Back to Index

Harry Potter and magic. Magnum mysterium

Amelia Estrada writes: "I think the attraction to the mystical and magical is a timeless human preoccupation, which modern secular society in the West, and the Christian traditions within it, do not satisfy. Most people have no idea of the mystic traditions of Judaism or Christianity in other times. Witness our interest in Eastern religions for their beauty and sense of transcendence, "New Age" religions, or people converting to Islam for the piety which orders the Muslim's day. The rich sacramental traditions of the Catholic liturgy, for example, are now subordinated to a slew of imitation pop-music in "Teen Life" masses, for example. Important to remember is that in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman sacraments are called "mysteries". Maybe Harry Potter is telling us that the secular, empirically-minded West needs a good dose of mystery." My comment: The sentence I have put in italics is important. "We see through a glass, darkly." The Church spoke of a "magnum mysterium". Great music, like Handel's "Messiah" can inspire this sense of mystery. Some years ago, a Jew (!) was inspired by "The Messiah", showing that great music transcends dogma. Thanks to him, sing-alongs of "The Messiah" became popular, but they seem less frequent now. Let us see what happens this Christmas. "Harry Potter" is a poor substitute for more profound magic.

Ronald Hilton - 12/4/01