THE CHURCH AT PRAYER (4)

Series drawn from the document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (2007).

SINGING BY HEART: Have you wondered why we read anew some pieces of music each week, and why some we sing all of the time. The document Sing to the Lord, and the Archdiocese of Omaha Core Repertoire provide guidance for us:

27. So that the holy people may sing with one voice, the music must be within its members’ capability. Some congregations are able to learn more quickly and will desire more variety. Others will be more comfortable with a stable number of songs so that they can be at ease when they sing. Familiarity with a stable repertoire of liturgical songs rich in theological content can deepen the faith of the community through repetition and memorization.

THE CHURCH AT PRAYER (3)

Series drawn from the document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (2007).

Have you wondered why, at mass, we take time to learn music before we sing it? Or why the Cantor sings (intones) something first, to give an example for all to sing? The cantor’s gesture of invitation is not “empty” but a cue for all to do their part. Intoning is an ancient custom, by which the simplest refrains are “taught by ear” so that we all can join together. Are you picking up your cue? The document Sing to the Lord guides us:

26. Singing is one of the primary ways that the assembly of the faithful participates actively in the Liturgy. The people are encouraged “to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons [and] hymns. . . .” The musical formation of the assembly must be a continuing concern in order to foster full, conscious, and active participation.”

THE CHURCH AT PRAYER (2)

THE CHURCH AT PRAYER

Series drawn from the document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (2007).

The Gathered Assembly: What does “COLLECT” mean? Liturgically, when a priest prays a prayer, he is “collecting” the prayers of all gathered. His words are our words. The mass is a dialogue – the words exchanged are rich, poetic, and distilled to their most intense and economical form. This is why it is helpful, before mass begins and in preparation for full participation in it, that we can examine and digest the words through the resources in the pews – (St. Michael Hymnal – Lumen Christi Missal) and numerous other printed and online resources to be ready. It is not a trivial or simple thing to attach our thoughts and intentions to that of another. In the Collect this is what we are doing – submitting our own will and joining with that of all present to pray to God with one voice. This is an intentional action and requires our full attention.

From Sing to the Lord : 24. “In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a people, a people whom God has made his own, a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him, and so that they may learn to offer themselves.” This is the basis for the “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful demanded by the very nature of the Liturgy.

THE CHURCH AT PRAYER

THE CHURCH AT PRAYER

Series drawn from the document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (2007).

15. The Church is always at prayer in her ministers and her people, and that prayer takes various forms in her life. Authentic sacred music supports the Church’s prayer by enriching its elements.” Authentic music takes us beyond ourselves, and helps us to unite with others to lift our common voice. In contrast to secular culture’s music, which personalizes our choices sometimes to the point of isolation, communal music joins us together with the person in the pew next to us, to the person who is not very much like us, and to the saints and angels across time. Liturgical Music is a universal expression by which we sacrifice in order to join with the eternal sacrifice of Christ to the Father.

WHY WE SING (9)

WHY WE SING – Series drawn from the document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (2007).

13. Participation must also be external, so that internal participation can be expressed and reinforced by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes, and by the acclamations, responses, and singing. The quality of our participation in such sung praise comes less from our vocal ability than from the desire of our hearts to sing together of our love for God. Participation in the Sacred Liturgy both expresses and strengthens the faith that is in us.

14. Our participation in the Liturgy is challenging. Sometimes, our voices do not correspond to the convictions of our hearts. At other times, we are distracted or preoccupied by the cares of the world. But Christ always invites us to enter into song, to rise above our own preoccupations, and to give our entire selves to the hymn of his Paschal Sacrifice for the honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity.