Saturday, January 5, 2013


"We believe that worship is far more than prayer and preaching and gospel performance. The supreme act of worship is to keep the commandments, to follow in the footsteps of the Son of God, to do ever those things that please Him. It is one thing to give lip service to the Lord; it is quite another to respect and honor His will by following the example" Joseph Fielding Smith ("I Know That My Redeemer Liveth," Ensign, December 1971, p. 27).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Kiss

The great Hungarian concert pianist Andor Földes tells the remarkable story of the watershed moment in his rise to world renown. He was 16 years old and already a veteran of years of intense practice and performance. The pianist Emil von Sauer, Franz Liszt's last surviving pupil, came to Budapest and asked young Andor to play for him. Having listened intently to him playing Bach's Toccata in C Major, von Sauer requested another piece. Andor put all his heart and skill into playing Beethoven's "Pathetique" sonata, then continued with Schumann's "Papillons." Finally, after a long pause, von Sauer slowly rose, took the young man's head into his hands, and kissed him on the forehead. "My son," he said tenderly, "when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, 'Take good care of this kiss—it comes from Beethoven, who gave it to me after hearing me play.' I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, and now I feel you deserve it." (From Andor Földes, "Beethoven's Kiss," Reader's Digest, November 1986, 145.)
Andor Földes rose to the expectation. Beethoven's kiss miraculously lifted him from the high level at which he was performing and put him on a level of real greatness. The incomparable greatness and uniqueness of Beethoven survives in many ways, but none more personally or more powerfully than through the mentoring of those touched by this kiss symbolic of his greatness and uniqueness.