He Who Sings, Prays Twice!

he_who_sings_well_prays_twice_postcard-r16e67d69b3544c448018f443941ea9e3_vgbaq_8byvr_307All my life I have enjoyed congregational singing, maybe a little too much. Why do I say that? Because I tend to sing gustily, hopefully not obnoxiously, and in the two parishes that I have been privileged to be part of since becoming Catholic, people have taken notice and told me that I should sing in the choir.

In New York, while part of the Church of the Good Shepherd, I used the delay tactic, and it worked as I was new and just getting my feet wet. I figured maybe later on I would consider it. Then, because of a job change we moved to south Jersey and found ourselves as part of the St. Peter parish. Once again I couldn’t help myself singing from the heart. I began to hear the same comments, “You should sing in the choir.”

One couple was lovingly persistent with the invitation, even our priest added his plea. Once the summer passed we had been at St. Peter’s one year. I really couldn’t use the “new guy” alibi. So last night I made my first appearance at choir practice. I was received warmly and thus began my second tour of duty as a choir member.

Much time has passed since I was a tenor singing next to Howard Goins at Westview Wesleyan Church in the mid 1970s. Now I’m singing tenor next to Adam Pasquale, and I’m even singing in Latin.

That makes me think of St. Augustine. He once said, “He who sings, prays twice!” Bishop Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln commented on this back in 2015: “The holy Bishop of Hippo meant that singing adds to our praise and worship of God—that our voices are gifts, with which we can make music to the Lord. Sung prayer expresses the joy of the heart, the happiness resulting from one who has encountered Jesus Christ and experienced his love.  Sung prayer reminds us of the choirs of heaven, with whom we are called to praise God eternally in heaven.”

Not every song sung at every Mass, in my humble opinion, achieves this. There are some songs I would rather never sing or hear again. Thankfully I don’t hear many of those in my parish. One thing I would love to see is that we don’t view the recessional hymn as our cue to make a quick exit from church. If indeed our singing is praying twice, then let’s sing and sing heartily or at least with conviction that Jesus is indeed Lord and King.

If we believe that we will more likely live it. And God knows our world really needs us to do that now!

St. Augustine pray for us as we sing!

He Who Sings, Prays Twice!

Happy Birthday Mother!

Today is not my mother’s birthday, not the mother who gave me birth. Her birthday is September 26, and I haven’t been able to celebrate that day with her for the past 27 years, since her unexpected death in 1991.

However, I do get to celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our God, Jesus Christ. Each September 8 the Roman Church, as well as many Anglicans, celebrate the birth of Mary, nine months following the Immaculate Conception on December 8. The Church has been celebrating Mary’s birth since the sixth century. The Church only celebrates the births of three people: Jesus on December 25, Mary on September 8, and John the Baptist on June 24.

The “Saint of the Day” website from Franciscan Media for this day refers to St. Augustine:

Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”

In honor our blessed Mother’s birthday, let us pray the words of the Collect from today’s Mass.

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Happy birthday Blessed Mother! Pray for us!

Happy Birthday Mother!