September 27th

This is the fifth bulletin article in a series on the liturgy, and we are just now beginning to reflect upon the first parts of the Mass: up until now, all the reflections have been centered on our own preparation before Mass begins.  It is important that we prepare our minds and hearts to enter into the sacred liturgy, but let us turn our attention now to the parts of the liturgy.

One of the very first things that we all do together as we begin Mass is we stand up and sing a hymn.  We stand in order to show exteriorly our interior readiness to enter into worship; we sing in order to express our joy.

Sunday Mass is not meant to be a burden.  The Holy Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our Catholic Faith.  (cf. CCC 1324)  At Mass, we are intimately united to Our Lord and God in Holy Communion.  We sing during Mass to show the joy and gratitude that we have in our hearts for all that God has done for us and all that He is about to do in the Mass, viz. give Himself to us in Holy Communion.

Saint Augustine says that singing is for one who loves.  Love songs and poetry exist because ordinary everyday human language is not enough to express all the emotions in the human heart.  When the heart is filled with love, it overflows in song.

There is another saying which puts it like this: “Those who sing, pray twice.”  This saying presumes that the one singing is singing out of heartfelt love.  The goal of prayer is to unite us in love to God.  The more the prayer moves our hearts into loving union with God, the more perfect the prayer.  Singing is meant to facilitate this union of our hearts with the Lord.

We ought to try to sing the songs and the other parts of the Mass from our hearts, even if we are not the best of singers.  God accepts and is pleased by our efforts.

We should also try to be attentive to the words that we are singing.  The lyrics of hymns and the responses that we sing at Mass, together with the melodies, are intended to help us lift our minds and our hearts to God.

God bless,

Father White

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