He is a gentle, happy man. A ten-time Grammy Award winner, a virtuoso vocalist and conductor, Bobby McFerrin is best known for his 1988 hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”
Bobby McFerrin’s peaceful, joy-filled improvisations well up in a heart that is attuned to God. His family was deeply religious, and music was one of the ways that they prayed and worshipped.
McFerrin’s spiritual music includes a unique rendition of the Twenty-Third Psalm which he dedicated to his mother. In an interview with Omega co-founder Elizabeth Lesser, he explained:
The 23rd Psalm is dedicated to my mother. She was the driving force in my religious and spiritual education, and I have so many memories of her singing in church. But I wrote it because I’d been reading the Bible one morning, and I was thinking about God’s unconditional love, about how we crave it but have so much trouble believing we can trust it, and how we can’t fully understand it. And then I left my reading and spent time with my wife and our children. Watching her with them, the way she loved them, I realized one of the ways we’re shown a glimpse of how God loves us is through our mothers. They cherish our spirits, they demand that we become our best selves, and they take care of us.
Here, for your enjoyment, is Bobby McFerrin’s “Ave Maria”—with full audience participation.
Kathy Schiffer is a free-lance writer and speaker. Her articles have appeared on Aleteia, the Kresta in the Afternoon Blog, the Michigan Catholic, Catholic Exchange and Legatus Magazine. She is currently writing her first novel.