Each time I attend Mass I see fellow parishioners who do not open the hymnal or the misalette when the songs are announced and sung. Rather, they stand tight-lipped and quiet. I always feel sad when I witness this. I feel sad because those who do not sing the chosen hymns miss out on this important facet of the Eucharist—the praise and worship of God in song. In the Scriptures, we are often told to worship the Lord in song, particularly in the Psalms.
St. Augustine is quoted as saying, “To sing is to pray twice.” We are told in Scripture that the angels and the saints are praising God continually. Perhaps we should prepare ourselves here for our eventual (if we persevere to the end) heavenly vocations! When I have, on occasion, brought this to someone’s attention the reply is often, “I can’t sing.” This misses the point of liturgical music. We are not performing, we are praising God. Each of the hymns is a prayer carefully chosen by the music minister (who is guided by Holy Mother Church and the Holy Spirit) to support the other prayers and scriptures of the Mass. Even if one does not have a “singing voice” he can open the book and pray the words with the family of God present at the Mass. Reading and focusing on the words of the carefully chosen hymns will most certainly deepen the spiritual experience of the Mass.
So the next time you are at Mass, make a joyful noise unto the Lord with your fellow worshippers or, at the very least, open the book, notice and pray the words of the hymns with us. May God Bless us all!
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