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Religion

Mozart was of a deeply religious nature, reared in Salzburg where
his father was a member of the archiepiscopal chapel. Throughout
his life he remained a faithful son of the church, for whose
servants, however, he had little sympathy.

The one man whom Mozart hated from the bottom of his soul was
Archbishop Hieronymus of Salzburg who sought to put all possible
obstacles in the way of the youthful genius, and finally by the
most infamous of acts covered himself everlastingly with infamy.
Though Mozart frequently speaks angrily and bitterly of the
priests he always differentiates between religion, the church and
their servants. Like Beethoven, Mozart stood toward God in the
relationship of a child full of trust in his father.

His reliance on Providence was so utter that his words sometimes
sound almost fatalistic. His father harbored some rationalistic
ideas which were even more pronounced in Mozart, so that he
formed his own opinion concerning ecclesiastical ceremonies and
occasionally disregarded them. His cheery temperament made it
impossible that his religious life should be as profound as that
of Beethoven.



243. "I hope that with the help of God, Miss Martha will get well
again. If not, you should not grieve too deeply, for God's will
is always the best. God will know whether it is better to be in
this world or the other."

(Bologna, September 29, 1770, to his mother and sister in
Salzburg. The young woman died soon after.)

244. "Tell papa to put aside his fears; I live, with God ever
before me. I recognize His omnipotence, I fear His anger; I
acknowledge His love, too, His compassion and mercy towards all
His creatures, He will never desert those who serve Him. If
matters go according to His will they go according to mine;
consequently nothing can go wrong,--I must be satisfied and
happy."

(Augsburg, October 25, 1777, to his father, who was showering him
with exhortations on the tour which he made with his mother
through South Germany.)

245. "Let come what will, nothing can go ill so long as it is the
will of God; and that it may so go is my daily prayer."

(Mannheim, December 6, 1777, to his father. Mozart was waiting
with some impatience to learn if he was to receive an appointment
from Elector Karl Theodore. It did not come.)

246. "I know myself;--I know that I have so much religion that I
shall never be able to do a thing which I would not be willing
openly to do before the whole world; only the thought of meeting
persons on my journeys whose ideas are radically different from
mine (and those of all honest people) frightens me. Aside from
that they may do what they please. I haven't the heart to travel
with them, I would not have a single pleasant hour, I would not
know what to say to them; in a word I do not trust them. Friends
who have no religion are not stable."

(Mannheim, February 2, 1778, to his father. For the reasons
mentioned in the letter Mozart gave up his plan to travel to
Paris with the musicians Wendling and Ramen. In truth, perhaps,
his love affair with Aloysia Weber may have had something to do
with his resolve.)

247. "I prayed to God for His mercy that all might go well, to
His greater glory, and the symphony began....Immediately after
the symphony full of joy I went into the Palais Royal, ate an
iced cream, prayed the rosary as I had promised to do, and went
home. I am always best contented at home and always will be, or
with a good, true, honest German."

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his father. The symphony in question is
no longer in existence, although Mozart wanted to write it down
again at a later date.)

248. "I must tell you my mother, my dear mother, is no more.--God
has called her to Himself; He wanted her, I see that clearly, and
I must submit to God's will. He gave her to me, and it was His to
take her away. My friend, I am comforted, not but now, but long
ago. By a singular grace of God I endured all with steadfastness
and composure. When her illness grew dangerous I prayed God for
two things only,--a happy hour of death for my mother, and
strength and courage for myself. God heard me in His loving
kindness, heard my prayer and bestowed the two mercies in largest
measure."

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his good friend Bullinger, in Salzburg,
who was commissioned gently to bear the intelligence to Mozart's
father. At the same time Mozart, with considerate deception,
wrote to his father about his mother's illness without mentioning
her death.)

249. "I believe, and nothing shall ever persuade me differently,
that no doctor, no man, no accident, can either give life to man
or take it away; it rests with God alone. Those are only the
instruments which He generally uses, though not always; we see
men sink down and fall over dead. When the time is come no
remedies can avail,--they accelerate death rather than retard
it....I do not say, therefore, that my mother will and must die,
that all hope is gone; she may recover and again be well and
sound,--but only if it is God's will."

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his father, from whom he is concealing
the fact that his mother is dead. He is seeking to prepare him
for the intelligence which he has already commissioned Bullinger
to convey to the family.)

250. "Under those melancholy circumstances I comforted myself
with three things, viz.: my complete and trustful submission to
the will of God, then the realization of her easy and beautiful
death, combined with the thought of the happiness which was to
come to her in a moment,--how much happier she now is than we, so
that we might even have wished to make the journey with her. Out
of this wish and desire there was developed my third comfort,
namely, that she is not lost to us forever, that we shall see her
again, that we shall be together more joyous and happy than ever
we were in this world. It is only the time that is unknown, and
that fact does not frighten me. When it is God's will, it shall
be mine. Only the divine, the most sacred will be done; let us
then pray a devout 'Our Father' for her soul and proceed to other
matters; everything has its time."

(Paris, July 9, 1778, to his father, informing him of his
mother's death.)

251. "Be without concern touching my soul's welfare, best of
fathers! I am an erring young man, like so many others, but I can
say to my own comfort, that I wish all were as little erring as
I. You, perhaps, believe things about me which are not true. My
chief fault is that I do not always appear to act as I ought. It
is not true that I boasted that I eat fish every fast-day; but I
did say that I was indifferent on the subject and did not
consider it a sin, for in my case fasting means breaking off,
eating less than usual. I hear mass every Sunday and holy day,
and when it is possible on week days also,--you know that, my
father."

(Vienna, June 13, 1781--another attempt at justification against
slander.)

252. "Moreover take the assurance that I certainly am religious,
and if I should ever have the misfortune (which God will
forefend) to go astray, I shall acquit you, best of fathers, from
all blame. I alone would be the scoundrel; to you I owe all my
spiritual and temporal welfare and salvation."

(Vienna, June 13, 1781.)

253. "For a considerable time before we were married we went
together to Holy Mass, to confession and to communion; and I
found that I never prayed so fervently, confessed and
communicated so devoutly, as when I was at her side;--and her
experience was the same. In a word we were made for each other,
and God, who ordains all things and consequently has ordained
this, will not desert us. We both thank you obediently for your
paternal blessing."

(Vienna, August 17, 1782.)

254. "I have made it a habit in all things to imagine the worst.
Inasmuch as, strictly speaking, death is the real aim of our
life, I have for the past few years made myself acquainted with
this true, best friend of mankind, so that the vision not only
has no terror for me but much that is quieting and comforting.
And I thank my God that He gave me the happiness and the
opportunity (you understand me) to learn to know Him as the key
to true blessedness."

(Vienna, April 4, 1787, to his father, who died on the 28th of
the following month. One of the few passages in Mozart's letters
in which there are suggestions of the teachings of Freemasonry.
In 1785 he had persuaded his father to join the order, with the
result that new warmth was restored to the relationship which had
cooled somewhat after Mozart's marriage.)

255. "To me that again is art twaddle! There may be something
true in it for you enlightened Protestants, as you call
yourselves, when you have your religion in your heads; I can not
tell. But you do not feel what 'Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata
mundi' and such things mean. But when one, like I, has been
initiated from earliest childhood in the mystical sanctuary of
our religion; when there one does not know whither to go with all
the vague but urgent feelings, but waits with a heart full of
devotion for the divine service without really knowing what to
expect, yet rises lightened and uplifted without knowing what one
has received; when one deemed those fortunate who knelt under the
touching strains of the Agnus Dei and received the sacrament, and
at the moment of reception the music spoke in gentle joy from the
hearts of the kneeling ones, 'Benedictus qui venit,' etc.;--then
it is a different matter. True, it is lost in the hurly-burly of
life; but,--at least it is so in my case,--when you take up the
words which you have heard a thousand times, for the purpose of
setting them to music, everything comes back and you feel your
soul moved again."

(Spoken in Leipsic, in 1789, when somebody expressed pity for
those capable musicians who were obliged to "employ their powers
on ecclesiastical subjects, which were mostly not only unfruitful
but intellectually killing." Rochlitz reports the utterance but
does not vouch for its literalness.)