Noirin Ni Riain is an extraordinary Irish singer with an exquisite voice and passion for sacred music. As a Christian, she was disappointed to discover that theologians, for the most part, had not given proper attention to the spiritual practices of listening, hearing, and silence --especially as they relate to music. Hindu and Sufi traditions, on the other hand, are keenly attuned to our aural relationship with God.

To guide her thoughts in the right direction, Riain defines theosony as "any number of factors that are implicated in an aural relationship with God: for instance, listening, hearing, speaking, sonic language, memorization, reading aloud and silence." With energy to spare, the author explains the relationship of Jesus to grace. She gives a stamp of approval to memorization (here she joins company with Simone Weil). She contends that the theosonic imagination discovers vibrant concordances between the Creator and the good Earth. The same imagination seeks to follow the movements of the Spirit which are spontaneous and unpredictable.

The next time you turn on your favorite music, keep in mind these words by Riain:
"The ear is our most characteristic organ of existential reality. Like the heart, it is ever awake until it breathes its last. When the event of listening to the sound of God's self-revelation occurs within the human frame, theosony is accomplished."

Read an excerpt on listening