struck me most about the video is that, when one of the people interviewed described the way his situation changed as “a miracle”, the narrator questioned his assessment. After explaining the idea of non-complementarity, she concluded, “The March in Selma? Nonviolence in India? Offering a man with a gun at your head a glass of French wine? Those aren’t miracles. They’re examples of non-complementary behavior.”

I was confused, indignant, and intrigued – because all of those things seem like miracles to me. Why would the narrator say that something can’t be a miracle if it also happens to be an example of non-complementary behavior?

The problem seems to be one of definitions: What counts as a miracle? Well, a miracle is something that exists or happens because of a supernatural power. But the narrator of the video seems to believe that a miracle must be something that surpasses normal human ability or defies the laws of physics. This is certainly a well-accepted understanding of the miraculous. Many people would not say that, for example, water boiling on the stove is a miracle – even if it did happen to be caused or inspired by a god or other supernatural entity – because it is normal and, we assume, would have happened even without divine intervention.

How different, I thought, from the view of miracles in the Cantigas de Santa Maria!

Continue reading