When I first started learning to play the cello years ago, I remember that before I even played one note, my teacher took great pains to make sure I understood how delicate the instrument is.

She made sure I knew how to rosin my bow, and how to properly clean and store my cello. She stressed that I should protect the instrument and keep it cleaned and well tuned at all times. She told me that I had to respect the cello before I could appreciate it.

Prior to the start of each lesson, she would give my cello an inspection, making sure that I was properly caring for the instrument.

As I’ve taken up playing the cello once again, those early lessons came to mind. Sadly, it dawned on me that sometimes I have shown more respect to the cello – an inanimate object – than I have shown to my faith. I am never distracted when I play the cello, but my mind has wandered during Mass. I never came late or left early from a cello lesson. I am ashamed that I cannot say the same thing about Mass.

By returning to my music, I have come to realize that as precious as my cello is, there is nothing more precious than the gift of eternal life offered to me by my faith in Jesus.

I am humbled and sorrowed to realize that I have not always given the due reverence and respect that rightly belongs to Jesus when I encounter Him at Mass in Eucharist.

Perhaps returning to the cello will help me better live my faith.

When I clean and tune my cello, I can remember that my soul also needs that periodic once-over with Confession. If I respect my cello in order to appreciate it, then I have to be better in how I respect the Most Blessed Sacrament in order to appreciate Jesus who is truly present. The sincerity with which I play a tune on the cello can spur me to be that much more sincere when I pray.

Psalm 33 tells us to “Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.” I have no lyre or harp, but I will sure try to praise and honor God with my cello.